Explaining the buzzword: ‘plant-based’

The ‘plant-based’ diet consists of foods derived from plant sources; this can include fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and meat substitutes such as soy products.

The term ‘plant-based’ does not mean vegetarian or vegan. A person that consumes a ‘plant-based’ diet may also eat small amounts of dairy, meat or fish.

Grain-based diets started 10,000 years ago. “60% of calories that fuel humanity come from the seeds of three grass species; wheat, rice and corn.”* Humans have done and always will consume a ‘plant-based’ diet.

So with a a majority of us already eating a ‘plant-based’ diet, what is this infamous buzzword trying to convey? (Aside from being a marketing ploy aimed at middle-class people that assume that it’s living off avocados, ‘ancient grains’ and bistro salads). Basically a ‘plant-based’ diet is preferable for the sustainability of the planet and for your own well-being. Quite simply, eat less meat. This will significantly reduce emissions and help our planet in the long-term. An introduction into a good, well-rounded diet is to use slow cooker recipes that use cheaper, smaller cuts of meat or choose recipes that have no meat at all, for a minimum of 1-3 meals a week.

Be wary of the buzzword ‘plant-based’ though. It doesn’t automatically mean ‘healthy’. Many influencers use it to promote fad diets that can leave people nutrient deficient or have them gain weight as they aren’t eating correctly; it can also cause digestive issues.

It’s also used in marketing to sell packaged foods e.g. vegan pizza, salad bowls etc. This is detrimental as these foods aren’t ‘healthy’ just because they have ‘plant-based’ written on. Making your own meals and infrequently supplementing them with packaged foods is a reasonable idea for any working, busy individual or family.

Statistic: *James Wong. 2018. Twitter.

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