A Healthier Diet

A Healthier Diet

Let’s start with plant based (or mostly for some) eating.

Plant-based eating isn’t always black or white as there are subtleties or preferences that may influence your choice. Taking on however much you and your family can handle is already more than enough.

Just a reminder. Vegans and vegetarians choose not to eat meat. However, veganism is stricter and also prohibits dairy, eggs, honey, and any other items that derive from animal products, such as leather and silk.

When making changes to your diet it helps to think of all of the ingredients and delicious foods you are adding to meals and snacks, rather than focusing on what you are taking away.

Focus on what you are adding more of, and let these foods naturally replace the others. Add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, tofu, and plant-based dairy alternatives like soy, almond, rice or coconut milk and yogurt.

There are many plant-based meat and dairy alternatives on the market. It can also help if you find plant-based versions of recipes you already enjoy.

Dairy replacements

If you are considering a vegan diet then start to replace your cow’s milk with oat, hemp, soy, or almond milk. Then consider swapping out dairy yogurt for plant-based yogurts. Coconut yogurt, soy yogurt, almond yogurt, cashew yogurt are also all good sources of probiotic essential for a healthy gut.

If you prefer a vegetarian diet, then always use organic dairy products. White cheeses such as quark, ricotta, fetta, cottage cheese and halloumi are healthier options as lower in fats and salt.

Legumes and pulses

If you are unfamiliar with high fibre foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and pulses in your diet then start slow and add gradually. Signs of introducing too much too quickly include abdominal distension, gas and bloating.

Consider just one addition at a time and increasing slowly over a few weeks. Start by incorporating the equivalent of about ¼ cup every two days.

Start by adding a handful of black beans, chickpeas or lentils to your soups, salads or tagines. Red lentils are the gentlest on the gut and can ease the body into digesting legumes.

Soak dried legumes and rinse tinned legumes to reduce oligosaccharide (prebiotic which can cause excess gas) content.

Snack on hummus with veggies or falafel with tabouleh.


With a higher fibre rich plant based diet, fluids play a key role to stay hydrated and promote digestive health.
Water and herbal teas are especially helpful to avoid dehydration and discomfort. Around 2 litres of fluid daily with fibre-rich foods is recommended. Some indications that we’re not getting enough fluids include feeling thirsty, feeling dry skin or lips, and having darker-coloured urine.

Wholegrains, nuts and seeds

Eat wholegrains more often, such as brown rice, oats (steel cut best), millet, buckwheat, barley, bulgur, and quinoa. Add ground flaxseeds or quinoa to oatmeal porridge, smoothies or crumble toppings. Flaxseeds are high in omega -3-fats. Other plant sources of omega-3 fats include hemp seeds, walnuts, and ground chia seeds. Generally, a handful of mixed tree nuts is recommended daily.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red or green cabbage also contain oligosaccharides. Similar to legumes and other fibre-rich foods, aim to enjoy cruciferous vegetables in smaller portions first and gradually increase intake of them over time as tolerated.

Cooking cruciferous vegetables makes them easier to digest.

Healthy probiotics are found in sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi.

Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens top the list when it comes to the vitamins and minerals they offer. They’re a great way to get some extra fibre, antioxidants and add some beautiful colour to our plates. Dark greens can be incorporated into a variety of different recipes. They can be blended into a smoothie, with a delicious banana, in the morning, added to a wrap or sandwich for lunch, stirred into a pasta dish or stir fry, or enjoyed in a side salad for dinner.

Eat a rainbow

Eating more vegetables and fruit is always a good idea and focusing on eating a variety of colours will increase your intake of different nutrients to benefit various areas of your health. Its fun to try and eat all the colours of the rainbow every day.

Tofu and tempeh

Tempeh is a pressed cake of whole soy beans with a hearty, chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Tofu is made from soy milk that’s processed into blocks and is flavourless with a soft texture. Both are ideal plant-based proteins that can be served in many ways.
If you are unfamiliar and unsure of how to cook tofu or tempeh, a good place to start is with the pre-seasoned tofu which is generally available in larger grocery stores.


By definition, vegetarianism is classified as excluding any form of animal flesh (the tissue, muscles or meat of an animal). The egg doesn’t fall into this category and is therefore included in a vegetarian eating pattern.

A new trend for vegans is called “vegganism.” Veggans follow the traditional vegan diet but with one egg-ception—they add eggs to their menu of options.

Egg are packed with protein and are a good source of iron, vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

Always eat free range organic eggs.


We most often recommend getting nutrients from foods first. However, on a plant-based lifestyle, supplementation for some nutrients is recommended because it’s difficult to get them from foods alone. One of the supplements recommended is a vitamin B12 supplement.

Leafy green vegetables, seeds, and whole grains are some sources of B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is found in nutritional yeast, and fortified products such as plant milk and grains.
Another nutrient that’s often recommended, for plant based eaters is vitamin D. The body can also make vitamin D through sun exposure to the skin, but this is reduced by factors such as our age and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing. Plant sources of vitamin D include some mushrooms and fortified products such as plant milk.

For advice on the need for supplementation, which supplement to take (there are so many available these days) and contraindications for supplementation etc contact Debbie.