Why I Choose A Plant-Based Diet Instead Of Going Vegetarian Or Vegan
Let me start by saying that I don’t do “dieting” or weight focused “diets”. Its just not for me. I don’t focus on weight at all actually—this isn’t a weight-loss blog and I don’t use the number on the scale or BMI to judge my health. I also don’t use food restricting or cut foods out of my diet unless I ABSOLUETLY have to. That shit sucks!
What I do: eat intuitively, try to incorporate a wide variety of foods into my diet, enjoy what I eat, and share dog-safe fruits and veggies with Blueberry whenever I’m prepping them for myself!
Now that we’ve established that, what is a plant-based diet and how is it different from vegetarianism or veganism?
Plant-based: focuses on foods that come from plants like fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, legumes, whole grains, beans, and oils. It also encourages the intake of foods that have undergone little to no processing. Good news is, you don’t have to skip that bowl of ice cream or late night bowl of ramen! There’s no rules here.
Where it differs from the vegetarian and/or vegan diet? Plant-based isn’t about avoiding or restricting meat, dairy, or any other animal-sourced foods, but instead prioritizing foods sourced from plants. So, you can still eat meat, cheese, and milk, it just shouldn’t be the star of the show all the time.
I’ve never been that excited about red meats personally—I always say I don’t like eating animals with floppy ears—so most of the time when I do eat meat I choose turkey, chicken, and sea foods. That’s just my preference though.
Plant based isn’t about restricting, but instead refocusing on the foods that make your body happy!
Why I like plant based
I‘ve talked a little about my digestive struggles here before, but what I haven’t mentioned is that I am Fructan intolerant and a bit lactose intolerant, so I already have unwanted restrictions on what I can and can’t eat.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Fructan intolerance, it falls under the same category as a lactose or fructose intolerance, where the body doesn’t make enough of an enzyme to digest certain foods. In this case it includes things like wheat, barely, rye, onions, garlic, broccoli, chicory root, etc. For a reallllllllllly long time, I actually thought I had a gluten allergy, as a lot of high gluten foods are also high fructan! But that’s a story for another day.
Since I already have a restricted diet involuntarily, I am not a big fan of dietary approaches that have rules or exclude food groups. I like food!! So, who would I want to restrict myself even more? Plus, most foods have some kind of nutritional, traditional, and/or personal value, which is reason enough not to ditch them for a diet.
Because yes, food is more than the nutrition if offers.
I do want to note here that for those of you who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet out of compassion for animals and/or the environment, you’re a fucking rockstar and I have mad respect! Just wanted to put that out there
I also like that the plant-based diet because of its focus on whole and less process foods. Let’s be real, there’s a whole lot of yummy, sugary, salty, processed goodness out there with highly paid marketing teams behind them that are good at getting us to buy their products. The struggle is real. And while I’m all about indulging here and there, I also know how easy it is to get stuck in a cycle of mostly eating processed foods and how shitty I feel when I do. When I meal plan with a plan-based mindset, it’s easier for me to include the things that are going to make my gut happy, without over indulging or even feeling guilty when I do enjoy a sweet treat or small bag of chips.
Since starting plant-based I’ve also learned to make a lot of great things that I wouldn’t have considered before. These days I like to make my own salad dressing, jams, bread, hummus, spreads, etc. from scratch. Plant-based made me revaluate what I was mindlessly consuming and think about the added stuff in things like dressings and other processed foods we don’t typically pay much mind to.
Last but not least, it’s a method of eating that makes me feel good! It makes my insides happy which makes me happy. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day, that’s all it comes down to—choosing foods that make your body and souls feel good :)
Have you tried a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet? What did you think? What do you like or not like about it? Leave me a comment below!