Plant-Based Cooking

Cuisines, Cooking Styles, and Culinary Delights

The Plant- Based Diet Demystified

What is a plant-based diet anyway? Does it mean vegan? Vegetarian? The semantics can be confusing. To simplify, a plant-based diet is one that centers on plant foods and avoids animal foods. That means eating grains, legumes or beans, fruits and vegetables. Anything else is minimized and excluded.There is no hard and fast rule on the ratios, but a rule-of-thumb can be a dietary pattern of under 10% animal products in the diet could count as plant-based, though the implication is that the diet strives for all plants and no animal foods.

It is more important to strive for a whole food, plant-based diet, which means that most of your diet concists of whole, unprocessed plants. This by definition avoids hightly processed foods including chips, pastries, additives and isolated ingredients like added fats including oils and margarine, sugar and artificial sweeteners, isolated protein, and and chemical additives.

What does it mean to be vegan or vegetarian?

A vegan diet excludes all animal products. There are three main reasons: for the environment, compassion towards animals and for the health benefits of avoiding animal foods. A  vegetarian excludes meat but usually allows for dairy products and eggs, termed "lacto-ovo" vegetarian. Vegans are sometimes referred to as "strict vegetarians"

Plant-Based Nutrition Lets The Body Find Its Optimal Health. Consuming a whole food, plant-based diet is anti-inflammatory and healing. It allows the body to rebuild a healthy gut and cardiovascular system, process and eliiminate excess cholesterol, limit carcinogens and pathogens and strive for homeostasis and health.

How to eat a plant-based diet: It's easy to cut through the confusion by simply striving to eat whole, plant foods; not plant parts, like protein, (even plant-based protein), oil, sugar, carbs, etc. 

Vegan Recipes and How To Turn Yours Into Them

There is no one way to go plant-based. For those wanting to ease in the change, swapping beans for the meat in recipes is a great start, centering on grain dishes like pilafs and porridges over meat and egg dishes adds loads of fiber and nutrients, or swapping veggie burgers for meat versions and tofu in vegetable stir-fries. These are just a fe

w healthy dinner ideas and easy ways  to make easy vegan recipes from familiar fare.

Also health promoting is to upgrade vegan recipes to whole food ones. Vegan diets often include junk foods that add extra calories from isolated ingredients and don't promote health, like muffins and other baked goods made from refined flour, chips, and ready-made foods with oils, salt, sugar and additives. Using plant milks like soy or almond instead of dairy is a step towards making a vegetarian diet healthy.

For Vegan Recipe Hacks--Top Vegan Recipes 

Here are some of our favorite healthy recipes, all found on the Sustainable Diet Recipes page, some are Recipes for Nostalgia or just plain vegan comfort foods for healthy dinner ideas. You will find more whole vegan food, healthy dinner recipes, ideas for vegetarian meals to suggest to others, and just plain vegetable recipes on the Sustainable Diet Recipes page to add more healthy foods into your diet.

  1. Kathy’s Macaroni and "Cheese" Casserole
  2. Rice Lentil Pilaf
  3. Chickpea Curry
  4. Pasta Primavera
  5. The SD Basic Burger
  6. Hummus Plate
  7. Mock Tuna Salad
  8. Peanut-Delicious Dressing and Sauce, for a vegan pasta or salad
  9. The SD Basic Wrap
  10. Breakfast Scramble
  11. Whatever Works Stir-Fry

Plant-Based Cooking

Many people have the misconception that a plant-based is complicated and hard to adopt. They don't know how to start to change the food they eat. Cooking healthy dinners is as easy or compex as cooking itself. It's not the plants that make it hard, but the change of behavior. 

There are many whole plant convenience foods on the grocery shelves nowadays, like chopped veggetables or frozen, cooked brown rice. Check out our article on Plant-Based Convenience Cooking for easy healthy recipes and quick and convenient ideas.

Relevant Research

Phillips, T., Zello, G. A., Chilibeck, P. D., & Vandenberg, A. (2015). Perceived Benefits and Barriers Surrounding Lentil Consumption in Families with Young Children. Can J Diet Pract Res, 76(1), 3-8. doi:10.3148/cjdpr-2014-025

Spill, M. K., Birch, L. L., Roe, L. S., & Rolls, B. J. (2011). Hiding vegetables to reduce energy density: an effective strategy to increase children's vegetable intake and reduce energy intake. Am J Clin Nutr, 94(3), 735-741. doi:10.3945/ajcn.111.015206

You May Want to Visit

Micaela's Lighter Profile to get recipes and personalized meal plans.

Ligher is an online tool to help you and the world eat better. 

Delicious and Tasty

You can find more healthy food recipes and meal inspiration at the SD Recipes page, including:


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