What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
Eating a plant-based diet means you’re choosing as many healthy, whole, unprocessed foods as possible. It means you’re avoiding meat altogether and consuming other animal-based products in moderation.
There are different types of plant-based eaters. And they often vary in some of the foods they allow and avoid in their diet. Here are some of the differences:
Vegans: They eat absolutely no food with ingredients made from animal products. That means no meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or honey.
Vegetarians: They allow eggs, milk, and dairy products in moderation, but they don’t eat fish or meat.
Pescatarians: They allow milk, dairy products, eggs, fish, and seafood but, otherwise, no meat.
Flexitarians: While they focus mostly on plant-based foods, they do allow animal products like fish, meat, eggs, milk, and dairy in moderation.
Regardless of the type of plant-based diet you follow, eating more plants and whole grains is important for lots of reasons. It’s great for your health—you can lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, decrease your risk of getting some types of cancers, and minimize the chance of developing various chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes.
You can also do your part to protect the environment. By eating mostly plants, you can cut down your contribution to greenhouse gases, protect the oceans, save the rainforests, and protect our soil.
While there are some differences among the approved ingredients in the various plant-based diets, they all mostly focus on the following foods:
Fruits: bananas, apples, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, etc.
Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, etc.
Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
Nuts: pecans, cashews, walnuts, etc.
Seeds: chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc.
Whole grains: quinoa, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.
Filling your plate with healthy, whole, organic foods means you’re supplying your body with all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to live and thrive.
Different Types of Bread to Eat on a Plant-Based Diet
There are many different types of bread in your local bakery or grocery store—white bread, whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel, Ezekiel, 7-grain, whole grain, keto-friendly, and the list just goes on and on. It’s probably no surprise that some breads are healthier than others.
If you have kids, they can probably spot the healthy loaves a mile away. And if they’re like my kids, they’ll run in the opposite direction. My kids refuse to eat bread with seeds…no matter how many times I try. And I try a lot because, unfortunately, I’m just as stubborn as they are.
Thankfully, there are other healthy breads that they will happily consume. But don’t be fooled into thinking that all brown, whole wheat breads are healthy.
When searching for a healthy bread, look for ones that are made with whole grain, not just whole wheat. Whole grain breads maintain the nutritional benefits that get minimized in breads with refined grains.
Sure, white bread might look and taste familiar, even nostalgic. But the vitamins and minerals are seriously lacking.
Let’s dive into some of the best breads for sticking to a healthy, plant-based diet.
You’ll find lots of multigrain breads on the supermarket shelves. If you’re looking to try your hand at making your own, here’s what you’ll need.
This tasty whole grain recipe calls for bread flour, white whole wheat flour, multigrain blend, salt, instant yeast, vegan butter, maple syrup, and water.
Some recipes vary on the types of whole grains, oil, sweeteners, etc. but this recipe is a great one to start with, especially if you’re following a vegan diet.
We know whole grains are full of important nutrients for a balanced diet. They’re also great for your overall health. They can reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic illnesses, and obesity.
If you want to lose weight, switch out your usual, white bread for a multigrain or whole grain alternative.
Sprouted Grain Bread
Okay, move over whole grain bread. Sprouted grain breads are taking over the spotlight.
Like multigrain breads and whole grain breads, sprouted grain breads are packed with health benefits.
This healthy, plant-based bread can be a great option if you have a mild sensitivity to gluten. It’s not gluten-free, but sprouted whole grain bread is a healthier bread option because the sprouted grains maintain more nutritional benefits than other breads.
I’m not going to lie…sprouted grain breads are a little more time-consuming than some other breads. But like most things in life, good things take time.
For this recipe, you’ll need a sourdough starter, water, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and sprouted wheat berries.
If baking isn’t your thing, you can always check out your local bakery or grocery store for some sprouted grain breads. Ezekiel 4:9 bread is one of the most easy-to-find kinds of sprouted grain, vegan bread.
One of the most popular breads to rise up (pun intended) during the 2020 quarantine was sourdough. Maybe everyone was up for a new challenge. Or maybe they wanted to show off their home-making skills. Who knows?
Either way, sourdough is a fun recipe to conquer and share with friends. And it’s great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sourdough bread is made without store-bought yeast. Instead, it’s made with a combo of fermented flour and water that contains wild yeast and good bacteria. This “starter” is what gives sourdough its unique flavor.
In addition to the starter, you’ll just need flour, water, and salt. There might not be many ingredients, but don’t assume it’s an easy recipe to make. It might take a few tries to make the perfect loaf. Keep going. You’ll get it!
Because sourdough does not contain any animal-derived ingredients, it fits perfectly into any of the plant-based diets. It’s a great vegan bread to make at home.
Sourdough’s nutritional benefits vary depending on the type of flour used in the recipe. Whole grain breads tend to have more nutrients than ones made with refined grains.
Even though sourdough is made with many of the same ingredients as other breads, the fermentation process has additional benefits. It is a great source of minerals, including potassium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc, which are important for a healthy diet.
Keep in mind that store-bought sourdough breads, like other types of breads, do not always have the same nutritional benefits as if they were made in your kitchen. Commercial processing often cuts corners, which strips the foods of their nutritional benefits.
There are lots of recipes out there for homemade sourdough. Here’s one to get you started.
Okay, let’s talk about flaxseed. If you’re sticking to a plant-based diet that doesn’t include fish, it can be tricky to get enough Omega-3 fats in your diet.
Fortunately, flaxseed is an excellent source of Omega-3 fats, which play an important part in blood pressure and heart health.
Protein-packed flaxseeds are also full of fiber, which is great for your digestive system. Not only will it help you lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight), but it will also help you stay regular…if ya know what I mean.
This vegan and gluten-free recipe is great for all plant-based diets. In addition to flaxseeds, you’ll need gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, water, and apple cider vinegar.
Flaxseed bread is perfect for your morning toast.
You might not be as familiar with buckwheat flour as you are with other types. But it’s great for improving heart health, promoting weight loss, and helping you manage diabetes. It’s full of protein, fiber, and healthy, complex carbs. You’ll often find it in noodles, flours, and breakfast foods.
One of the perks of buckwheat flour is that it can be a great choice if you’re avoiding gluten. Despite the name, buckwheat does not contain wheat.
Although, you should always double-check the label if you pick up a loaf of buckwheat bread. Sometimes other flours that contain gluten are added into the dough before baking.
Try this recipe for pillowy-soft buckwheat bread. It’s great for a sandwich or your favorite avocado toast.
To make this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients: gluten free all-purpose flour, xanthan gum, buckwheat flour, psyllium husk powder, instant yeast, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, water, and eggs.
Take note that because it contains eggs, this recipe is not part of a vegan diet. It does, however, fit into other plant-based diets.
Other Non-Wheat Flours
Whether you’re on a gluten-free diet or you’re interested in some non-wheat alternatives to your favorite recipes, I’ve gotcha covered. Many non-wheat flours can add a little extra nutritional boost to standard baked goods. Here are some options:
Rice Flour: It’s high in fiber, which is good for improving blood sugar level, digestion, and cholesterol levels.
Almond Flour: It’s a common substitute for wheat flour, especially in baked goods. It contains lots of minerals, like iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Quinoa Flour: Not only is it high in protein and fiber, but it’s also full of antioxidants that promote overall health.
Potato Flour: It’s a common ingredient in gluten-free bread, and it’s a great source of vitamin B6 and potassium.
Want some meal-planning inspiration for your new, favorite whole grain breads? Check out these plant-based recipes:
- Neat French Toast It’s warm, delicious and a great way to start the day.
- Perfect Avocado Toast with Kaffree Roma Vinaigrette It’s time for brunch! Your guests will be ooh-ing and aah-ing over your avocado toast.
- Neat Vegan Pancakes Do pancakes count as “bread”? Uh, yes. Yes, they do. These vegan pancakes are packed with protein that will keep you full till lunchtime.
- Neat Italian Stromboli This easy-to-make, vegan-friendly recipe uses Neat egg instead of traditional eggs.
- Pita Bread with the Neat Egg Homemade pitas are perfect for hummus or your favorite, fresh dips.
- Loma Linda Hearty Stew in Homemade Bread Bowls Make your own cafe-style bread bowl to go with this hearty stew.
- Loma Linda Classic Tuno Salad Sandwich Craving a tuna sandwich while sticking to your plant-based diet? This Tuno salad is the solution. Pile it on your favorite bread or toast, and enjoy your lunch break.
- Loma Linda Tiny Tuno Melts Why are foods always cuter when they’re itty bitty? These tiny Tuno melts will have you swooning at lunchtime.
- Loma Linda Vegetarian Philly Cheese Stake Sandwich Step into the City of Brotherly Love with these faux-Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
- Pepperoneat Pizza Bagels Grab some vegan bagels for this snackable meal.
- Loma Linda Pesto Chikn Stuffed Pretzel Rolls This tasty sandwich has pretzel rolls as its base for a fun alternative to a standard sandwich.
- Loma Linda Chorizo and Roasted Mushroom Herb Stuffing If you have some leftover sourdough bread, save it for this delicious, seasonal stuffing.
Disclaimer: As always, before you make changes to your diet, be sure to get professional, medical advice about your specific needs. This article should not be used as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.