Plant-Based Eating For Beginners
If you know anything about us at RXBAR, you know that we like to keep things simple. We like clean ingredients (and as few as possible) with a focus on whole foods. That’s what we’re talking about when we say No B.S. We recently introduced our RXBAR Plant Protein bars to the family -- another mouth-wateringly delicious bar with no B.S. and only plant-based ingredients. Which got some people asking:
“What does this “plant-based” mean?”
And “Why should we care?”
Great questions, foodie friend! Let’s dig into that a bit more.
What is plant based eating?
In a nutshell (get it?!) plant-based means food that comes from plants and doesn’t include any animal ingredients, whether that’s meat, milk, eggs, or honey. However, some people who follow a plant-based diet may consume primarily plants, but also consume small amounts of animal products.
Why has plant-based become so popular?
Oh, so you’ve noticed too? It seems everywhere you look you see the words “plant-based” now, with some of the best-known wellness advocates waxing lyrical about the benefits of this approach to eating. And for good reason, it would appear. Eating more veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains is a good thing, and as long as people who follow plant-based diets eat mostly whole foods, then it can help lead to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
What about the environmental aspect?
There’s a reason this one has been around since, well, snacks were invented. Follow the recipe here or shake it up with your own version (think peanuts, choc chips, hummus and more). Just
Aha, you’ve been following this movement closely, we see. It’s true -- the production of animal products puts significant strain on our planet. Take burgers, for example. Did you know it takes 2400 liters of water to produce one burger? Check out this article for more on that. What’s more, according to Joseph Poore, lead author of a University of Oxford study on the detrimental effects of farming on the environment, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.”
What about protein intake?
The old myth that you need to eat meat to get adequate protein intake is exactly that: a myth. You only need to ask the ever-growing contingent of professional athletes who follow plant-based diets. We’re talking top-of-the-top athletes like tennis player Venus Williams, NBA star Kyrie Irving, and MMA phenom Nate Diaz (plus many more). This article from Harvard Health explains the concept of plant protein and the overall “protein package” of foods well. For example, a 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak is a great source of protein—about 33 grams worth. But it also delivers about 5 grams of saturated fat. While a cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.
How do I start?
While there are no hard and fast rules for following a plant-based diet, here are some easy steps to take to help you on your way:
- Commit to replacing your reduction in animal products with whole-foods
- Eat a variety of nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (and try to “eat the rainbow” as much as possible.)
- Have plenty of nutritious plant-based snacks on hand so you aren’t tempted to snack on chips and candy. RXBAR Plant bars are great to keep in your car or purse. With 5 core ingredients and no B.S., they will help you stay on track when you’re on-the-go.
- Check out a plant-based website for ideas on meal planning and recipes. We love the Forks Over Knives site as it provides an arsenal of helpful resources.
No matter whether you decide to go all in and cut out animal products entirely, or reduce your meat intake and up your plant-based foods, remember this: Arnold Schwarznegger follows a plant-based diet. There. We said it.