It seems everywhere you look these days you see more and more information about “plant-based diets,” “vegetarian lifestyle,” and “vegan options.” That’s because there are a number of benefits that come with choosing plant-based options. This new health-conscious phenomenon is sweeping across the nation, from the youngest to the oldest.
As you’re growing into this new lifestyle, this doesn’t mean every meal has to be meatless, even small changes here and there can make a big difference on everything from your personal health to the environment.
That’s why we here at Full Cart are bringing in new options to help support the plant-based movement and make these options more accessible.
But what are plant-based diets? What are the benefits? And what does Full Cart offer to help families live a more healthy and nutritious life?
Plant-based diets (also known as vegan diets) have a few basic principles:
- an emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods
- a limit or complete elimination of animal products
- a focus on plants (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts) making up a majority of one’s diet
It doesn’t take a whole lot of scrolling before you run into a meme about having no energy or trying to balance taking care of yourself with everything else life brings. Incorporating more plant-based options into your diet is one of the biggest steps you can take to improving your personal health, energy levels and even prevent or remedy chronic diseases.
The main difference between a plant-based diet and a vegetarian lifestyle is that a vegetarian avoids consuming meat, but can still eat animal by-products. This includes dairy, honey, gelatin, and eggs among other things.
Those choosing a plant-based diet avoid the consumption of animals and their by-products. This means their diet is composed of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and well, anything that doesn’t come from an animal!
While a more millennial approach to this diet is based on ethical standings on the treatment of animals and the environment, there are substantial health benefits that may lead one to consider a plant-based diet.
Plant-based diets are low in saturated fats and cholesterol while containing high amounts of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber our bodies need to function correctly.
In addition, a strictly plant-based diet has been proven to be better for sustainable weight loss and reducing the risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer. Those who practice plant-based diets have shown in numerous studies to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and gain less weight as they age.
Mental health can also greatly benefit from this diet, not just physical health. Those who switched from a meat-heavy diet to a plant-based one have reported their energy lasting longer between meals, better sleep, and an overall improved mood, according to the American Dietetic Association. A commitment to avoiding animal products can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
These diet changes are also far more sustainable and environmentally conscious than diet choices that include animal products.
Animal agriculture in the United States contributes to 65% of global emissions and up to 40% of methane emissions, according to a 2010 report by the United Nations. These two chemicals, alongside carbon dioxide, are the three principal gasses involved in climate change .
Animal agriculture is more harsh on water and land resources. Huge, forested areas are cleared to make room for roaming plains. On top of that, anywhere from 550 to 5,200 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef! Compare this to almond production, which uses at most 337 gallons of water per one pound of production.
FUN FACT: It takes 43 times less to produce the same weight in cereal grains.
What About the Money?
Plant-based diets don’t have to break the bank. Grains, pasta, potatoes, and beans are all relatively stable in pricing and generally low-cost options at your local grocery store that are easy to buy in bulk!
Fresh produce can also go a long way, which can be especially low cost if you buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season, at your local farmer’s market or from companies working to eliminate food waste in the United States. Companies like Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods deliver fresh produce, that may not look the prettiest, but taste just as good with the same nutritional value right to your door for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at the grocery store!
Summer is a great time to stock up on things like watermelon and strawberries, but not so much in the wintertime. Apples are something that is great year-round!
Produce can be frozen (or bought frozen) and last up to months on end. When done smartly, families on plant-based diets can save up to $230 a year on their grocery bill but cutting out meat and animal products—and Full Cart can help you do it!
Low Cost, High Reward
Full Cart was created on the basic principle of helping families extend their grocery budgets by providing low cost, high-quality meal options because everyone should be able to celebrate the joy of meal time.
While our customers have raved about the variety of options that can be customized to fit their household’s needs, they are often shocked when they realize that many of our options are plant-based!
All of our grain and pasta options (with the exception of the Hamburger Hero, Kidz Mac, and the Farm and Ladle Chicken Noodle Soup) contain no animal products! Some of the custom options even include fresh fruits and vegetables in your box. This allows households in any location to gain access to fresh produce and healthy meal options right at their doorstep.
Even more exciting? Full Cart has now partnered with Loma Linda to provide some great plant-based protein options. All of these items are great on their own but can easily be supplemented with extra bases to increase the serving amounts but still maintaining incredible flavor!
While families can customize their Full Cart groceries to their liking, we believe in having the most accessible and nutritious options available for our customers, so that dietary limitations are not a hindrance to having a good, nutritious meal.
photo credit: Vegan Liftz