• Brian Dooreck, MD

What can I eat? Plant-Based 🌱 Diets—Part 2

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Healthy foods help your gut diversity, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor
Healthy foods

What is a plant-based 🌱 diet? A plant-based diet is one that focuses on foods from "plant sources" or consuming "mostly" or "only" foods that come from plants. Sounds impossible to you? It's not.

Is a plant-based 🌱 the same as a vegan diet?

Some people see this as a vegan diet. A vegan diet involves avoiding all animal products.

Can I eat animal products and eat a plant-based 🌱 diet?

A plant-based diet means for some that that plant foods are the "main focus" of their diet, but they may, occasionally, consume "meat, fish, poultry or dairy products."

For me, that is not the case

Can a plant-based 🌱 benefit my health? Yes. There are clear health benefits in terms of nutritional considerations, not to mention the ethical and environmental concerns that many people share.

What are some of the health benefits of a plant-based 🌱 diet?

With a plant-based diet, people demonstrate the following.

  • Lower body mass index (BMI)

  • Lower rates of cancer

  • Lower rates of diabetes

  • Lower rates of heart disease

  • Lower rates of obesity

How does a plant-based 🌱 diet lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions?

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that eating less meat can also reduce the risk of:

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes (Type 2)

  • Hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol)

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)

  • Insulin resistance

  • Obesity

  • Stroke

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What foods would I eat with a plant-based 🌱 diet?

1. Fruits

You can eat all types of fruit. Remember fruit is a carbohydrate and has sugar. So balance and portion control matter.

  • Apples

  • Avocado

  • Bananas

  • Berries

  • Citrus fruits

  • Grapes

  • Melons

2. Healthy Fats

Not all fat is bad.

The "polyunsaturated" and "monounsaturated" fats, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids, are important—if not vital—to a balanced healthy diet.

  • Avocados

  • Canola oil

  • Chia seeds

  • Flaxseed

  • Hemp seeds

  • Olive oil

  • Walnuts

Choose foods with “good” unsaturated fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid “bad” trans fat. “Good” unsaturated fats—Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—lower disease risk. Foods high in good fats include vegetable oils (such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts, seeds, and fish. (hsph.harvard.edu › The Nutrition Source)

3. Nuts

Nuts are considered a healthy fat.

Nuts also offer some protein and vitamins (selenium and vitamin E).

  • Almonds

  • Brazil

  • Cashews

  • Macadamia

  • Pecans

  • Pistachios

4. Plant-based Milk

You can reduce your dairy intake with many "unsweetened" plant-based milk options available.

  • Almond

  • Coconut

  • Hemp

  • Oat

  • Rice

  • Soy

5. Seeds

Seeds are a great add-on, snack, and a solid source of extra nutrients in your meal.

  • Chia

  • Flax

  • Hemp

  • Pumpkin

  • Sesame seeds (calcium)

  • Sunflower seeds (vitamin E)

6. Vegetables

A healthy diet, in general, contains plenty of greens and vegetables. The more colorful the vegetables—the more likely you will be consuming vitamins and minerals.

Remember some vegetables are a healthy source of carbohydrates.

Many vegetables are a great source of fiber.

Some have protein like legumes.

  • Asparagus

  • Beetroot

  • Broccoli 🥦

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Kale 🥬

  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans)

  • Peppers

  • Root vegetables (sweet potato, potatoes, butternut squash, beets)

  • Tomatoes

  • Zucchini

Healthy foods help your gut diversity, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor

7. Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber.

Whole grains can aid in stabilizing blood sugar and contain magnesium, copper, and selenium—all essential minerals.

  • Barley

  • Brown rice

  • Buckwheat

  • Oats

  • Rye

  • Spelt

  • Quinoa

  • Wholegrain bread

What foods should I avoid (not eat) with a plant-based 🌱 diet?

Eating smart and healthy is a choice. My choice. Your choice. A choice based on balance, portion control, and accountability.

By reducing or even eliminating animal products from your diet, you are doing yourself well. However, it does not automatically mean that your plant-based diet "healthy."

Here are some online thoughts 💭 from a Board-Certified 🥼Gastroenterologist—"Avoid Unhealthy Processed Foods." Simple enough? It is all a choice.

Ask yourself. 🤔 What am I choosing to eat instead?

Healthy foods help your gut diversity, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor