Plant Based Diet for Beginners | Guide | Dangers | Plan

What is a plant based diet?

A plant based diet is based on foods that come from plants. This includes vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits.

Is a plant based diet the same as a vegan diet?

Veganism is a lifestyle that focuses on not harming animals. A major part of this is food. Vegans by definition should follow a very strict plant-based diet along with other lifestyle requirements.

While it’s not strictly necessary to do so, plant-based diets are often health-focused.

See Veganism Vs. Plant-Based – What’s The Difference?

There are many reasons for choosing a plant-based diet. Being plant-based is not a club or a cult and how strict a person is about their diet is up to them.

Plant-based diet benefits: Why follow a plant based diet?

A plant based diet is good for your health

  • Plant-based diets can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes
  • Research shows that people who eat plant-based diets tend to be leaner than those who don’t
  • Based on research, eating a plant-predominant diet may be one of the most powerful tools in cancer prevention.
  • Reduces the risk of other chronic illnesses according to the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology

More sources are at the bottom of this article.

A plant based diet reduces the majority of animal suffering

The vast majority of animals are raised on factory farms. Most are bred to grow or produce at unnatural rates in order to yield more meat, milk and eggs.

By choosing to avoid fish, meat, dairy and eggs you decrease the demand for such food. Each purchase you make is a vote. Lower demand means, fewer animals will be forcibly breaded for food.

Positive environmental impact from your plate

Going on a plant based diet is the most positive thing you can do for the planet as an individual.

Plant based diet for beginners | guide | dangers | plan

What are the dangers of a plant based diet?

Plant-based diets carry some risk of inadequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake. But these risks are readily overcome by choosing the right foods and, when necessary, supplements.

Most known dangers associated with plant based diets or veganism are due to the lack of eating a variety and quantity of food or other eating disorders. Other dangers include medical conditions where individuals react to certain foods due to allergies or intolerances.

Without an underlying medical condition, for most people who have a variety of plant-based food, the only nutrient that definitely requires supplements is Vitamin B12. As with any dietary changes, you need to be careful about what you eat. Sudden changes to your diet will also cause discomfort such as bloating.

Not all plant-based diets are the same. At Strong with Plants, our preference is a whole food plant-based diet (also known as a whole plant based diet) with a focus on health and wellbeing.

No content on this site, regardless of date or author, should ever be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Can you be an athlete on a vegan / plant based diet?

It is becoming common knowledge that athletes don’t need animals in their diet to build and maintain muscle.

  • Lewis Hamilton – Racing Champion
  • Novak Djokovic – Tennis Champion
  • Tia Blanco – Professional Surfer
  • Venus Williams- Tennis Great
  • Alex Morgan: USA Soccer Star

We can have a long list, but we picked a few names that may be known to all who don’t necessarily follow any sports.

What can you eat on a plant based diet?

You can eat anything where the source of all the ingredients are plants or plant-derived.

Vegetables

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes (technically a fruit!)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Salad leaves
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Kale

Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Lemons
  • Peaches
  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Cherries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Raspberries
  • Pears
  • Limes
  • Blackberries
  • Clementine
  • Mangoes
  • plums

The list is endless. These are just some of the most popular fruits and veg.

Grains

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Rye
  • Sorghum

Fake grains (but fine)

  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat

Beans

  • Cannellini beans
  • Fava beans
  • Fayot (Flageolet) beans
  • Red beans
  • Lima beans
  • Mung beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo)
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Black-eyed peas

Nuts

  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Macadamia
  • Peanuts (Not really a nut!)
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pecans

Seeds

  • Flaxseeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Pomegranate
  • Sesame

Other

  • Coffee (without cream or using alternatives to diary)
  • Tea
  • Most alcohol
  • Dark chocolate


Here is a list of food you need to avoid:

Dairy

You have to swap your latte for an Oat milk latte (which tastes better anyway). Giving up yoghurt, cheese, butter and many other products with milk will be more difficult.

You can no longer just order any pizza or eat any candy bar without checking all the ingredients or labels.

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Eggs

Giving up eggs isn’t difficult for most people, but giving up most commercial cakes is. Some types of bread and many baked products also use eggs. Find out some of the types of bread that are safe for vegans here.

Meat, Fish, Chicken

I guess most people know where bacon, steak and chicken nuggets come from. So we won’t go into detail.

Hidden Animal-derived ingredients

  • Casein and Whey – found in protein powder.
  • Gelatin – Marshmallows, capsules, tablets.
  • White sugar – not an issue in Europe due to legislation. But not all white sugar is animal free.
  • Lecithin – Cereal, candy, chocolate, baked goods, vegetable oil sprays
  • Suet – Margarine, pastries
  • Vitamin D3 – Supplements, fortified foods

A 7-Day Menu Guide for a Plant Based Diet:

This is a simple guide for beginners.

Beginner's guide to a plant-based diet
Beginner’s guide to a plant-based diet

DAY 1

Breakfast

Healthy Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts
Toppings: Nuts of your choice, fresh dried fruits.

Lunch

Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Addons: Black Beans, Corn, Avocado and Salsa.

Dinner

Veggie Burrito
Fillings: Tofu, Onion, Green Bell Pepper, Avocado, Tomatoes.

DAY 2

Breakfast

French Toast
Main ingredients: Almond Milk. Flour, Maple Syrup, Nutritional Yeast and Cinnamon.

Lunch

Black Bean Tofu Burger
Main ingredients: Tofu, Black Beans and mushrooms.

Dinner

Mushroom Vegetable Tomato Soup
Main ingredients: Mushroom, Tomato Sauce
Perfect with: Toasted Wheat Bread or a Side Salad.

DAY 3

Breakfast

Banana Pancakes
Main ingredients: Oat flour and Whole Wheat pastry flour.
With maple syrup. 

Lunch

Meatless “Beef” Stew
Made with: Mushrooms, Potatoes and Tomato Sauce. 

Dinner

Kale Tofu Curry
Main ingredients: Kale, tofu and soaked almonds.

DAY 4

Breakfast

Apple-Lemon Breakfast Bowl
Main ingredients: Dates/Raisins, Walnuts, Lemon Juice, and Apple.

Lunch

Oil-Free Vegan Fried Rice
Main ingredients: Brown Rice, Tofu Scramble, Vegetable, Soy Sauce.


Dinner

Extra-Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
Main ingredients: Tofu, Baking Powder.

DAY 5

Breakfast

Vegan Carrot Waffles
Main ingredients: Carrots, Baking Powder, and Flaxseed.

Lunch

Vegan Tofu Bean Chili
Main ingredients: Tofu, Creamy Beans, Tomato Sauce.

Dinner

Vegan Teriyaki “Chicken” Stir Fry
Main ingredients: Tofu, Broccoli, Teriyaki Sauce, Bell Pepper.

DAY 6

Breakfast

Tofu Scramble
Main ingredients: Tofu (crumbled extra-firm), Oat Milk, and Turmeric. 

Lunch

Vegan Picadillo
Main ingredients: Plantains, Black Beans, Yellow Rice, and Tomato Sauce.

Dinner

Tomato Braised Mushrooms
Main ingredients: Bella Mushrooms, Not-Beef Stock, Tomato Paste, Coconut Oil.

DAY 7

Breakfast

Avocado Toast
Main ingredients: Wheat Bread, Ripe Avocados, Virgin Olive Oil.

Lunch

Pink/Red Bean Stew
Main ingredients: Dry Beans, Tomato Sauce.

Dinner

Vegan Tofu Meatballs
Main ingredients: Tofu and Tomato Pasta Sauce.

In conclusion

The good

Going plant-based is good for you, good for animals, and good for the planet and almost everyone on it.

The bad

Plant-based is bad for the billion-dollar meat industry, diary industry, egg industry, fish industry, health industry, insurance and secondary medical-related industries and the media companies which support and are supported by these industries.

The amazing

It’s still possible to feed into corporate greed even on a plant-based diet. But we really encourage eating local, eating whole food instead of “alternatives”, eating fresh and seasonal and perhaps growing some of the food yourself.

Regardless of what you decide, I hope this guide has helped you become more informed or at least for you to take more control of your health by researching, speaking to others and seeking professional advice.

No content on this site, regardless of date or author, should ever be used as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Sources and further reading

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About the Author

<a href="https://strongwithplants.com/author/inga/" target="_self">Inga K</a>

Inga K

Inga became vegan in March 2018. After a series of documentaries that hit hard, she and her husband switched to a plant-based diet within a week and vegan soon after. Inga has a UK Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Diet and Nutrition.

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Strongwithplants.com is a blog for anyone who strives for a healthy and happy life. We share 100% plant-based (and often healthy and oil-free) recipes and give you the best tips on finding vegan local food whilst travelling and living a plant-based lifestyle focusing on good health and spiritual wellbeing.

We like to consume food, products and services that don’t harm our bodies, animals, or the planet. Use as little as possible and recycle everything.

Each individual’s dietary needs are unique. Please seek advice from a professional nutritionist or your doctor.

Please see the full disclaimer here.

 

17 Comments

  1. Kathy

    Great ideas! I have done full plant-based for periods of time in my life and it’s always helpful to find new ways and ideas!

    Reply
  2. Kevin Foodie

    This is a heart healthy lifestyle. There are so many health benefits for following a plant based diet. Interesting menu items. ?

    Reply
  3. Tamera

    For me personally, I would need to ease into strictly plant based. I have wanted to transition to a pescatarian diet and I think your meal plan would help with the transition to pescatarian then to plant based. I appreciate the helpful info.

    Reply
  4. Jean

    Agree with you, I prefer also whole-foods than processed but for others they may find it easier. This article will help others to transition with your meal guides too.

    Reply
  5. Robert

    Some excellent suggestions. We have 2 Vegans in our family, and have slowly over the years reduced our meat and dairy intake dramatically. It has made a huge difference in our overall health and wellness. Great post! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Phuong

    I really like that you included a 7-day menu, super easy to follow. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  7. Matthew Mikolow

    The menu really makes transitioning to a plant based diet simpler. Great article

    Reply
  8. Milica

    Great post!

    Reply
  9. Tee

    Love how you’ve clearly laid it out. Have been trying to include more of this in our diet, it’s not so easy for kids so gotta be careful. We’ve also gone to Oat milk instead of dairy which is super for us, it’s gentle on the tummy.

    Reply
  10. Hannah Kimmel

    Love the ideas for meals to make. This makes it much easier for someone considering jumping into this diet!

    Reply
  11. Kate

    This is a great, as you put it, beginners guide! So helpful to have a 7-day menu.

    Reply
  12. Becky Smith

    I love any diet where coffee is included 🙂 Really very useful post, thank you.

    Reply
  13. Gail

    I’ve been slowly transitioning to a plant-based diet for two months now. Sadly, I cannot let go of chicken. 🙁 The 7-day menu program you shared would be really helpful to help me push harder. Thank you!! 🙂

    Reply
  14. The Remarkable Cactus

    You can tell how much work you have put into this guide, Congratulations! It is a fantastic start point and I will certainly be using many of your suggestions. Thanks a lot for the hard work and for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Irene

    Good post. I moved to a vegan diet long back and now I am fine, but it is true that at the beginning it was complicated as I didn’t know most of the options I had.

    Reply
  16. Lani

    Oh wow- thanks for the info. This will definitely help in my goal.

    Reply

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