Many people who adapt a whole foods, plant-based way of eating tend to focus on the things they shouldn’t eat. That’s important, because reducing processed foods or animal products can certainly make a difference in a person’s health. But just as important are the foods that we do eat.
We need to eat a wide variety of plant foods. That doesn’t necessarily mean a different meal every day though. I cook once a week and will then eat the same food all week. But what I cook will have a lot of ingredients in it.
For example, I make Miso soup for lunches. It’s one soup, but it has all of these ingredients: Miso, greens, asparagus, green onions, carrots, garlic and tofu. Plus, I make it in a vegetable broth that is made from a wide variety of vegetables.
I will also eat a plant-based colcannon every night week after week. But that colcannon has in it kale, cabbage, leaks, potatoes, cashews and spices.
So while I eat the same foods every day, I do get a wide variety of food in my selections. I also eat a sweet potato with the Miso soup and a salad with the colcannon. Those additions provide even more nutrients into my diet.
You might wonder what foods I consider important to eat every day. At the top of my list are beans. I make it a point to include beans at both lunch and dinner.
For example, in the above lunch, the tofu comes from soybeans. And at dinner, I usually top my salad with chickpeas. Beans help with cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol and maintaining a healthy weight, to name a few benefits.
I also include at least one serving of fermented food, such as sauerkraut, in my daily diet. It can be mixed in with a salad or it can be eaten as a small portion on the side.
According to Tufts University, fermentation is good for the gut and helps to produce friendly bacteria in our systems.
Greens are very important to eat, and I try to include some in every dish that I make as well as in the salad that I’ll have. My favorite greens are kale, bok choy and mustard greens. The darker the green the healthier it is for us.
Those are just a few of the different types of foods to include in a healthy diet on a daily basis.
Don’t just focus on giving up foods. Focus on the good foods that you can be eating.
J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole foods, plant-based lifestyle.