Wholesome Foods: by Laura Mancuso

Plant-Based Diets

An analysis of data from almost 50 studies showed that plant-based diets were associated with a reduced risk of ischemic heart disease (heart problems caused by narrowed arteries) and cancer, particularly prostate cancer and gastrointestinal cancers. The study, published in PLOS ONE, examined the health effects of either vegetarian or vegan diets.
In addition, plant-based diets were associated with a reduction in risk factors for heart disease and cancer, including high body weight, inflammation and LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
You don’t have to go completely vegan to see some of these benefits. Even reducing a day or two per week of animal-based consumption can have benefits over time, say the authors. If you’re looking to make a change, try going semi-vegetarian and these seven tips to adjusting to a plant-based diet.
Here are seven tips for adjusting to a plant-based diet:
Start with one meatless meal per day
Eat beans
Consume lentils
Give tofu a chance
Plan your meals around vegetables
Emphasize whole and minimally processed foods
Don’t fret about getting enough protein.
Of course, not all plant-based diets are healthy. A vegetarian diet based on refined starches and sugar is not a healthy eating pattern. A healthy plant-based diet should consist mostly of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and healthy fats, such as olive oil. If you’re looking for inspiration, here is a budget-friendly recipe.
Burrito bowl
Meatless burrito bowls are tasty and affordable, and easy to make gluten-free if necessary.
In addition to being economical, burrito bowls are also quick and easy to make. Instead of chicken or beef, couple corn chips, brown rice or quinoa with lots of veggies and beans and avocado. You can also add tofu for additional protein, taste and texture. My favorites are romaine lettuce and cabbage, corn, green onions, black beans, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, green and red bell peppers and cilantro. Depending on what I have in the kitchen, I like to add a dollop of sour cream, guacamole, salsa or a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese.
You can spice up burrito bowls with ingredients like:
Tabasco sauce
Serrano peppers
Red pepper chili flakes
U.S. News and Health