There is so much disagreement in the world of nutrition about what the exact ideal diet is. I believe the reason for this is because diets should be individualised, but nutritionists have been searching for an one fits all solution, which has led them to conflicting results from their research.
However, one of the suggestions most do agree on is to eat more vegetables. This almost seems to be a unifying guideline (apart from people following a Carnivorous diet, who don’t believe in that either!).
Eating a “Plant based diet”, in my view, means simply getting MOST of your food from plant sources. Vegetables are an incredible source of Micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals), are great for providing fibre for healthy gut bacteria and are less calorie dense than starchy carbohydrates, so you get the most nutrition into your body without consuming too much energy for your expenditure.
Note: This doesn’t necessarily mean EXCLUSIVELY from plant sources though. It can be challenging to get everything you need from a vegetarian or vegan diet. It takes a bit more attention and effort to food combine and get all the essential amino acids from plant sources. If someone decided on that path, of course I would support them to optimise their diet. It may suit some people very well, but others might find it doesn’t suit them. As I stated at the beginning of this chapter, diet should be individualised.
Eat 5 portions per day.
A portion is a big handful, approximately a quarter of a dinner plate. So, 2 portions would cover half your dinner plate. One way to achieve 5 portions in a day would be to have one at breakfast (yes, I did say vegetables for breakfast), two at lunch and two at dinner.
Eat as much variety as possible. Think about “eating the rainbow”; try to have every colour possible on your plate at some point throughout the week. Colours have a good correlation with micro-nutrients, so this is a good way to help you get everything you need.
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Courgette, Cucumber, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Peppers, Radish, Rocket, Spinach, Sprouts, Tomatoes, Watercress, Chillies, Herbs and Spices,
Notice, I’ve not put fruit into this category. I do encourage you to eat fruit. However, I put fruit into the same category as Starchy Carbohydrates for the purpose of my nutrition protocol. The reason is that they generally contain more carbohydrate than vegetables per 100g. There are exceptions to that (strawberries, for instance have less than carrots). But, again, I’m not saying they’re bad and I’m not discouraging you from eating them. I’m just suggesting putting them in a different category for tracking their consumption.