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Following a Plant-Based Diet, as Told by Dr. Brett Sasseen

Plant-based diets have been all the hype in the past few years. In fact, sales of plant-based foods have grown by 11% in the past year, according to a report published by the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association.

A plant-based diet is centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Essentially, more of the foods consumed are derived from plants. Dr. Brett Sasseen has been following a plant-based diet for several years. He also encourages his patients to move their diet more towards plant-based, when appropriate. “Most patients come back with higher energy levels and feeling great, after reducing the amount of meat they eat,” says Dr. Sasseen, “Beyond just a plant-based diet, I recommend a whole food, plant-based diet, meaning most foods consumed should be minimally processed.” This means steering clear of foods with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and refined grain products such as white rice.

A plant-based diet has shown immense benefit. A recent study published in JAMA found those who were strict with plant-based diet had a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, diets that are predominately plant-based, such as the Mediterranean diet, prove beneficial as well. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease by controlling blood sugar and minimizing inflammation, according to a study in JAMA.

Wondering where to start? Check out these plant-based breakfast, lunch and dinner options:

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with berries
  • Breakfast tofu scramble
  • Yogurt with fruit and pumpkin seeds

Lunch

  • Chickpea burger
  • Hummus and veggie wrap
  • Costa Rican rice and beans

Dinner

  • Red beans and rice with collard greens
  • Black-eyes peas with sweet potatoes and greens
  • Spaghetti al Pisto

Snacks:

  • Carrots and apples slices
  • Fresh fruit

Dr. Sasseen also reminds his patients, that a plant-based diet does not substitute the need for other health habits. “Sleep 7-9 hours a night and move around 30 minutes a day,” he says.

A plant-based diet may not be suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor before transitioning to a plant-based diet.

*Sources: healthline.com, 21 day vegan kickstart

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