Plant-Based Nutrition: A Complete Guide for Vegetarians

So, you’re a vegetarian. You love animals and you think you’re doing a great thing for the environment (and your own body!). You don’t eat any meat, dairy, or eggs. You’re a caring, conscious person who is planning to maintain a healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyle for the rest of your days. But you’re also a little confused about what exactly you should be eating. What should you eat? How about fruits and vegetables?

There has been a lot of talk recently about how plant-based nutrition can provide the most health benefits, and how it can be the most environmentally sustainable. However, many people still struggle to understand what exactly they can eat, or how to make a switch to a plant-based diet. This article will walk you through the basics of plant-based nutrition and explain how to make the most of it.

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Dietary Types | Advantages | Risks | Coaching Advice | What to Eat | Diet Quiz

Which of the following is considered a plant-based diet?

  1. Dietary Guidelines for the Mediterranean Diet
  2. The vegetarian way of life
  3. Veganism is a lifestyle choice.
  4. The flexitarian diet is a type of vegetarian diet that allows you to eat

All of the above, in fact.

If you were taken aback by that news, rest assured that you are completely normal.

In the end…

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about plant-based diets.

We’ll try to clarify things up in this article by looking into a few questions.

You’ll also discover a questionnaire to help you assess your diet.

What are the differences between a vegetarian and a plant-based diet?

Let’s start with the discussion between meat and plant-based diets.

Some vegans consume meat, while others do not.

People who identify as vegetarians are included in this group.

Consider a continuum with a 100% carnivore on one end and a 100% vegan (no animals or animal products) on the other.

Plant-based eaters are closer to vegans than carnivores on this scale, as they consume more vegetables than meat. However, as the graph below illustrates, “more plants than meat” allows for a wide range of options.

Graphic that shows the variation of plant-based diets, placing foods on a scale from low to high Meatiness of Plantiness.

Strict vegans come under the “plant-based” category since their diet is completely plant-based.

Vegetarians don’t eat meat or fish in general, but they do occasionally ingest animal products like eggs and dairy. They’re still plant-based eaters, even if their dietary choices aren’t as plant-focused as a vegan’s.

Flexitarians, semi-vegetarians, and part-time vegetarians are more likely to eat meat and fish, though only in limited amounts. They do, however, fit into the plant-based category because they eat more plants than meat.

People who follow the Mediterranean or Paleo diets may consume meat on a daily basis. They do, however, consume a lot of entire plant meals. We’d consider them plant-based as long as plants make up a large component of their diet.

This graph (below) depicts what different plant-based eaters are willing to eat and what they are not willing to eat.

Chart shows what different types of plant-based eaters are willing to eat and/or do. 1) Flexitarian: red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, plants, buy leather/furs; 2) Pollo-vegetarian: poultry, eggs, plants, buy leather/furs; 3) Pescatarian: seafood, plants, buy leather/furs; 4) Lacto-ovo vegetarian: eggs, dairy, plants, buy leather/furs; 5) Lacto-vegetarian: dairy, plants, buy leather/furs; 6) Ovo-vegetarian: eggs, plants, buy leather/furs; 7) Fully-plant based: plants, buy leather/furs; 8) Vegan: plants

Because many plant-based eaters don’t fit into just one box, the above is simply a partial representation. Pescatarians consume seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as pescatarians who consume only seafood and no other animal products.

Similarly, some vegetarians and vegans are fine with animal-derived products (such as leather or fur), while others are not.

Others accept animal products into their lives on occasion, but not all of the time. One of our clients, for example, considers herself a vegan who never consumes animal products in any way, with the exception of cupcakes. If she’s in a bakery and there aren’t any vegan options, she’ll eat whatever looks good.

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Advantages of Vegetarian and Plant-Based Diets

Plant-based diets have been linked to a reduced risk of:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease is a condition that affects the kidneys
  • Gallbladder disease is a disease of the gallbladder. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

Plant-based eaters, on the other hand, may be healthier not because they consume less meat, but for the following reasons:

The first reason is that plant-based diets appeal to health-conscious people.

Plant-based eaters are more likely to floss their teeth, exercise, use the stairs, sleep 7 to 9 hours, and visit their doctor on a regular basis. 6

In other words, individuals may be healthier not only as a result of what they eat and don’t eat, but also as a result of how they live.

Reason #2: People who follow a plant-based diet eat more plants. (Duh.)

Plant-based eaters have a high score on the Healthy Eating Index, a dietary quality metric.

Plant-based eaters have a lower risk of disease because they consume more minimally processed whole plant foods with established health-protective properties. 7

Reason #3: Plant foods that have been minimally processed tend to be nutrient-dense.

Here’s an example: A cup of broccoli, cherries, or black beans provides more nutrients for fewer calories than a slice of pizza. These nutrients can vary depending on the plant food:

  • Antioxidants aid in the prevention of free radical damage to our DNA.
  • Phytonutrients are plant compounds that are regarded to be beneficial to one’s health.
  • Mushrooms include myconutrients, which are health-promoting substances.
  • Fiber is an indigestible plant element that helps manage hunger, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels by bulking up stool and minimizing constipation.
  • Monounsaturated fats found in avocados and polyunsaturated fats found in seeds and nuts are examples of healthy fats.

Reason #4: Plant foods with minimal processing tend to fill us up, crowding out processed foods.

Plants have a lot of water, which gives meals more weight and volume without adding calories. They also have fiber in them, which helps to slow digestion.

As a result, they’re quite filling.

People prefer to eat fewer ultra-processed refined foods like chips, cookies, and mac and cheese when they eat more plants. 8 and 9

(Anyone who has ever had a “salad baby” knows how difficult it is to follow up with a milkshake or a bag of chips.)

The Price of Food Group Restriction

Whenever you make a nutritional adjustment, you must weigh the benefits and drawbacks.

Look at the graph below: As dietary limitations become more stringent, so does the time commitment and the risk of nutrient shortage.

On the other hand, as the intake of highly processed foods rises, so does the time commitment—while the danger of deficiency rises.

This chart is titled “The Continuum of Nutrition.” At the top of the chart is a horizontal green bar: On the left end it reads, “Greatest Nutrient Variety”; on the right end, it reads, “Greatest Deficiency Risk.” On the left side of the chart, there’s a vertical orange bar. On the bottom end it reads, “Harder to Maintain”; on the top end, it reads, “Easier to Maintain.” Types of eating styles are plotted based on where they fall on both continuums. “Whole food omnivore” ranks well on “easier to maintain” and “greatest nutrient variety.” “Whole food pescatarian” is a little harder than that in both categories, but still scores well overall. “Whole food vegetarian” and “whole food vegan” both move farther away on both continuums, with “whole food vegan” being the hardest to maintain and having the least nutrient variety of the aforementioned approaches. However, all of these approaches provide great nutrient variety than the processed food version of each approach. Those fall in the same order, but are each at progressively greater risk of nutrient deficiency.

Reason #5: Strict dietary guidelines can be effective.

Following a well-rounded plant-based diet, which leads to healthier choices, involves effort—label reading, food preparation, and menu inspection. Furthermore, if someone is a committed vegan or vegetarian, the “don’t eat” list can exclude less healthy, high-calorie foods such as wings and pork rinds.

(Learn more: Is it preferable to consume meat or vegetables in today’s diet? Do you want to go vegan? Something in the middle? What you need to know about what’s best for you.)

Is it possible to get adequate protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Many plant foods, contrary to popular assumption, provide adequate levels of protein.

Protein deficit isn’t as widespread among plant-based eaters as you might expect.

Take a look at how plant proteins compare.

FOOD PROTEIN is a nutrient that is found in (in grams)  
Protein sources derived from animals per piece the size of a palm*  
grilled skinless chicken breast 31  
Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is made 25  
Plain Greek yogurt 22  
cooked shrimp 21  
Eggs 12  
Sources of protein from plants  
Cooked seitan 22  
cooked tempeh 18  
drained and cooked tofu 16  
Fats derived from plants per piece the size of a thumb*  
Seeds from pumpkins 2  
Peanut butter is a delicious spread. 3.5  
Carbohydrates from plants *For each cupped hand  
lentils that have been cooked 8  
Multigrain bread 5  
Pasta 4  
vegetables that aren’t starchy Per fist*  
Broccoli 3  
Spinach 1  
Carrots 1  

* 3-4 oz cooked meat / tofu, 1 cup cottage cheese / Greek yogurt, 2 full eggs; cupped handful = 1/2-2/3 cup cooked grains / legumes, medium-sized fruit / tuber; Thumb = 1 tbsp; Fist = 1 cup

There are a handful of caveats:

The importance of whole foods cannot be overstated. Clients who eat tempeh, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds on a regular basis will have no issue achieving their protein needs.

Clients who eat largely refined spaghetti, refined bread, vegan cupcakes, and toaster pastries, on the other hand, may struggle.

Plant-based proteins aren’t as high in necessary amino acids as animal-based proteins, and they’re also not as well absorbed.

To adjust for this protein quality differential, people who eat only plants have slightly higher protein demands than omnivores. To understand more, read our page on plant-based proteins.

The Drawbacks of a Plant-Based Diet

The bad news is…

When you exclude entire food groups from your diet, you must work harder to receive all of the nutrients your body requires. This is particularly true if a person:

  • Is it vegan or completely plant-based?
  • Has a tendency to consume a diet high in highly processed foods.

Aim for a diet that is 80 to 90% whole, minimally processed foods to avoid the risk of deficiency.

Also, take into account the following nutrient-specific recommendations.

Calcium

Calcium helps muscles, including your heart muscle, perform properly, in addition to keeping bones and teeth robust.

Dairy products are particularly high in calcium, with each serving providing approximately a third of the daily requirement of 1000 to 1200 mg.

Follow these suggestions to acquire enough calcium from non-dairy foods:

Several portions of high-calcium plant foods should be consumed each day. Greens with lots of leaves (collards, turnip greens, kale), calcium-set tofu, sesame seed butter, blackstrap molasses, okra, broccoli, figs, beans, almonds, edamame, soy nuts, and fortified plant milks are among the calcium-rich plant foods. Cook calcium-rich greens rather than eating them raw to improve absorption.

Reduce your consumption of salt, alcohol, and soft beverages. People that consume a lot of alcohol, salt, or soft beverages consume fewer nutrient-dense, minimally processed whole meals. When someone opts for a soft drink, they are not opting for calcium-fortified plant milk. They don’t have broccoli or figs by default when they sit down with a bowl of salty chips. 

Exercise is a must. Weight-bearing activity stimulates bones, allowing them to gain density and lower fracture risk.

B12 (cobalamin)

B12 is required for the production of DNA, the strengthening of blood vessels, and the proper functioning of nerves. B12 deficiency can induce anemia since it is important in red blood cell production.

Although some plants include chemicals that the body can convert to B12, humans don’t absorb and use these substances as well as we do B12 from animal sources. 10 Furthermore, whether or whether they eat meat, many persons over the age of 50 are already deficient.

That’s because our stomachs produce less acid (which breaks down B12) and intrinsic factor as we get older (which helps the body absorb B12). Some drugs, such as acid blockers, further limit absorption.

A daily B12 supplement is recommended for the following reasons:

  • People in their fifties.
  • People who use drugs that block the absorption of vitamin B12, such as those used to treat reflux, ulcers, or diabetes.
  • People who eat a plant-based diet in some or all of their meals.

Even with supplements, some people may experience deficient symptoms such as weariness, dizziness or lack of balance, and decreased mental performance.

In those circumstances, their doctor can perform a blood test to determine their B12 levels and may give intramuscular (injected) B12, which is more easily absorbed than oral (including sublingual) supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These lipids are necessary for the development of eye, nerve, and brain tissue, as well as preventing heart disease (especially in fetuses and babies).

Omega-3 fats can be found in a variety of forms, including:

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Sea vegetables (such as seaweed) and seafood, particularly fatty forms like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, and oysters, are the greatest sources of EPA and/or DHA.

Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, soy, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables are all high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Before we can use ALA, our systems must convert it to EPA or DHA. During the conversion, approximately 90% of the ALA fat is lost. To put it another way, if you eat 2.5 grams of ALA from plants, your body will only convert and use roughly 10% of it, or.25 grams. 11

Conclusion: Non-seafood eaters should eat legumes, nuts, flaxseed oil, hemp, ground flaxseed, walnuts, and other ALA-rich foods on a daily basis. 12

Iron

Low levels of iron can cause weariness because it transports oxygen throughout the body.

Animal products are particularly high in heme iron, which is easier for our systems to absorb than non-heme iron found in beans, peas, lentils, and other plants. (Heme iron is absorbed 15 to 35 percent of the time, but non-heme iron is absorbed just 2 to 20 percent of the time.)

Use the following tips to increase iron intake and absorption:

Increase absorption by combining iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C-rich foods. For inspiration, look at the chart below. Make a tofu and broccoli stir fry or a bean salad with tomatoes, peppers, and a touch of lime.

Iron-fortified Vitamin C-dense
Seeds from pumpkins Fruits and liquids made from citrus (ex: oranges)
Tofu Cantaloupe
Tempeh Strawberries
Edamame Broccoli
Lentils Tomatoes
Beans Peppers
Peas Squash in the winter
Sunflower seeds are a type of sunflower. Watermelon
Nuts Guava
Hummus Kale
Butter made from almonds Kiwi
Leafy greens Potatoes
Foods with added nutrients  
Potatoes  
Oyster and white mushrooms  
Amaranth  
Spelt  
Oats  
Quinoa  
chocolate (dark)  

Cook with cast iron pots and pans. According to studies, it might boost the iron level of the meals you eat. 13

Coffee or black tea should not be consumed with food. These beverages include tannins, which prevent iron absorption.

Those who do well on a plant-based diet

Some people dive headfirst into plant-based eating and stay committed for the rest of their lives. They look and feel fantastic, and they can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t eat the same way they do.

Is there anyone else? They are battling it out. They don’t feel well and/or can’t seem to get the hang of things.

What distinguishes the two?

People that thrive on a plant-based diet include:

When it comes to eating, be open-minded and say, “I’ll try anything once.” Vegetables from the sea? Soy that’s been fermented and slimy? Bring it on!

Minimally processed whole foods, such as veggies, beans, and lentils, should be embraced.

Have the time and desire to look for vegetarian recipes, restaurants, and meal-delivery services.

Have family/friends who may likewise follow their lifestyle as a source of support.

Have a strong reason for going plant-based, such as “I can’t bear the thought of harming animals” or “I want to do everything I can to reduce my carbon impact.”

Are adaptable when it comes to their plant-based identity. If no other options are available, they are willing to consume eggs, dairy, seafood, or meat on occasion.

People that have trouble sticking to a plant-based diet include:

Cook for finicky eaters who like meat or dislike plant-based foods—or both.

High-processed refined foods are preferred over less processed plant foods.

You don’t have a compelling reason to switch to a plant-based diet.

I don’t have the time or energy to try new recipes or eateries.

How to work with customers who want to eat a plant-based diet

Consider the following suggestions to assist clients in succeeding.

Strategy #1: Don’t assume you understand what clients mean when they say things like “I’m a vegetarian” or “I’m a plant-based eater.”

As previously said, there are many different sorts of vegetarians and vegans. As a result, ask queries like:

  • To you, what does “vegetarian” or “plant-based” mean?
  • Could you tell me a little bit more about the meals you like to eat and the ones you avoid?
  • What do you consume and how often do you eat it?

Clients have provided us with a variety of responses to those queries.

Before supper, some people claim to be vegetarians. They don’t eat meat before dinner. During dinner, on the other hand, they’ll eat whatever the rest of the table is eating.

Others eat vegetarian at home, but in social situations, everything goes.

Second, figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Different people have different motivations for switching to a plant-based diet, and some of those motivations are more potent than others.

It’s understandable that someone who is allergic to eggs would avoid them for the rest of their lives.

Let’s imagine someone has a nagging feeling that “meat is terrible” because of a documentary they saw. They also happen to enjoy bacon. Burgers, too.

Sure, their imprecise notion that meat is bad might motivate them… for a time. However, once the documentary’s memory fades, they’ll likely reintroduce bacon and other favorite foods.

(If you’re upset by nutrition fads, see How to Talk to Clients (and Your Mother) About the New Netflix Documentary.)

In these situations, we like to apply a technique known as “the 5 Whys.”

It was first developed by Toyota and adapted for nutrition counseling by. It gets to the heart of why we want something.

Ask your client why they wish to switch to a plant-based diet.

Then, based on the client’s response, re-ask why.

Continue in this manner for a total of five times.

One of our vegetarian clients provided the following example. It required four whys to figure out what his genuine motivation was:

Coach: So, tell me a little bit more about why you’re a vegetarian. What motivates you to accomplish this?
Client: I grew up as a vegetarian. We don’t consume meat in my religion.
Coach: That’s very intriguing. Tell me a little more about what you’re talking about. What makes you think you shouldn’t eat meat?
Client: ‘It’s funny,’ he says. That is something I do not believe. That is what my religion teaches.
Coach: Okay, I get it. But why do it if you don’t genuinely think it’s a horrible idea?
Client: It’s my family, you see. My parents and siblings are more religious than I am. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m still a believer. Just because I’m not as religious as they are doesn’t mean I’m not religious. And I don’t want them to have a negative impression of me.
Coach: I understand your want to stay near to your family. I’m curious: if you’re only a vegetarian to avoid embarrassment from your family, why do you stay vegetarian when they’re not around?
Client: Are you telling the truth? I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t eat a lot of meat because it makes me feel bad. But, if my family isn’t available, I’m willing to go to a rib feast.

This chat helped this customer realize that he will most likely eat meat on occasion. His “why” wasn’t strong enough to motivate him to entirely abstain.

Plus, he didn’t mind eating meat as long as his family didn’t know.

Strategy #3: Discuss potential roadblocks.

Collaborate to come up with scenarios that are likely to occur—and how clients plan to handle them.

  • What will kids do when they’re out with pals who tell them to “just have one wing”?
  • When Grandma adds, “I know you adore meatloaf,” how will they react? That’s why I created it—just for you, honey.”
  • How will they deal with establishments that have few or no vegan or vegetarian options?

After going over some of these scenarios with clients, ask them: “How comfortable are you with flexibility?”

To put it another way, do they want to eat just plants no matter what? Or are some animal products OK… in specific circumstances?

Remind clients of the following:

An imperfect strategy executed on a regular basis outperforms a perfect plan executed only once in a while.

Some of our clients have stated that having an incomplete plan means they may eat whatever they want:

  • Commercially prepared chicken broth soups, but not if they contain meat bits.
  • If a friend feeds them meat, they will eat it, but not if they are at home preparing their own meals.
  • Salads, even if they come with a sprinkling of bacon pieces on top.
  • If it’s a special occasion, order wings.
  • At a holiday lunch with extended family, turkey, stuffing, and/or gravy are served.

Health habits might be compared to a volume dial for flexible clientele.

If they’re new to plant-based eating, they should start with a low setting. It may be as low as one, with them eating a plant-based meal once a week or even once a month.

They might wish to raise the dial to a 3 in the future, with all of their breakfasts being 100% plant-based.

They may determine that a 5 is the maximum they are willing to go. Alternatively, they could keep increasing the volume until they reach a ten, with all of their meals coming from plants.

However, just because they reach a ten does not imply they must remain there.

It’s easy to eat at a ten on some days. On other days, many people discover that they need to reduce the “volume,” allowing for a small amount of meat or animal products.

People can continually embrace plant-based eating by changing the volume down and up as needed.

(For more information, see this infographic: How to Improve Your Diet, Fitness, and Health Using the “Dial Method.”)

Strategy #4: Consider how they can influence their surroundings.

Plant-based eaters share the same environment as everyone else, which means they’re likely to:

  1. Food options that are heavily processed abound.
  2. Foods are frequently chosen for their convenience.

Their eating choices will be influenced by their surroundings.

Food that is close by and easy to reach is more likely to be eaten than food that is further away or out of sight.

You’re also less likely to eat food that requires effort to prepare—washing, peeling, slicing—than food that can be taken straight from the refrigerator or cupboard and eaten.

Clients will want to make minimally processed healthy meals easy to eat in order to consume enough of them. At the same time, they’ll aim to make it more difficult to consume highly processed refined foods. They might do the following to achieve this:

  • Always keep sliced vegetables in the fridge that are ready to eat.
  • Every Sunday, soak beans and/or lentils.
  • Salad mix in a bag, prewashed
  • Keep highly processed treats on a high shelf where they won’t be seen.

They’ll be far more likely to grab and eat the meals that help them achieve their nutritional needs if they make these changes.

What to Eat on a Plant-Based Diet

Vegetarians’ plates are traditionally piled high with fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts & seeds, and oils. Dairy, seafood, or eggs may also be present, depending on the individual.

Consider how you could move along a spectrum, starting from your present eating pattern to choices that are more whole food and plant-based, and less processed, using the food lists in this infographic—a visual guide to plant-based eating.

Plug your information into our macros calculator for a detailed recommendation that includes how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you should consume. (It’s free and gives you a personalized diet plan based on your eating habits and goals.)

Are plant-based diets effective for you?

There’s just one way to tell if a plant-based diet is right for you: try it.

Try it.

Treat it as if it were a test. Define what it means to you to eat a plant-based diet. Then jump right in—at least for two weeks.

Take this brief questionnaire after at least two weeks to see if your eating approach is effective. You may return to the quiz at any time and for any diet plan, so it’s worth bookmarking.

Whatever your outcome, keep in mind that it’s all going to be fine.

As previously said, you can always reduce the “volume.” Rather than eating plants for the majority of your meals, attempt to consume half of them. Or just for breakfasts. Alternatively, one dinner per week.

Or any other choice that appeals to you.

It’s not about winning awards for plant-based excellence. It’s all about consistency—doing whatever you can to improve your behaviors slowly.

What if you decide that eating a plant-based diet isn’t for you? It’s not a huge deal!

There are a variety of additional strategies to eat healthily. (Other diets to explore include Mediterranean, Keto, Paleo, reverse dieting, and intermittent fasting.)

Alternatively, try our Calculator’s “anything” diet. Continue to experiment and try new things. You’ll eventually find the greatest diet—for you.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

1. Rizzo NS, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fraser GE, Rizzo NS, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fraser GE. The adventist health research 2 found that vegetarian dietary habits are linked to a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome. Diabetes Care. 2011 May;34(5):1225–7.

2. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. 2016 Dec;116(12):1970–80 in J Acad Nutr Diet.

3. R-Y Huang, C-C Huang, FB Hu, and JE Chavarro. A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials on Vegetarian Diets and Weight Loss 2016 Jan;31(1):109–16. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Jan;31(1):109–16.

22 – Blood Pressure and Vegetarian Diets. Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, Miyamoto Y. F. Mariotti is the editor. Diets that are vegetarian or plant-based are beneficial to one’s health and disease prevention. 395–413 in Academic Press, 2017.

5. Oussalah A, Levy J, Berthezène C, Alpers DH, Guéant J-L. Oussalah A, Levy J, Berthezène C, Alpers DH, Guéant J-L. An overview of systematic studies and meta-analyses on the health effects of vegetarian diets. [Internet] Clin Nutr. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.02.037 on March 11, 2020.

The Mediating Role of Health Consciousness in the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Health Behaviors. 6. Espinosa A, Kadi-Maglajli S. 2018 Nov 8;9:2161; Front Psychol. 2018 Nov 8;9:2161; Front Psychol. 2018 Nov 8;9

P. Clarys, T. Deliens, I. Huybrechts, P. Deriemaeker, B. Vanaelst, W. De Keyzer, and others Vegan, vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and omnivore diets are compared in terms of nutritional quality. Nutrients, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1318–32, published online March 24, 2014.

Disparities in State-Specific Adult Fruit and Vegetable Consumption – United States, 2015. Lee-Kwan SH, Moore LV, Blanck HM, Harris DM, Galuska D. 2017 Nov 17;66(45):1241–7. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Nov 17;66(45):1241–7.

9. Martnez Steele E, Baraldi LG, Louzada ML da C, Moubarac J-C, Mozaffarian D, Monteiro CA, Louzada ML da C, Louzada ML da C, Moubarac J-C, Moubarac J-C, Moubarac J-C, Moubarac J-C Evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study on ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet. 2016 Mar 9;6(3):e009892 in BMJ Open.

Vitamin B12-Containing Plant Food Sources for Vegetarians. Watanabe F, Yabuta Y, Bito T, Teng F. Nutrients, 6(5), 1861, May 2014.

Swanson, D., Block, R., and Mousa, S. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have long-term health benefits. Adv Nutr. 3(1):1–7, 2012.

n-3 fatty acid dietary recommendations and food sources to reach essentiality and cardiovascular benefits, Gebauer SK, Psota TL, Harris WS, Kris-Etherton PM. 2006 Jun;83(6 Suppl):1526S–1535S. Am J Clin Nutr.

Food made in iron cooking pots as an intervention for lowering iron deficiency anemia in developing countries: a systematic review, Geerligs PDP, Brabin BJ, Omari AAA. 2003 Aug;16(4):275–81 in J Hum Nutr Diet.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of a plant-based diet, including what plant-based nutrition is, how it can help you, and how you can incorporate it into your life. I’ll also explain how to navigate the modern food system, the controversies that surround plant-based nutrition, and how to make the best of this potential lifestyle choice.. Read more about is being a vegetarian healthier than eating meat and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can plant-based diets provide complete nutrition?

Yes, plant-based diets can provide complete nutrition.

Is a plant-based diet just vegetarian?

A plant-based diet is a diet that does not include any meat or animal products. This includes eggs and dairy, but excludes fish.

What are the 5 nutrients to focus on for vegetarians?

The 5 nutrients to focus on for vegetarians are protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B12.

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