Plant Based Diet: A Beginners Guide

There are many arguments and opinions about which diet is best for you.

However, health professionals generally agree that diets that emphasize fresh, wholesome ingredients and minimize processed foods are superior to general well-being.

Plant based feeding does just that.

It focuses on minimally processed foods, specifically plants, and is effective in stimulating weight loss and improving health.

This article looks at everything you need to know about the plant based diet, including its possible health benefits, foods to eat and a model meal plan at the end of the article.

Photo by Anna Pelzer / Unsplash

What is a Plant Based Diet?

There is no clear definition of what constitutes a plant based diet (in Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet – WFPB). The plant based diet is not necessarily a defined diet – it is more of a lifestyle.

This is because plant-based diets can vary widely, depending on the extent to which a person includes animal products in their diet.

However, the basic principles of a plant based diet are as follows:

  • Emphasizes whole and minimally processed foods.
  • Limits or avoids animal products.
  • It focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seeds and nuts, which should make up most of what you eat.
  • Excludes refined foods, such as added sugars, white flour and processed oils.
  • It pays special attention to the quality of the food, with many proponents of the plant based diet promoting organic food of local origin whenever possible.

For these reasons, this diet is often confused with vegan or vegetarian diets. However, although similar in some ways, these diets are not the same.

People who follow vegan diets abstain from consuming any animal products, including dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and honey. Vegetarians exclude all meat and poultry from their diets, but some vegetarians eat eggs, seafood or dairy products.

The plant based diet, on the other hand, is more flexible. Followers mostly eat plants, but animal products are not off limits.

While one person on a plant based diet may not eat animal products, another may eat small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood, meat or dairy products.

The diet based on whole foods emphasizes plant-based foods and minimizes animal products and processed items.

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It can help you lose weight and improve your health

Obesity is a matter of epidemic proportions. In fact, more than 30% of the world population is overweight or obese, about 2 billion people ( 1 ).

Fortunately, making changes in diet and lifestyle can facilitate weight loss and have a lasting impact on health.

Many studies have shown that plant-based diets are beneficial for weight loss.

The high fiber content of the plant based diet, along with the exclusion of processed foods, is a winning combination for losing excess pounds.

A review of 12 studies that included more than 1,100 people found that those assigned to plant based diets lost significantly more weight – about 4.5 pounds (2 kg) over an average of 18 weeks – than those assigned to non-vegetarian diets ( 2 ).

Adopting a healthy plant-based eating pattern can also help maintain weight in the long run.

A study of 65 overweight and obese adults found that those assigned to a plant based diet lost significantly more weight than the control group and were able to sustain that 9.25 lb (4.2 kg) weight loss during a follow-up period. one year ( 3 ).

In addition, simply cutting out processed foods that are not allowed in a plant based diet such as soda, sweets, fast food and refined grains is a powerful weight loss tool ( 4 , 5 ).

Many studies have shown that plant-based diets and whole foods are effective for weight loss. They can also help you maintain weight loss in the long run.

It is beneficial for various health conditions

Adopting a diet based on whole foods not only benefits your waistline, it can also reduce your risk and reduce the symptoms of certain chronic diseases.

Heart disease

Perhaps one of the best known benefits of plant based diets is that they are healthy for your heart.

However, the quality and types of food included in the diet are important.

A large study of more than 200,000 people found that those who followed a healthy diet based on vegetables rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those who followed non-vegetable-based diets .

However, unhealthy plant-based diets that included sugary drinks, fruit juices and refined grains have been associated with a slightly increased risk of heart disease ( 6 ).

Consuming the right types of food is critical to preventing heart disease when following a plant-based diet, which is why adhering to a plant based diet is the best choice.


Research suggests that following a plant-based diet may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

A study of more than 69,000 people found that vegetarian diets were associated with a significantly lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer, especially for those who followed a vegetarian diet with ovo-lacto (vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products) ( 7 ).

Another large study of more than 77,000 people showed that those who followed vegetarian diets had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than non-vegetarians.

Vegetarians who eat fish had the greatest protection against colorectal cancer, with a 43% reduced risk compared to non-vegetarians ( 8 ).

Cognitive decline

Some studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits may help to slow or prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

Plant-based diets have a greater number of plant compounds and antioxidants, which have been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reverse cognitive deficits ( 9 ).

In many studies, the increased intake of fruits and vegetables has been strongly associated with reduced cognitive decline.

A review of nine studies including more than 31,000 people found that eating more fruits and vegetables led to a 20% reduction in the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia ( 10 ).


Adopting a plant based diet can be an effective tool in managing and reducing the risk of developing diabetes.

A study of more than 200,000 people found that those who adhered to a plant-based healthy eating pattern had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who followed unhealthy, non-plant-based diets ( 11 ).

Another study demonstrated that plant-based diets (vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian) were associated with a nearly 50% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to non-vegetarian diets ( 12 ).

In addition, plant-based diets have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes ( 13 ).

Following a diet based on whole foods, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain types of cancer, cognitive decline and diabetes.

Photo by Amy Humphries / Unsplash

Adopting a plant based diet is good for the planet

Switching to a plant-based diet not only benefits your health – it can also help protect the environment.

People who follow plant-based diets tend to have smaller environmental footprints.

The adoption of sustainable eating habits can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land used for industrial agriculture, factors that are factors in global warming and environmental degradation.

A review of 63 studies showed that the greatest environmental benefits were seen from diets containing the least amount of animal foods, such as vegan, vegetarian and fish-based diets.

The study reported that a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and land use and 50% less water use could be achieved by changing Western dietary patterns to more sustainable dietary patterns ( 14 ).

In addition, reducing the number of animal products in your diet and buying sustainable local products helps boost the local economy and reduces dependence on industrial agriculture, an unsustainable method of food production.

Vegetable-based diets that emphasize local ingredients are more environmentally friendly than diets that rely heavily on mass-produced animal products and products.

Foods to Eat on a Plant Based Diet

From eggs and bacon for breakfast and steak for dinner, animal products are the focus of most meals for many people.

When switching to a plant-based diet, meals should focus around plant-based foods.

If animal foods are eaten, they should be consumed in smaller quantities, paying attention to the quality of the item.

Foods such as dairy, eggs, poultry, meat and seafood should be used more as a complement to a plant-based meal, not as the main focal point.

A shopping list based on plants and whole foods

  • Fruits: berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapples, bananas, etc.
  • Vegetables: kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, etc.
    Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, barley, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
    Vegetables: peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
  • Seeds, nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
  • Unsweetened plant-based milk : Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Spices, herbs and condiments: basil, rosemary, saffron, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
  • Condiments: parsley, mustard, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
  • Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, sources of plant-based protein or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
  • Drinks: coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc.

If you supplement your plant-based diet with animal products, choose quality products from supermarkets or, better yet, buy them from local farms.

  • Eggs: raised on pasture when possible.
  • Birds: Hunting outdoors, organic when possible.
  • Beef and pork: Grazed or fed on the grass when possible.
  • Seafood: caught from sustainable fishing when possible.
  • Dairy: organic dairy products from animals raised on pasture, whenever possible.

A healthy plant based diet should focus on plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. If animal products are consumed, they must be consumed in smaller quantities compared to plant foods.

Foods to avoid or minimize

The plant based diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming food in its most natural form. This means that highly processed foods are excluded.

When shopping for groceries, focus on fresh foods, and when shopping for foods with a label, aim for items with the fewest ingredients possible.

Foods to Avoid

  • Fast food: chips, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.
  • Added sugars and sweets: table sugar, soda, juice, sweets, cookies, candies, sweet tea, sugary cereals, etc.
    Refined grains: white rice, white pasta, white bread, bagels, etc.
    Convenient and packaged foods: chips, cookies, cereal bars, frozen dinners, etc.
  • Foods processed by vegan foods: meat based on vegetables like Tofurkey, fake cheeses, vegan butters, etc.
  • Artificial sweeteners: saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, etc.
  • Processed animal products: Bacon, cold meat, sausage, beef jerky, etc.

Foods to minimize

While healthy pet foods can be included in a plant based diet, the following products should be minimized in all plant based diets.

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Sheep
  • Game meats
  • Poultry
  • eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood

When following a plant based diet, highly processed foods should be avoided and animal products minimized.

Plant Based menu for one week

The transition to a plant-based diet and whole foods need not be a challenge.

The following week-long menu can help you succeed. It includes a small number of animal products, but the extent to which you include animal foods in your diet depends on you.

Monday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Oatmeal made with coconut milk topped with fruits, coconut and nuts.
Lunch Large salad topped with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, avocado, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.
Dinner Pumpkin curry.

Tuesday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Natural fat-free yogurt topped with sliced ​​strawberries, unsweetened coconut and pumpkin seeds.
Lunch Chili without meat.
Dinner Sweet potatoes and black bean tacos.

Wednesday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast A smoothie made with unsweetened coconut milk, berries, peanut butter and unsweetened protein powder.
Lunch Hummus and veggie wrap.
Dinner Zucchini noodles tossed in pesto with chicken meatballs.

Thursday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Salted oats with avocado, parsley and black beans.
Lunch Quinoa, vegetarian salad and feta.
Dinner Grilled fish with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Friday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Tofu and vegetable frittata.
Lunch Large salad topped with grilled shrimp.
Dinner Portobello roasted fajitas.

Saturday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Blackberry, kale, cashew butter and coconut protein smoothie.
Lunch Vegetables, avocado and brown rice with seaweed salad.
Dinner Eggplant lasagna made with cheese and a large green salad.

Sunday Menu

Meal Foods
Breakfast Vegetable omelet made with eggs.
Lunch Roasted vegetables and quinoa tahini bowl.
Dinner black bean burgers served in a large salad with sliced ​​avocado.

As you can see, the idea of ​​a plant based diet is to use animal products sparingly.

However, many people who follow plant based diets eat more or less animal products, depending on their specific needs and food preferences.

You can enjoy many different delicious meals by following a diet based on vegetables and whole foods. The menu above can help you get started.

A diet based on vegetables and whole foods is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts off unhealthy items like added sugars and refined grains.

Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline.

In addition, the transition to a more plant-based diet is an excellent choice for the planet.

Regardless of the type of whole foods, the vegetable-based diet you choose, adopting this way of eating, will certainly increase your health.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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