Me to my friend: “Hey, shall we go out for burgers or a meat-packed pizza?”
My friend: “No, thanks. I’m following a plant-based diet.”
Me: “Oh... that’s... cool...” (pictures weirdo friend in a rabbit costume eating an assortment of leaves, and makes mental note to Google “plant-based diet”)

Do you find that you also can’t keep up with the latest in the dietary universe? Like anything new in the world of health and wellness, the plant-based diet has caused quite the buzz recently. But as it turns out, it’s not really a new craze after all, as many people have been eating this way for a long time.

What is on the rise though is an awareness of the importance of nourishment and nutrition. This is causing a big shift from the convenience of packaged and processed foods we are so used to, to the cultivation of more organic, unprocessed and nutrient-dense food choices.

Enter the “plant-based diet”.

It’s not rabbit food, guys! And we’ll explain why...

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet consists mainly of whole, plant-based foods with fewer food options that contain meat or animal by-products. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans are the heroes of this diet, and may or may not include oils, meat, eggs or dairy, depending on your preference.

What is the difference between a plant based diet and a vegan diet?

Is there a difference between eating a plant-based diet and being vegan, you ask? Yes!
Here are some of the main differences between the two ways of eating:
Nuts and seeds are essential to effectively following a plant-based diet, as they are some of nature’s richest sources of natural vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Following a plant-based diet will require some planning to make sure that you get enough vitamins and minerals that would otherwise have come from consuming meat or animal products.

Benefits of including nuts and seeds in your plant-based diet:

1. They’re loaded with plant-based protein

With less or no meat on your plate, it’s very tempting (and easy) to make up the difference with carbs. But what you really want to do is amp up your protein. Since you won’t be getting as much protein from your usual lean meats like beef or chicken, plant-based protein becomes your new best friend. That means lots of veggies, with healthy servings of nuts and seeds - they are filling and excellent sources of plant-based protein.

What’s so great about plant-based protein?
Some studies have shown that eating plant-based protein is linked to cancer prevention and improved heart health, and is helpful for weight-loss and managing Type 2 diabetes. What’s more, plant-based protein is a natural source of fibre - very important for gut health and digestion.

2. They’re packed with good fats

Not all fats are bad. You’ll need those good fats, specifically monounsaturated fats, to support a plant-based diet. Nuts and seeds are a fantastic way to get all those good fats and Omega 3’s into your diet. Nut butters, handfuls of seeds and your trusty avocados are good choices.

Don’t overdo it though! Nuts and seeds are dense in calories (up to 9 calories per gram). So while they are super healthy, be sure to enjoy them in controlled portions, by the handful.

What’s so great about good fats?
Monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and support weight loss. Nuts and seeds that are high in Monounsaturated fats include (per 100 grams):
  • Almonds: 33.6 grams
  • Cashews: 27.3 grams
  • Peanuts: 24.7 grams
  • Pistachios: 24.2 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds: 13.1 grams
  • Sunflower seeds: 9.5 grams

Health benefits of nuts and seeds:

  • Vitamin E: immune support and cell regeneration, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, skin health
  • Zinc: immune support, metabolic maintenance, wound healing, support of taste and smell
  • Iron: support for general energy and focus, gastrointestinal support, immune support, body temperature regulation
  • Calcium: bone maintenance, heart, muscle and nerve support
  • Selenium: mental health support, powerful antioxidant properties, immune boosting properties

Nine ways to include nuts and seeds into your plant-based diet:

  • Make your own muesli, granola or trail mix
  • Sprinkle raw or toasted seeds over warm salads
  • Toss nuts into your warm morning oats
  • Blitz seeds or almonds into smoothies
  • Whip up some no-bake seed and nut bars
  • Toss nuts and seeds into your favourite rusk recipe
  • Use nut milk as a base for curries and sauces
  • Make your own nut butters at home
  • Work nuts into your favourite desserts

Top 10 nuts and seeds to add to your shopping list:

  1. Sunflower seeds
  2. Pumpkin seeds
  3. Sesame seeds
  4. Walnuts
  5. Raw almonds
  6. Chia seeds
  7. Flax seeds
  8. Hemp seeds
  9. Quinoa
  10. Nut milk (cashew, almond, cashew)

Learning about plant-based diets may have left you feeling a bit baffled at first, but it’s actually quite a simple way to eat. No junk, no added nonsense. Fresh, whole, unprocessed food, straight from nature to your table.

We hope these tips help empower you as you start your plant-based food journey. As always, you’ll find us at a Montagu store near you, ready to walk you through our wide range.
See you soon!

Go ‘nutty’ for Montagu nuts and seeds!

We just love it when we can find everything we need in one place, don’t you? So convenient! Throw in premium quality products and service with a sprinkle of sunshine… Now that’s the best kind of shopping experience! Find your nearest store or order your nuts and seeds online today!
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