If you're curious about plant-based diets, let me tell you, they're a great way to improve your health and help the environment! A plant-based diet involves eating primarily fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, while reducing or eliminating animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs. It's a tasty way to explore new flavors and get creative with cooking. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Plus, it's great for the planet! So why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself with how delicious and satisfying plant-based meals can be! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Let's start with the basics - educate yourself on what a plant-based diet entails. It's more than grocery shopping and replacing foods. This will help you to understand what types of food you should be including in your diet to meet your nutritional needs. How Not to Die by Michael Greger - This book discusses the scientific evidence behind plant-based nutrition and provides practical tips on how to make the transition to a plant-based diet. He provides an in depth understanding of food as medicine. The Plant-Based Journey by Lani Muelrath - This book provides a step-by-step guide to transitioning to a plant-based diet, including tips on meal planning, grocery shopping, and dealing with social situations. Just because you become a vegan does not mean you'll suddenly lose weight. In fact, many people can attest to gaining weight. A book like this can help you truly understand the best foods to eat and how much to eat. The Vegan Starter Kit by Neal Barnard - This book provides practical advice and guidance for those who are interested in transitioning to a vegan diet. It covers the basics of plant-based nutrition and includes tips on meal planning, grocery shopping, and eating out. Dr. Neal Barnard is a leading medical authority, so if you want to hear from an expert, read this book.
Planning is key! Plan your meals in advance to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need from plant-based sources. Without a plan, you may find yourself eating too much or not enough which will create health problems. While this may be tedious, you'll be happy to know that planning will ensure a healthier you. A good way to keep track of your food intake is to plan your meals and note the nutritional value. You can do this with various apps today. An app that our CEO and her family use is MyFitness Pal. We recommend you use the free version. Photo credit: Hazal Ak
#3 Plant Protein
Protein is important, but don't worry - you can get enough of it from plant-based sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can also make your own seitan to add to a meal, salad, and sandwiches. Today, freezers and refrigerators are full of plant-based protein options. Our CEO has been a vegan for 8 years and has tried many of them. Her advice is to pay attention to the amount of sodium and saturated fats in these products. While many companies claim these products are healthy, you need to be a smart consumer and read the labels carefully. You might find that a particular plant-based protein is not healthy for your diet. Photo credit: Aamulya
#4 Read Labels
When grocery shopping, read labels and be aware of what ingredients are in the foods you buy. Avoid processed foods that contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Manufacturers often add high amounts of sugar and salt to extend the shelf life of a product. If you're focused on transitioning to more plant-based foods, you want to reduce the amount of overly processed foods in your diet. Instead of buying hummus, cook them yourself. This way, you control the salt and add the perfect amount of spices the way you like them. The National Institute on Aging has some tips for reading labels carefully. Photo credit: Goran13
#5 Mix it up!
Variety truly is the spice of life! Try to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. If you eat the same foods all the time without mixing it up, you'll get bored fast. Think about ways you can mix different spices into your plant-based foods and that includes your fruits. It's also important to pay attention to portions. Just because it's plant-based doesn't mean you should eat a much as you want. You don't want to over do it and find yourself eating unhealthy portions of naturally healthy foods. Photo credit: marilyna
Cooking at home is not only fun, but it also allows you to control the ingredients you use and make sure you are getting a balanced diet. There was a time when cooking at home was common and people were much healthier as a result. In 2023, Justin Fox, a writer for Bloomberg Business Week, wrote an interesting article about how cooking at home has faded post the 2020 Pandemic home cooking boom. Eating our way to an unhealthy life is easy when we don't know what's in our foods. Photo credit: miniseries
Whether you're transitioning to a plant-based diet or not, stay hydrated by drinking enough water. It's not only important for overall health, but it can also help you feel fuller and avoid overeating. If you're feeling hungry while transitioning, you may not be eating the right plant-based foods or enough of them. We encourage you to take the time and find out as much as you can about this important change you're about to make in your life. Photo credit: fizkes
Remember, change takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and don't give up if you slip up or make mistakes along the way. You got this!
Here are two more books (photo credit: Vimvertigo):
"The Plant-Based Solution" by Joel Kahn: This book is a step-by-step guide to transitioning to a plant-based diet, including tips on how to eat out, cook at home, and deal with social situations. Eating out can be a challenge, but don't be discouraged. Many restaurants today have vegan options. Check out the menu online before you leave.
"The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell: This book examines the relationship between diet and health, and argues that a plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also includes recipes and meal plans. Eating more plant-based foods means you'll be in the kitchen more which is a good thing. Knowing what's in your food will keep you healthy.
If fully transitioning to a plant-based diet is not for you, you'll still find these tips valuable since they can help inform ways to increase plant-based foods in your diet. Maybe think about 2-3 days out of 7 where you eat mostly plant-based foods. Even 1 day of plant-based eating will make a difference.
For those of you ready to cook, we've put together a few of our CEO's favorite vegan cookbooks:
1) Robert Robinson's Recipe Books:
- quick-fix vegan: healthy - These are "healthy, homestyle meals in 30 minutes or less.
- 1,000 Vegan Recipes - Amazing recipes!
2) The Korean Vegan Cookbook by Joanne Lee Molinaro - Our CEO's family loves Korean food and now she makes vegan versions at home.
3) Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters - Note: While this book is not a vegan recipe book, it has a lot of wonderful vegan and vegetarian recipes you might enjoy.
Bonus: As you know, we're a plant-based snack company located in NYC. Our CEO is always looking for great vegan restaurants or dishes. Here are a few of her favorite places:
1) Screamers Pizza in Brooklyn
2) Next Stop Vegan in Brooklyn
3) Delice & Sarrasin in Manhattan (West Village) - French Vegan!
4) Franchia Vegan Cafe in Manhattan (Park Avenue)
- Stay Healthy and Happy
Need some more vegan recipe ideas? Check out @Mbveganvegetarianshare or check out our CEO @itsnolasnacks as she shares recipes via video each month on It’s Nola Reels. Do not worry, even if you are not vegan, you will still enjoy these dishes.
Tag us @itsnolasnacks so we can see all of your favorite travel trip snacks.