What is a plant-based diet?

Here’s what you need to know about the current health food trend...

Food fads come and go. On the plate one minute, gone the next.

But if you’re really interested in living a healthier lifestyle, then a plant-based diet could be the answer…

[Find out if Wagamama's new vegan menu is any good]

What do I have to cut out?

A diet plan that’s quite easy to follow – most of the food on the menu needs to be plant foods which means the whole food, unrefined, or minimally refined plants.

Rather than animal-based, which means having to cutting out meat (including chicken), fish, dairy products (eggs, milk, cheese etc) and highly refined foods such as bleached flour, refined sugar and oil.

It also means trying to avoid minimally processed plant food such as guacamole, hummus, oatmeal and vegetable broth. If you’re fond of a dollop of mustard, a squirt of hot sauce or soy, then you’ll have to cut down on these tasty condiments as well.

What can I eat on a plant-based diet?

People following a plant-based diet (remember the magic word ‘based’) can eat wholegrain breads and wholewheat, wholewheat spaghetti, brown rice and noodles, which are slightly more processed than say guacamole, but in small amounts.

On the upside, plant-based can be tailored to your appetite and while plants should make up the majority of the food plan, you might decide to include dairy, or a small amount of meat or fish a couple of times a week.

Along with fresh fruit and vegetables, you can also eat frozen veggies and if you’re worried about not getting enough protein, then beans, oats, nuts and seeds are a good source, along with tofu which can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

If you’re wondering about mushrooms (very nutritious), it’s accepted that you can cheat your way into the ‘fungi kingdom’ even though technically speaking mushrooms aren’t plants.

[Read more: What are chia seeds and how do you eat them?]

And don’t forget, canned beans are a great choice if you’re short on time, but hungry as a horse and there are even some ready-made plant-based foods, like Freaks of Nature's dessert range.

What else do I need to know?

Choosing to follow a plant-based diet doesn’t automatically make you a vegetarian (they eat eggs and dairy products), or a vegan who abstains from anything that involves the use of animals or animal products.


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Nor does it automatically make you healthier. But if you follow a plant-based diet and consume all the right sources of protein, such as lentils, black beans, peanuts, seeds, wild rice along with those all-important leafy greens – spinach and kale have nearly twice as much protein as beef – then you’re well on track to enjoying a healthy, happy lifestyle.

And chances are you’ll have more energy and lose a few pounds.

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