2 Week Plant-based Diet For Better Health

    Plant-based Diet

    Martin Alvarez

    Martin Alvarez
    Nutritionist/Dietitian Professional Guide

    Updated on 12/3/2022

    After nearly two years of pandemic worry (and probably pandemic stress eating), it is time to prioritize our physical and mental health. Since it is a new year, we have a fresh start to making this happen.

    A more plant based diet  for better health (which does not need to be entirely vegetarian or vegan) is a great method to help you reach your health objectives while living a more sustainable lifestyle. This is a way that you can really kick it.

    And if you have no idea why, where, when, or how to get started, what should you do to start 2 week plant-based diet? You don't need to worry about a thing.

    Why Not Give A Vegan Diet A Shot?

    Diets that are predominantly composed of plant foods provide several advantages, the most important of which are health and environmental benefits. Will we go into each of these a little bit further, shall we?

    For Health

    plant-based diet

    When compared to a more traditional Western diet, vegetarian diets provide several advantages from a health perspective, particularly when they consist of largely whole foods and less processed ingredients.

    For instance, there is some evidence to suggest that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

    In addition to this, they contain an abundance of beneficial antioxidants, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals.

    All of those vegetables are also great for the health of your digestive tract. The fiber acts as a source of food for the beneficial bacteria that are found in your large intestine, allowing those bacteria to function at their highest potential, which in turn promotes improved cognitive function, immune health, blood sugar control, digestive ease, and a variety of other health benefits.

    Various Forms Of Diets Based On Plants

    • Eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt are included in a Lacto-Ovo diet, but any and all forms of meat are avoided (chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc.)
    • Dairy products are included in a Lacto vegetarian diet, but all forms of meat and eggs are avoided.
    • Ovo-vegetarian: accepts eggs; excludes all meats; excludes dairy
    • Flexitarian diets are those that focus mostly on plant-based foods yet allow for limited consumption of animal products (eggs, dairy, meat)
    • A plant-based diet that also contains fish is called pescatarian.
    • A diet that does not include any foods produced from animals, including meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, and even honey.

    plant-based diet

    For The Environment

    When opposed to meals that are composed of meat that has been raised using traditional farming methods, vegetarian diets may also be a more environmentally friendly option.

    According to a review of research conducted in 2016, broad adoption of eating more plant-based patterns could possibly lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent while reducing water usage by up to 50 percent.

    In addition, if you are concerned about animal welfare or animal rights, switching to a plant-based diet may be one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Even while more compassionate farming practices are making their way into the mainstream, conventional farming practices continue to pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of the animals that are kept on these farms.

    A more stringent vegan diet is the obvious way to go if you wish to steer clear of doing anything that may be considered cruel to, exploitative of, or even lethal to animals.

    Is It Going To Help You Achieve Your Health Goals?

    Lose Weight

    Similar to omnivorous diets, plant-based diets may be as healthy or as unhealthy as the individual chooses to make them. If a significant portion of your diet consists of highly processed or sugary foods, it is unlikely that ANY adjustment you make to how you eat would improve your health.

    On the other hand, if your objectives are to improve your general health, lose weight, or lead a lifestyle that is more environmentally friendly, a high-quality plant-based diet can be the perfect choice for you.

    In addition, consuming a plant-based diet does not necessarily need you to adhere to a vegan or vegetarian diet in its purest form. On a diet that is mostly plant-based, consuming meat and dairy products occasionally are not incompatible with reaping the health benefits associated with eating a predominantly plant-based diet. (Here's a little secret: if you do consume meat, seek humanely reared, grass-fed, or pastured options rather than conventionally farmed meats for a more environmentally friendly alternative.)

    Pros Of Plant-based Diet

    plant-based diet

    They were packed with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

    Maybe less costly than a diet consisting primarily of meat.

    high in beneficial antioxidants

    rich in dietary fiber

    includes a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals

    more environmentally responsible and kind to animals

    maybe beneficial to one's general health as well as their weight

    Cons Of Plant-based Diet

    It may not be advantageous if you rely on vegetable foods that have undergone a great deal of processing.

    Will most likely demand more time spent in the kitchen at home.

    necessitates the addition of certain vitamins

    For beginners, there is a certain amount of steep learning curve.

    What Can Be Anticipated

    plant-based diet

    How you used to eat has a significant role in determining how you will feel after switching to a plant-based diet since it is the single most important factor.

    If you were already eating a diet that was high in plants and whole foods, you might not see any dramatic improvements immediately away, even if you reduce the amount of meat you eat. However, many people report that their skin improves once they stop consuming dairy products.

    If you are coming from a diet that is very processed (one that is high in things like fast food or highly processed snacks, for example), you may go through a bit of an adjustment phase when you are a little bit grumpier than you normally are when you first begin a whole food plant-based diet. These meals could have some addictive qualities, and you might feel the need to "detox" from them at some point.

    However, after you get beyond this difficult part, you will most likely discover that you are feeling terrific. Oh, and going to the bathroom won't be a chore since all of that fiber will help you maintain regular bowel movements.

    When you first start, there are a few things you should be aware of. One of these things is that you might not have as many alternatives for going out to eat, which means that you might have to put in more time cooking at home. Don't worry if you don't feel completely sure about your ability to cook just yet; you will come very soon!

    plant-based diet

    At long last, you'll notice some differences in the proportions of macro- and micronutrients present in the foods you eat. The majority of plant-based diets include less protein than omnivorous diets, which is why it is essential to consume a source of protein with each meal while following a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet may be deficient in certain essential elements, which will be covered in further detail in the following section. Thus it is recommended that you take dietary supplements to make up the difference.

    Quick-start For Novices

    Organize, go shopping, and get ready

    Making significant alterations to your diet may at first appear to be an extremely daunting task; however, this need not be the case. To get through the first two weeks of eating a plant-based diet, there are really just three fundamental actions you need to take:

    • Plan. Make a menu plan for the next two weeks. Make them simple, give yourself some wiggle space, and pick meals that you already know you'll enjoy, even if they don't look exactly like the meals you see on Instagram's most perfect feeds.
    • Shop. Proceed to do your purchasing after this. Regardless of how frequently you go grocery shopping, it would be best if you made stocking a well-rounded plant-based pantry a top priority. This is true even if you just buy a few products for the pantry each week. (A generic shopping list is provided for your convenience below.)
    • Prep. In conclusion, carrying out some of the necessary preparatory work in advance can help you achieve greater achievement, particularly if you often struggle to maintain your motivation after work during the week (prime hit-the-drive-thru time). It might be useful to get a head start on the week by preparing all of your breakfasts and lunches at once (Sundays work well for many people).

    plant-based diet

    Gearing Up

    Have you always kept a well-stocked kitchen, even before you started following a plant-based diet? You shouldn't have any problems now.

    If making the switch to a plant-based diet this year will also mark your first journey into cooking at home, the following pieces of equipment are absolutely necessary for your success:

    • Nonstick skillet (s)
    • pot(s) for cooking with a cover
    • nice chef's knife
    • a decent bread knife (with serrations)
    • blender
    • strainer
    • the glasses and spoons for measuring
    • bowls for mixing of varying capacities
    • baking sheet
    • pans for making loaves or muffins
    • equipment consisting of a whisk, turner, spatula, and a big stirring spoon
    • can opener

    Muffins

    Other kitchen appliances such as slow cookers, Instant Pots, food processors, rice cookers, and air fryers can also be incredibly helpful and save a lot of time, but they are not required.

    Easy Swaps

    So it's quite clear that you'll be replacing meat with plant-based alternatives, but what about the other goods that are derived from animals that you use on a regular basis?

    The following are some simple alternatives to those:

    plant-based diet

    Instead ofYou might like to try
    An egg

    For baking: a flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal and 2.5 tbsp water)

    for scrambling Tofu 

    Pudding or flavored gelatin chia pudding (1 part chia seeds, 1 part plant milk or fruit juice, plus flavors and sweeteners of your choosing — chill overnight before consuming) pudding or flavored gelatin chia pudding
    Parmesan cheeseNutritional yeast
    Milk from cowsMilk from plants (soy, oat, flax, almond, coconut)
    MayonnaiseHummus (or vegan mayo)
    ButterCoconut oil
    stock made from chicken or beefVeggie stock (keep veggie scraps in a bag in your freezer to make it yourself)

    Pick A Protein

    plant-based diet

    To live a healthy plant-based lifestyle, it is essential to consume an adequate amount of protein. (And to our great good fortune, it's also quite simple.)

    Nuts, seeds, goods made from soy, beans, plant-based alternatives to meat, and plant-based protein powders are all good sources of plant-based protein. If you aren't following a strict vegan diet, you can still acquire protein from eggs and dairy products.

    Plant proteins, on the other hand, do not individually deliver sufficient quantities of the essential amino acids to fulfill your requirements, in contrast to animal proteins. Eating a wide variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day and week is the easiest way to ensure that you obtain the necessary amount of these key amino acids.

    If you make sure to incorporate a wide range of nuts, seeds, beans, and other meat substitutes into your diet, you won't have any trouble consuming enough AAs.

    Simple Meal Prep

    plant-based diet

    The following is a straightforward method that may be used in the preparation of meals for ANYONE and ANY MEAL (plant-based or not). If you prefer to do a lot of cooking on the weekends, this is a fantastic method to plan out what you will eat for lunch and supper during the week.

    To begin, choose your source of protein. Let's use tofu as an illustration for this point.

    Next, add a grain. Rice might be the most obvious option, but we could also go with barley, healthy noodles, tortillas, or any number of other options.

    Finally, choose a vegetable. Let's do bok choy.

    It sounds like a delicious stir fry would be made with tofu, rice, and bok choy. The dish should be seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and it should be garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

    Our Favorite Hacks And Shortcuts

    Pasta

    Need to make better use of your time? The following is a list of some of our favorite tricks to make eating a plant-based diet a little bit easier:

    • Taco Bell. Hey, don't be so mean. Even if the meal has undergone a significant amount of processing, it is still edible in the event that no other choices are available. They are one of the only fast food restaurants that can be found virtually anywhere, and they feature dishes that have been verified as vegetarian-friendly by the American Vegetarian Association on their comprehensive Veggie Cravings menu.
    • Meal deliveries and meal packages are available. Take into consideration purchasing a meal box from a company like Green Chef, Sunbasket, or Purple Carrot if your finances permit (all of which send preportioned ingredients and recipes for you to cook your own plant-forward meals). Consider utilizing a fresh or frozen meal delivery service such as Fresh N Lean (which provides vegan or low-carb vegan meals) or Trifecta Nutrition in the event that you are short on time or in need of a simple solution for your lunch break at the office (which offers vegan or vegetarian plans).
    • Frozen vegetables. In a perfect world, you would never discover mushy, brown bananas that are covered in fruit flies in the bottom of your fruit bowl, nor would you ever uncover bags of baby spinach that have completely liquefied in the depths of your crisper drawer. Unfortunately, it does occur; however, there is nothing wrong with having some frozen vegetables on hand for use in speedy meals or during busy weeks when the preparation of a large number of fresh vegetables may not be possible. In point of fact, frozen bags of peas and carrots are wonderful for quickly throwing together some fried rice in the style of takeout, and frozen riced cauliflower is SO easy to add to soups or to add some additional vegetables to a rice dish. Both of these options are available at most grocery stores.

    Beans

    • Beans that are canned. In a similar vein, canned beans are INCREDIBLE. Although dried beans are more cost-effective and may have a somewhat superior flavor, they must be soaked, sorted, and cooked for a much longer period of time. If you find yourself in a situation where you need dinner in a hurry, it is a good idea to have at least a couple of different kinds of canned beans on hand.
    • Grains that have been cooked. Additionally, grains that have already been cooked, such as rice and quinoa, are a lifesaver for hectic evenings. In comparison to grains that you cook yourself, the texture of these grains may not be quite right, but they are quite handy and only need to be warmed up. There are times when all you need is a tasty dinner that can be prepared quickly.

    "Fast Food" Derived From Plants

    Are you in need of something fast and simple? We got you, veg folks. When you just can't be bothered to cook, here are some meals that can be thrown up in five minutes or less, don't require any cooking, and can be eaten on the go.

    • Peanut butter and jelly are an old favorite. You can make it taste even better by using an excellent, hearty whole grain bread, jam made in the area, and nut butter.
    • Toast topped with chickpeas and avocado. This dish is high in protein and very easy to prepare, thanks to the use of chickpeas in cans. Add salt and pepper freely, and revel in the sensation of having reached the pinnacle of millennial achievement while you eat.

    plant-based diet

    • Rice and beans are prepared in a shorter form. Beans from a can, rice that has already been cooked, a fast trip through the microwave, and the seasonings of your choosing are all that is required. Even if it's not the best beans and rice you've ever had, it's still an excellent hot dinner when you're in need.
    • A salad made using whatever is in the refrigerator. Exact replication of what is stated. On top of a bed of salad greens, layer any leftover vegetables, nuts, seeds, plant-based cheese, pieces of plant-based burger patties, or chickpeas from toast. You may use the vegan dressing of your choice, or you can simply drizzle it with oil and vinegar.

    Supplements For A Plant-based Diet

    Unless they are particularly carefully planned, plant-based diets can fall short on key nutrients; thus, it is vital to add certain supplements in order to ensure that all of your nutritional needs are met, especially when you are just starting out with a plant-based diet. The following is a list of nutrients that consuming a plant-based diet may cause you to be deficient in:

    plant-based diet

    • vitamin D
    • iron
    • selenium

    You should be covered for the most part by a decent multivitamin, but you should check to make sure that it has at least one hundred percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B12 and is a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids. (You should also munch on seaweed since it is rich in iodine.)

    A Plant-based Diet For The Next 14 Days

    To get you started, here is a sample menu for 14 days that you may follow. For the purpose of diversity, we have included 14 distinct breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as snacks or desserts, for a grand total of 56 different meal and snack options. Having said that, we strongly suggest that you make some adjustments in order to make it your own!

    The vast majority of individuals, for example, have no problem with having the same meal day in and day out. Therefore, we suggest choosing the breakfast choice that sounds the most appetizing (or two or three) and sticking with it during these first two weeks. You will also find that this will save you some time in the mornings. The same is true for meals such as snacks and lunches, and even evenings, provided that you are ready to forego some variety in exchange for increased convenience.

    In addition, feel free to finish out any one of these dinners with a side salad, some steamed or sautéed vegetables, or both, depending on what kinds of vegetables you have on hand.

    plant-based diet

     Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snack or Dessert
    Day 1vegan strawberry banana smoothievegan Greek salad wrapone-pot vegetarian pastatrail mix
    Day 2Southwest tofu scramble colorful three-bean saladsweet potato chickpea Buddha bowlplant-based yogurt with blueberries
    Day 3Plant-based yogurt parfaitchickpea salad sandwichveggie-loaded stuffed bell pepperspopcorn with nutritional yeast
    Day 4vegetarian breakfast burritoMediterranean white bean soupplant-based burgevegan dark chocolate, and cherries
    Day 5overnight oatseveryday lentil souproasted vegetable grain bowlcrackers baby carrots and hummus
    Day 6vegan apple cinnamon oatmealvegan buffalo cauliflower sandwichvegan pasta with marinara saucetriple berry protein smoothie.
    Day 7cheesy vegan gritscitrus-chipotle chopped saladgrilled tofunut butter, and jam on a sandwich
    Day 8blueberry muffinshummus and avocado sandwichesmaple chili chickpea grain bowlsplant-based cheese and almonds
    Day 9whole grain porridge with high protein content, plant-based milkcoconut green soup with celery, kale, and gingervegan ratatouilleapple slices, and peanut butter
    Day 10berry banana smoothie bowl BBQ pulled jackfruit sliderscreamy cauliflower, mushroom, and kale pasta bakeno-bake energy snacks
    Day 11vegetarian breakfast sandwichvegan Cobb saladchickpea tikka masalaplant-based protein drink
    Day 12vegan breakfast potato hashPB&Jvegan tacos with five ingredientsprotein bar
    Day 13Avocado toastvegan wraps with balsamic tofu and hummusvegan pumpkin noodlesmushroom jerky
    Day 14plant-based protein smoothie grilled "cheese" sandwichquinoa Buddha bowl topped with tahini dressingzucchini brownie

    plant-based diet

    Shopping List Of The Plant-based Products

    The following shopping list will serve as your guide to completely filling a pantry with plant-based foods. Almost all of these things are completely stable on the shelf and can be kept for a considerable amount of time, with the exception of dairy alternatives and fresh produce.

    It is recommended that you purchase two or three items from this list each week as part of your regular grocery shopping in order to stock your pantry with ingredients that will make plant-based cooking and meal planning incredibly simple.

    The Oils And Fats

    • coconut oil
    • coconut oil with a flavor similar to butter
    • olive oil
    • avocado oil
    • sesame oil

    plant-based diet

    The Origins Of Protein

    • Nuts and seeds, such as flax seeds, chia seeds, pistachios, almonds, pecans, pecan butter, walnut butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc. Nut jars of butter are also available.
    • Chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, white beans, red beans, lentils, and peas are all types of beans that can be purchased, canned, or dried.
    • Products derived from soybeans include black soybeans, tempeh, tofu, and natto.
    • Plant-based eggs, plant-based "ground meat," plant-based bacon, and plant-based patties are some examples of meat substitutes.

    Essentials For Stocking A Pantry

    • Any herbs, spices, and flavors that appeal to your taste.
    • a mixture of onions and garlic
    • Vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, red wine, and rice are good ones to keep handy)
    • flour
    • baking powder
    • baking soda
    • cornmeal
    • yeast

    Honey

    • Honey or maple syrup (*honey is not strictly vegan, but some vegans consume it since human honey intake may assist in stimulating bee population increase and bee conservation) (Note: honey is not technically vegan, but some vegans eat it)
    • sugar or sweetener
    • tea
    • coffee
    • soy sauce or coconut aminos
    • Yeast is derived from nutrition.

    Grains And Starches

    • potatoes with sweet potatoes
    • tortillas made from corn or whole wheat
    • crackers made from seed
    • rice
    • Grains that are entire (farro, barley, quinoa, teff)
    • Pasta made with whole wheat (all different types)

    Oats

    • Noodles made with whole wheat (all different types)
    • oats
    • grits
    • bread made with whole wheat (if strict vegan, check the label for dairy products)

    Vegetables

    • broccoli
    • mushrooms
    • avocado
    • Salad greens and greens for cooking that are used leafy (lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc.)
    • asparagus
    • tomatoes
    • turnips
    • peppers

    Tomatoes

    Any and all of them, depending on your preference!

    Fruits

    Any and all of them, depending on your preference!

    Alternatives To Dairy Products

    • Milk derived from plants
    • yogurt made from plants
    • cheese made from plants
    • creamer for coffee made from plants

    Yogurt

    Recipes Based Only On Plants

    • "cheesy" vegan recipes
    • Food for the soul that is vegan
    • Recipes made using vegan mushrooms.
    • Vegan smoothies and juices
    • Recipes for the slow vegetarian cooker
    • Vegan quick pot recipes
    • Fast vegan snacks
    • Vegan pasta dishes
    • Vegan tacos
    • Vegan sauces
    • Vegan frozen delights

    Pasta

    • Recipes using beans
    • Vegan soups
    • Vegan BBQ recipes
    • Vegan make-ahead breakfasts
    • Seitan recipes
    • Fast vegan meals
    • Aquafaba recipes (BTW, aquafaba is the liquid in canned chickpeas)
    • Whole30 dishes that are vegetarian in nature.
    • Thanksgiving dishes that are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
    • Dishes for a vegan Christmas