Plant-based diets emphasize eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds for their nutritional and environmental benefits. This lifestyle choice has become increasingly popular due to its health benefits.
However, switching to a meat-free diet could leave your body lacking vital nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12. Therefore, it is wise to consult a dietician prior to making such an important change.
1. It’s easier than ever to go meat-free
As Singapore’s plant-based diet movement gains momentum, more restaurants and food outlets offer vegetarian, vegan and meatless options. Or you can prepare the meal yourself using available products and recipes.
By selecting healthy plant-based foods, eating more plants can be easier than you think. There are delicious meals full of beans, grains, vegetables and fruits packed with fibre – not to mention that plant-based diets typically cost less than their meat counterparts!
Communication of your dietary preferences when dining out is also key, and will allow your server to ensure you have enough options and are adequately nourished. For example, those eating predominantly plant-based diets may lack iron, vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids found in animal products – supplementation may be needed in these instances. Lastly, don’t be intimidated to try new flavors and experiment with foods.
2. It’s good for the environment
As environmental sustainability concerns have grown, many Singaporeans are switching over to vegetarian-based meals and opting for restaurants like Love Handle that specialize in vegan-friendly takeaways.
Meat-free options have never been more accessible as supermarkets and hawker centers provide cheaper vegetable prices and offer more vegetarian fare. Registered dietitian Ujjwala Baxi reports seeing more parents seeking advice about planning their children’s diets.
As more people recognize the positive influence that adopting a plant-based diet has on both their environment and health, this trend will likely accelerate further. Not only would adopting such a diet reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it would also free up resources such as water and land for wildlife while relieving pressure off global food supply chains; pork accounts for one-third of global emissions while wheat and rice comprise over 50% of agricultural land globally.
3. It’s good for your health
Plant-based diets tend to be rich in fibre, healthy fats, protein and vitamins; this can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
However, for optimal health a plant-based diet must include balanced sources of proteins, calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts & seeds, fruits & fresh vegetable juices are recommended as main food items in this lifestyle; deep-fried foods processed oils & sugary beverages must also be avoided as key components.
Due to Singapore’s increasing interest in veganism and plant-based eating, more restaurants are providing vegetarian and vegan options on their menus, making transitioning easier than ever. There are numerous resources and interest groups online as well as in person to guide your journey, helping ease transition. You may even gradually incorporate more plant-based dishes into your diet for an easier transition process.
4. It’s good for the animals
Plant-based diets can be an effective and healthy choice for both humans and their animal companions, providing fiber, healthy fats, protein and essential vitamins and minerals – as well as potentially helping lower cholesterol, blood pressure and prevent heart disease and diabetes.
Singapore has seen an increasing number of restaurants cater to the plant-based diet trend, offering dishes without meat such as vegan burgers, rice bowls and broccolini tempura. When dining out be sure to inform the server of any specific dietary requests; most will accommodate you easily and many offer whole meal pasta so as to increase fiber intake.
Apart from their personal advantages, plant-based foods can play an essential role in Singapore’s sustainable food production system. By helping to prevent global climate change from worsening further and provide for an assured food future. Unfortunately, eliminating all animal products could result in inadequate nutrition; any reduction should be balanced out with the consumption of other nutritious food and beverages such as low-fat dairy and unsaturated oils.