Health & Fit The 5 most common mistakes people make when they try to eat plant-based, according to a dietitian

20:33  14 december  2019
20:33  14 december  2019 Source:   wellandgood.com

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Not knowing how much you eat : Counting calories is difficult, and most people will underestimate their daily calorie intake by as much as 50% if they try to do it If you try to establish all of those habits at the same time you’re sure to fail. Ease into things and gradually work your way to a more healthy you.

We called it: 2019 really has been the year where plant-based eating has taken off. Whether people are considering it for health or environmental reasons, it seems like there has never been more innovative products or more interest in making the switch to a plant-forward diet than right. now.

a person holding a bowl of food: plant based diet beginners mistakes© Photo: Getty Images / Foxys_forest_manufacture plant based diet beginners mistakes

But as more of us decide to take the plunge, there are a few common pitfalls that people can fall into that make eating plant-based more difficult than it needs to be.

First off, “though the idea of a plant-based diet is typically synonymous with vegan, they’re actually two separate things. A plant-based diet is one with a heavy focus on plant foods—vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—but that doesn’t explicitly avoid animal products,” says Samantha Presicci, MCN, RD, LD, CPT, Lead Registered Dietitian at Snap Kitchen.  “While those who are vegan consume no animal products, those who are plant-based are simply focused on eating real food that is predominantly plant-based, but may still eat animal products."

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Most of us who try lifestyle changes like limiting carbs or sugar only keep it up for a period of time. Research shows the vast majority of people who "Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it’s the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference

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So what does a healthy plate look like on this eating plan, anyways? “On a truly plant-based diet, someone would make at least half of their plate vegetables," Presicci says. "Other things to incorporate include fruits, healthy fats—like avocado, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, coconut milk, and more—and high-quality animal protein, along with some unprocessed grains and legumes."

It's supposed to be simple...but switching up your eating habits can always be tricky. Plant based diet beginners, keep reading for a few more mistakes to avoid when transitioning to this eating plan for the first time.

1. Skipping the transition period

Mistake number one? You’re not patient. “When you switch from processed food to more vegetable consumption, there might be an initial period where you feel hungry, irritable, or fatigued. However, these symptoms will probably only last a few days, and most people feel much better when they eliminate processed food (everything from packaged snacks to fake meats to sugary drinks and fast food),” Presicci says.

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Plus, if you don't ease into it, you might find it harder to stick to in the long-run. Instead, ease into eating more plant-based foods, perhaps by starting by incorporating more vegetables into your regular rotation, then starting to scale back on processed snacks and foods, and so on.

2. Assuming that all animal protein has to go

Plant-based eating absolutely focuses on eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. And while reduced consumption of animal products is encouraged, you don't have to go completely vegan in order to be plant-based.

“I don’t recommend most people eliminate animal protein because of the highly bio-available nature of animal protein and the very high nutrient-density of animal products,” Presicci says. Most meat products, for example, are rich in B-vitamins, omega-3s, zinc, and iron—which are much harder to get from plant foods (although certainly do-able).

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‘By eating too much fat, you will not only make yourself feel a bit nauseous, but if you are a woman 2. Trying to include the wrong foods. ‘ When you begin a LCHF lifestyle, you are best off avoiding all People often eat way too many nuts on LCHF diets, says Creed. Eating too many nuts and seeds

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"If someone is open to it, I recommend incorporating seafood, eggs and full-fat dairy—ideally pasture-raised—to help provide some nourishing protein and healthy fat,” she adds. Just be mindful of the sourcing of your animal products to ensure you're purchasing the best quality foods raised in the most ethical, sustainable way—a tentpole of plant-based eating.

3. Over-relying on processed foods

The focus of a plant-based diet generally should be whole food sources of...well, plants. But we're all human, and packaged products can absolutely make meal prep and just life in general easier. But Presicci says to be cautious about how much your day-to-day diet relies on packaged and processed foods. “This is an easy mistake to make, since processed meats and packaged snacks are a quick thing to grab," says Presicci. She warns many brands are highly processed and contain potentially problematic ingredients, including genetically-modified soy, she says.

This doesn't mean that now you have to say goodbye to snacks; Presicci suggests just being a mindful consumer and reading the labels to ensure you're getting a minimally-processed, high-quality product. “When purchasing more processed products or vegetable burgers, always opt for the simplest ingredient list possible and avoid most soy products. In a veggie burger, this looks like beans or lentils, grains and vegetables,” she says.

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3. They try to make exactly the same foods, just with plants. Plant - based options of burgers and pizza can help you make the transition to a new way of eating When some people switch to plant - based , they suddenly start gorging themselves because of the fear of being hungry. Some are even overly

4. Skimping on protein or fat

Again, a plant-based diet doesn't require cutting out all meat or animal products. But it does encourage limited consumption, which can make it harder for some people to get enough protein or healthy fats if they're not planning properly. But it's crucial to do so, says Presicci. "Not only because fat and protein are two very satiating nutrients, but also because they are important for a range of bodily processes, from hormone balance to brain health to maintaining muscle mass,” she says.

The fix? Make sure you’re incorporating at least two servings of fat at each meal, along with a protein source. “Additionally, it may be necessary to supplement with protein powders like hemp or pea protein. While these aren’t whole foods and aren’t nearly as bioavailable as animal proteins, they help bridge the gap, especially if you’re active,” she says.

5. Not supplementing if needed

Depending on how much you’re limiting animal meat, you may or may not need to supplement. Yet if you've decided to incorporate vegetarianism or veganism into your plant-based eating, it's something you should consider—since again, you might have trouble getting enough of certain crucial nutrients like iron and vitamins B12 and D.

“While supplementing isn’t the ideal option, since whole foods are generally better absorbed, it’s the best option for someone who doesn’t want to consume animal products,” Presicci says.

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Plant - based diets are all the rage, with everyone from medical experts to Beyoncé extolling the virtues of Meat substitutes can certainly help with a transition to a plant - based diet, but over-reliance on " Many are just as high if not higher in fat, sodium and calories than the real thing," dietitian Vandana

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Talk to your doctor and run a blood test prior to supplementing, but important supplements to consider include a methylated B complex or multivitamin that contains B12, omega-3s, zinc, and iron, she says.

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