Written by guest blog contributor, Caroline Williams, dietetic intern, Georgia State University
As I plunged into the research of plant-based eating, I quickly decided to research the effects of a plant-based diet on myself to fully understand what it means to go plant-based. So, I challenged myself to 5 days of plant-based eating. I hope my experience encourages you to try plant-based eating or incorporate more plants into your diet.
I decided to adhere to plant-based eating for 5 days from Monday through Friday, because I have more structure and routine during the week than during the weekend. Once I decided on my days, I focused on small changes in my usual diet that would fit a plant-based diet. Below is the menu I followed for the week.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I focused on whole, unprocessed foods as the bulk of my diet this week. There are definitely a few take-a-ways that I will continue to use moving forward. Below are some takeaways from my plant-based week.
1. Eating less processed foods, such as chips or crackers, for snacks allowed me to eat foods like nuts and fruits filling up on healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
2. Eating plant-based allowed me to feel less ‘bloated’ after meals and experience less daily headaches.
3. Choosing more whole foods allowed me to feel great about meeting recommended servings for whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Overall, I felt more confident in my food choices.
4. Making plant-based friendly substitutions for typical foods I consume was easier than I thought. Examples of this include: using almond butter on my whole wheat bagel rather than cream cheese and eating Banza pasta rather than regular noodles. (Banza noodles are made from chickpeas and do not use egg as the binding agent.) I also focused on making veggies the center of my plate rather than meat at lunch and dinner time. Foods such as chickpeas, beans, and spinach made up the majority of my plate, which took the place of meats such as chicken and turkey either grilled, baked or in a sandwich.
5. As a type one diabetic, focusing on more whole, unprocessed foods led me to have greater control of my blood glucose levels.
6. Overall, it left me feeling very happy!
Though I still may consume animal products every once and a while, this was a great exercise that allowed me to understand in greater depth the positive effects that plant-based eating has on my own body. As someone who is interested in nutrition and how food plays a role in our overall health, I will take this knowledge and apply it to my daily life, as well as use it in the future with patients and clients.
Hello! My name is Caroline Williams and I am a dietetic intern in Georgia State's coordinated program. I am studying to become a registered dietitian with hopes to one day work in pediatric weight management. Weight management and choosing more plant based foods go hand in hand, so I have become increasingly interested in a plant-based lifestyle!