Switching to a more plant-based lifestyle is becoming more and more popular as we become increasingly health conscious. Adding more plants to one’s diet can boost heart health, prevent disease, and even help you live a longer life! TK IS THERE A LINK TO THIS STORY? And the good news is, eating more veggies and fruits doesn’t have to be a drag. With a few simple — and delicious — swaps, you can be on your way to a slimmer waist and better overall health! Check out our suggestions below.
Plant Based Food Swaps
Cow’s Milk for Plant-Based Milk
There’s a lot of debate about the dangers of cow’s milk these days. Conventional dairy has been linked to conditions like acne, eczema, rosacia, allergies, digestive problems, difficulty breathing, and even diseases like prostate and ovarian cancer. Swapping regular cow’s milk for a plant-based milk like oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or hemp milk, can help boost your health without the consequences. Try one of these in your coffee, cereal, and smoothies!
Condiments for Avocado
Many condiments like, mayo and ketchup, can be loaded with hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial flavorings, preservatives, and added sugar — which all wreak havoc on your health. For a much more nutritious option, try mashing an avocado with some salt and lemon juice (if desired, for extra tanginess) and using it as a topping instead. Avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which benefit heart and brain health, as well a fiber which helps promote good digestion and a healthy gut!
Pasta for Plant Noodles and Other Plant-Based Pastas
We love our carbs, but it's definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. When it comes to getting healthier, swapping your traditional carb-heavy pastas for low-carb options like zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, and other spiralized veggies is a great choice. Complex carbs turn to glucose (or blood sugar) in the digestive system, and excess sugar gets stored as fat on the body!
To minimize this effect, swap either half or your full portion of regular pasta with a plant-based noodle, or choose a store-bought pasta made with chickpeas, lentils, or quinoa. Many brands like Trader Joes and Banza offer plant-based pasta options that don’t contain wheat. These varieties usually contain much more fiber and protein than their less-nutritious counterparts! Try this chickpea pasta by Banza ($13.82 for 2 boxes, Amazon).
Sugary Foods for Fresh Fruit
And last but not least, we’re talking about sugar. Sugar gets a bad rap these days, and for good reason. Time and time again, it’s been demonstrated that added sugars have detrimental consequences on our health. Too much added sugar in one’s diet has been linked to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. However, all sugar shouldn’t be treated equally.
The truth is, sugar is our brain’s primary resource for energy (unless, of course, you’re following a strict keto diet in which you “switch” the fuel source to fats). When consumed in moderate amounts, natural sugars can actually be extremely healthy for our brain function, and they’re assimilated by the body much easier than added sugars are. Added sugars cause inflammation, while the antioxidants and micronutrients found in fresh fruits tame inflammation and ward off disease. So when you’re tempted to reach for that donut or muffin mid-afternoon, try a bowl of berries instead, and enjoy the sweetness without the guilt!