“Plant-based” has gone from being a buzzword to being a lifestyle for thousands of people all over the world. Today, we’re dissecting the term and what it means for those with sensitive stomachs. Spoiler alert: yes, plant-based gut health is a thing, and here’s why it’s a great idea!
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
Many people immediately think of veganism or vegetarianism when they encounter the term “plant-based diet”. We’re here to tell you that this isn’t the case. Following a plant-based diet isn’t a matter of overhauling your entire lifestyle or even giving up meat or animal products, if that’s your choice. Rather, it means making plants the foundation of your diet to help improve your overall health and wellness.
What Do Plants Mean for Gut Health?
Say it with us: plant-based eating doesn’t just mean salads. Here at Fody we definitely love our leafy greens and grain bowls, but eating a diet rich in plants means consuming a wide variety of plants in a wide variety of ways.
What plants to start consuming, however, can be a mystery that leaves us scratching our heads. According to NPR, “only 10 percent [of most Americans’ vegetable consumption] comes from dark green and orange veggies like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes”, with most of it coming from processed forms of white potato and tomato.
What Are Plants? (No, We’re Serious!)
If your typical veggie consumption comes from sliced cucumbers, carrots, and the occasional boiled potato or iceberg salad, first off: good for you, that’s a great start! The great news is that there is a kaleidoscope of plants and plant varieties out there to explore, and adding a greater variety of them into your diet may increase the diversity of your gut microbiome. So the question is, what exactly do we mean when we say “plant”?
Your potted fern is a plant, and so is the lettuce in your fridge. But that jar of peanut butter also came from plants, and so did your bottle of extra-virgin olive oil. The variety of edible plants in existence is mind-bogglingly wide, and includes grains, legumes, seeds, beans, and products derived from them such as oils, spreads (hummus, anyone?), nut and oat milks, and fermented foods such as tempeh and tofu. Once you start seeing it this way, plant-based meals are easy to make a staple in your meal rotation, whether it’s Meatless Mondays or round-the-clock plant-based eating.
Fiber and Plant-Based Gut Health
As anyone who’s eaten too much raw broccoli knows, vegetables can cause uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating. Getting enough fiber can be a challenge for those who want to eat a plant-based low-FODMAP diet; however, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
There are lots of plant-based foods that can help you safely add more fiber to your diet. It’s worth consulting the Monash Food Map to help you determine which fruits and vegetables are low-FODMAP, and in what proportions. Beyond helping to diversify your gut microbiome and even regulate the body’s glucose levels, fiber can help keep your gut healthy by…ahem…passing through it, and keeping you regular.
Check out Fody’s guide to high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods to find out more about safely getting more fiber while following a gut-friendly plant-based diet.
Flavour and Plant-Based Gut Health!
Finally, the fun part; how to make your plant-based diet delicious. Eating a nutritious and gut-friendly plant-based diet can be fun, and it can also be easy thanks to Fody’s wide variety of low-FODMAP sauces, marinades and seasonings!
Planning delicious plant-based meals is a lot easier if you know from the start that they’re going to be delicious! Whether you’re in uncharted territory or you’re experimenting with an old favourite, Fody is there with plant-based sauces to tie it all together while letting you enjoy a gut-friendly meal. Delicious without onion or garlic, these condiments and marinades let you try endless flavour combinations, so you can keep enjoying the foods you love.