Many people are gravitating towards a plant based diet for a number of reasons including weight loss, compassion for animals, and the environment. If you are thinking about trying a plant based diet, especially for health reasons, here are a few tips:
1. Limit Fat intake. Avoid oils when cooking or in foods. Oils add a considerable amount of fat. Read labels thoroughly to make sure there is little to no added oils. Limit consumption of avocados, nuts, and seeds. Use these foods sparingly because they do contain quite a bit of fat.
2. Keep Protein intake at 8-10% of total calories. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, humans are incapable of using protein for tissue building purposes above the level of approximately 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Excess protein greater than this amount is either burned as energy or stored as fat. Both of these options are undesirable because we do not want to gain fat and getting rid of nitrogenous waste from excess protein can cause dehydration.
3. Chose high fiber foods (ex. beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains). Foods high in fiber will provide satiety and help maintain a steady blood sugar.
4. Avoid processed foods and fake processed soy products (isolated soy protein). If you are considering soy products, choose tempeh, edamame, miso, and tofu.
5. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index (ex. white bread, bagels, and large baking potatoes). These foods will raise your blood sugar.