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Metal Meets Mediterranean: Exploring the Plant-Based Diet Trend

Updated: Jan 7

Veganuary is in full-force, and what's more metal than living a long time, with great functional status, while also saving the planet? I would love to share my evidence-based, yummy approach to cleaning up those arteries and feeling well after a season of indulgence: the plant-based Mediterranean diet.




Below are some recipes I've compiled to highlight the simplicity of weight loss planning with high-protein, plant-based, heart-healthy options.

I always recommend meeting with a Registered Dietician as well when planning any weight loss dietary program, but consider the below a general framework, and please note any food allergies or sensitivities you may have.

If you are my patient, I can help tailor this to your food allergies / sensitivities.

SAMPLE PLANT-BASED MEDITERRANEAN DIET FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Breakfast:
- Avocado Tomato Toast 
  - Spread half a ripe avocado on a slice of whole grain bread. Top with sliced tomato and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. 
  - Calories: 270 kcal
  - Fiber: 9g
  - Protein: 9g
  - Sodium: 180mg
  - Carbohydrates: 29g

Lunch:
- Lentil Salad 
  - Mix together 1 cup of cooked lentils, half a cup of mixed bell peppers, half a medium cucumber (chopped), a quarter cup of diced onion. Dress with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  - Calories: 335 kcal
  - Fiber: 15g
  - Protein: 18g
  - Sodium: 300mg
  - Carbohydrates: 40g

Dinner:
- Stuffed Peppers 
  - Cut off the top of 2 medium bell peppers and remove the seeds. Mix half a cup of cooked quinoa, a quarter cup each of black beans and corn, and a quarter cup of diced tomatoes. Fill the peppers with this mixture and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes. Drizzle with half a cup of marinara sauce before serving.
  - Calories: 400 kcal
  - Fiber: 10g
  - Protein: 15g
  - Sodium: 400mg
  - Carbohydrates: 60g

Snack:
- Almond & Berry Smoothie 
  - Blend together half a cup of unsweetened almond milk, half a cup of mixed berries, and 1 tbsp of almond butter.
  - Calories: 150 kcal
  - Fiber: 5g
  - Protein: 5g
  - Sodium: 100mg
  - Carbohydrates: 20g

Total:
- Calories: 1155 kcal
- Fiber: 39g
- Protein: 47g
- Sodium: 980mg
- Carbohydrates: 149g

Remember, individual needs can vary greatly depending on physical activity level, age, gender, and other factors. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet plan. This meal plan is high in fiber and low in added sugars, which can help manage blood sugar levels, but individual responses to foods can vary. Monitoring blood sugar levels before and after meals can provide valuable information for managing diabetes.

SAMPLE HIGH-PROTEIN PLANT-BASED MEDITERRANEAN DIET FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Breakfast:
- Quinoa Porridge
  - Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of almond milk. Top with 1 tbsp of almond butter and a handful of berries.
  - Calories: 365 kcal
  - Fiber: 7g
  - Protein: 15g
  - Sodium: 200mg
  - Carbohydrates: 55g

Lunch:
- Lentil Salad
  - Mix 1 cup of cooked lentils, half a cucumber (chopped), half a bell pepper (chopped), and a small red onion (chopped). Dress with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  - Calories: 375 kcal
  - Fiber: 15g
  - Protein: 18g
  - Sodium: 300mg
  - Carbohydrates: 45g

Dinner:
- Chickpea Pasta with Tomato Sauce
  - Cook 1 cup of chickpea pasta. Serve with 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast.
  - Calories: 450 kcal
  - Fiber: 15g
  - Protein: 25g
  - Sodium: 400mg
  - Carbohydrates: 60g

Snack:
- Edamame
  - Steam 1 cup of edamame and season with a pinch of salt.
  - Calories: 190 kcal
  - Fiber: 8g
  - Protein: 17g
  - Sodium: 15mg
  - Carbohydrates: 15g

Total:
- Calories: 1380 kcal
- Fiber: 45g
- Protein: 75g
- Sodium: 915mg
- Carbohydrates: 175g

Please remember, individual needs can vary greatly depending on physical activity level, age, gender, and other factors. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet plan. The above is not intended to be medical advice.

Please note: the main risk of plant-based eating is of vitamin / mineral deficiency, so supplementing with a multivitamin and B12 (at least 250 mcg daily) is recommended.

References:
Here is a great article summarizing the literature to date about plant-based eating, from the European Heart Journal (2023): Vegetarian and vegan diets: benefits and drawbacks.



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