What are proteins and how much should I eat?
Proteins are foods like beans, quinoa and dark leafy vegetables. You can eat these foods as side dishes to your carbohydrate meal. It is not necessary to add them to your meals, but if you choose to do so, these foods should be served in smaller amounts.
What are fats and how much of them can I eat?
Fats are foods like nuts, nut butters, seeds, oils of all kinds and fruits like avocados. You should eat these foods in moderation or not at all. You can add a quarter of an avocado to season a salad at dinner or sprinkle a small handful of nuts or seeds on your oatmeal, but this should never be the prime calorie source for your meal. You should avoid cooking with all plant oils as this increases the fat content of your meal and will lead to unhealthy weight gain. Try cooking with water or experiment with different methods of preparing your food such as steaming and baking.
What are carbs and how much of them can I eat?
Carbs are foods such as grains, potatoes, rice, non fatty fruits and pasta. You can eat these foods in unlimited amounts prepared with water or a grain based milk instead of oil. Fruit should be eaten separately or before a meal to avoid digestion issues and bloating.
How do I control my macronutrient ratio?
We recommend you download the Cronometer app to your phone or use the app's online website. This free food journal allows you to enter all of the food you eat in a day and it will automatically measure out the macronutrient ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as all the vitamins you consume in a day. This is an effective tool in helping you stay accountable for following your plant based lifestyle and will aid you in understanding how to eat.
What can I drink on this diet?
Water should be your primary source of hydration. We recommend to start the day with a liter of water to break the fast after your sleep. You should continue to drink water throughout the day and aim to be peeing clear. Your goal should be to drink a minimum of 2-3 liters of filtered water per day.
You can supplement your diet with cold pressed fruit juices, smoothies and herbal teas. However, these drinks should be considered as snacks rather than meals and should not be combined with solid foods. By drinking a juice or tea along with your meal, you are inhibiting your digestive system from fully focusing on processing your food. This can result in bloating, discomfort and overeating.
What about coffee?
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks like matcha, soda, black teas and chocolate should be limited or avoided altogether. Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic in liquid form, which like alcohol, dehydrates the body and suppresses the appetite. The stimulants in caffeinated products may lead to anxious behavior, insomnia and tiredness. Caffeine, like alcohol, is also know to cause addiction and unhealthy dependency.
How much do I need to exercise to be healthy?
Doctors agree that moderate exercise of 30-45 minutes five times a week is substantial to balance a healthy diet. Be sure to do some cardio in all of your workouts, get your heart rate up and break a sweat. Workouts should be done at a talking pace and not so strenuous that you burn out. We recommend you buy a Fitbit ChargeHR to monitor your calorie burn, heart rate and daily activity level.
I fell of the wagon and indulged in unhealthy foods. What can I do to kickstart the plant based method?
Allow yourself to get hungry. Try fasting for a few hours or doing a juice cleanse. These options will allow you to get hungry enough that you will crave a bowl of oatmeal or a steamed potato. Alternatively, you can check into Dr. McDougall's 10-Day program in Santa Rosa, California or the True North Health Center.
How many calories should I be eating on this diet?
Females should aim to eat a minimum of 2000 calories per day and males should be aiming to consume a minimum of 2500 calories per day. Keep in mind that these numbers are meant for a sedentary lifestyle. If you are exercising, you need to eat more calories to restore your glycogen levels and aid in faster muscle recovery. A good way of measuring how many calories you are burning is using the Fitbit ChargeHR tool.