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Now, this is a question that I get asked a lot, and I completely understand why. A ‘Plant-Based’ diet sounds like it would be somewhat limiting, which can lead to others questioning: “Do you only eat plants?”; “What about protein?”; “Surely that’s not good for you?”

Ask any person who follows a plant-based diet and I guarantee that they will provide you with endless, similar experiences.

Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and once you find a few vegetables that you like and learn how to prepare them in a ‘variety’ of ways, you will be amazed at the combinations and tastes you can create. Trust me, there’s so much more than broccoli, kale and spinach, out there… it just takes a little investigating and that’s where the fun begins.

Here’s an interesting and impressive fact for you:

“Recent clinical studies have proven that by following a low-fat and plant-derived diet can result in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and reverse a type 2 diabetes diagnosis!”

So what is a plant-based diet?

Let’s clear one thing up – it doesn’t mean that you live on only leafy and raw vegetables, far from it!

Although green and leafy vegetables are great if we restricted ourselves to that, our diet would be calorie poor and we would not be receiving enough energy to sustain ourselves.

You cannot and shouldn’t live on leafy vegetables alone. Your body would soon let you know all is not right; decreased energy, deficiencies, feelings of deprivation combined with cravings and binges. Not good.

By beginning to introduce a variety of leafy, raw vegetables and starch-based foods to our plates instead of primarily basing our meal around meat, you will soon notice a profound difference in your wellbeing.

“Starchy foods?”, I hear you protest… Oh yes, those foods we have always loved but have been deemed “unhealthy”; Potatoes, sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables that include whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat; legumes (chickpeas, lima beans, kidney beans).

You will be embarking on a new adventure of discovery here. Ingredients are prepared slightly differently, leaving out oil and dairy but use delightful alternatives.

My recipes are far from boring and they are packed with flavour and goodness, check out just a few below >>

Quinoa, Tamari and Vegetable Salad

Lasagne with a Pecan Nut & Smoked Paprika Filling

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

It’s about ditching the refined sugar and recognising what is good and not so good for your gut.

By becoming aware of what is going to nourish your body, you allow it to thrive in the way it’s meant to; working with your body rather than against it – your body will adore you for it. Now that’s a pretty amazing feeling!

Despite being trained to believe that eating one particular food for one nutrient is what we should follow (meat for protein, dairy for calcium, fish for omega-3 fatty acids…), we should instead remember that food has countless nutrients and the overall nutrients of a food should be our priority.

Fruit:

We all know that fresh fruit is a healthy option, by choosing fruits such as kiwis and pears, which are lower in fructose, your body will find them easier to digest and you will reap the benefits.

Nuts and seeds:

Another food choice that’s filled with natural goodness. Opting for a handful of these as a snack to curb hunger or incorporated into your meals – from breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner!

Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin E, K, and C as well as omega-3 fatty acids; they’re also lower in fat than other nuts and seeds. Whereby walnuts containing plenty of B-complex vitamins that will help convert fuel into your body.

Legumes:

That’s kidney beans, lentils, lima beans and so on – now these are a great source of soluble fibre, protein and carbohydrate and an important addition to any plant-based diet.

Following a high plant diet will mean that you maximise your nutrient intake; you will be consuming foods as close to their natural state, as possible and avoiding highly processed foods – which, we know we should avoid!

It’s all about small steps in the right direction – diving straight into a new way of eating can sometimes end up having a negative effect; feelings of deprivation, hunger and guilt. All things we do not want to encounter!

If you can’t imagine your meals without at least some meat incorporated, then that’s absolutely fine. Just make sure you purchase the best quality and preferably organic ingredients possibly and slowly introduce aspects of a plant-based diet over a period of time, ensuring your body is being nourished in a manner that blends in with your life. Or, perhaps one or two ‘meat-free’ days a week would be more realistic. Most importantly, make it work for you – it’s not a diet but a lifestyle.

Remember, I have plenty of recipes and each week I will post a new one for you to try. Trust me, you and your taste buds will delight from this culinary adventure you are about to embark on!

If you have any questions, drop me an email at info@jayhalford.com or message me on Facebook and I will get straight back to you.

Jay x

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Author Jay Halford

Jay Halford - Professional Michelin star trained chef and real food fanatic. I’m on a mission to re-educate people back into realising how easy it is to make the transition into feeding their body what it so desperately craves.

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