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The Truth About Starting a Plant Based Diet, According to a Nutritionist

From benefits to nutritional deficiencies and more, celebrity nutritionist Nmami Agarwal shares EVERYTHING you need to know about the 'game-changing' diet!

Are you left shooketh after binge-watching What The Health and Forks Over Knives? Or are you questioning your entire life's dietary decisions after watching The Game Changers?

Well, you are not alone. Plant-based diets have emerged as a revolutionary way of eating that is touted to be good for the planet as well as for your weight loss or muscle-building fitness goals. Many celebrities such as Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor as well as athletes have also opted for this diet.

Plant-based diet is all about eating minimally-processed whole food that comes from plants and doesn’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.

plant based diet

So, how do you start? Well, celebrity nutritionist Nmami Agarwal, founder of Nmami Life shares exactly what you need to know:

How does it help?

"A plant-based diet is high in unsaturated fats and fiber, both of which support better health. It is more nutrient-dense and contains more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, all of which help to reduce your risk for chronic disease. A plant-based diet also offers a great variety of flavors and textures." 

What are the nutritional deficiencies associated with this diet? 

"It is believed that a plant based diet doesn’t provide all the essential nutrients required by our body, especially protein, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. However, that’s just a myth, as a plant-based diet is not nutritionally deficient. A well-planned plant-based diet can provide all the essential nutrients that the body needs.  In fact, it is appropriate for all the stages of the lifecycle, including- pregnancy, lactation, childhood, older adulthood, and also for athletes. However, it is recommended to get adequate sunshine for vitamin D and include foods rich in vitamin B12 such as nori seaweed, spirulina, fortified plant foods like nutritional yeast while following a plant-based diet." 

plant based diet

How to start a healthy plant-based diet?

The key is to focus on eating a varied diet that includes a combination of essential nutrients, calcium, and good fats.  A few important nutrients to be included and their plant-based sources are: 

Protein:

"Include plant-based sources of protein such as nuts, beans and other legumes, peas, seeds, tofu, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa." 

Omega-3 Fatty acids:

"Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, crucial for our overall health. Our body can’t make it, so one has to consume them in their diet. Especially for vegetarians, including a handful of walnuts in the daily diet is a simple, tasty, and convenient way to ensure adequate intake of this essential nutrient. They are an easy choice with nutrients to support the heart, brain, and gut." 

Iron:

"To include iron in your diet, focus on foods like Kale and other green leafy vegetables, raisins, dried apricots, figs, tomatoes, mushrooms, seeds, mulberries, and olives." 

Calcium:

"Dairy is an excellent source of calcium. But it can also be found in plant-based sources like kale, broccoli, black beans, sesame seeds, fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, etc."