The Plant-Based Diet: Getting Started

The Plant-Based Diet: Getting Started
Donna Hayek, RD


In recent years, more Americans than ever are transitioning to plant-based diets. A plant-based diet does NOT necessarily mean that you have to go Vegan or Vegetarian. It just means that you eat more plant foods, and that the main feature of the meal is plant-based – usually about half of the plate.

Plant-based foods tend to be less processed and help normalize lipid values and decrease the risk of obesity. Switching to a plant-based diet provides health benefits for the planet also. Plant foods include: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.  It’s recommended to start off by following the “Mediterranean Diet” and incorporating “Meatless Mondays.” 

Animal meats tend to increase the gut’s production of a metabolite that is associated with plaque progression in the arteries; which can cause a heart attack. Meat can also increase the risk of diabetes and stroke. Animal meats are considered more processed; which causes more inflammation in the body. These foods include: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal and even fish.  

So how do we transition into this type of eating?

  • Follow more of a Mediterranean-Type Diet
  • Start the week off with “Meatless Mondays”
  • Increase the plant foods you are already eating
  • Add or substitute vegetables to your common recipes 
  • Try ethnic foods that tend to be more plant-based


Common meal delivery services to get started:

  • Green Chef
  • Factor
  • Hello Fresh
  • Home Chef
  • Every Plate
  • Purple Carrot
  • Hungryroot
  • Fresh and Easy
  • Trifecta