Benefits of eating a plant-based diet

Explaining the benefits of adding more fruits, veggies & herbs to our diet

"I always like to think of our body as the plumbing system in our house. You know overtime if you are putting things in your body or in your drain systems at home you eventually get backed up," said Kelsey Vasileff.

Kelsey Vasileff is a certified holistic health coach and also the owner of Southern Sqweeze in Chattanooga. She explained how people can keep their bodies from "clogging" by using veggies, fruit, and herbs from their own gardens.

"Incorporating more plants into your diet, no matter what kind of diet you have, is almost like pulling the plug on the drain. It really allows your body to release toxins, which allows you to have more energy and to become more vibrant," said Vasileff.

According to research in U.S. Health News, a plant-based diet can decrease the chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruit and vegetables will lower blood pressure, increase your fiber intake, and help contribute to healthy skin and strong eyesight.

"The recommended daily value of fruit is one and a half to two cups. For veggies it's three to four cups. If you add it in throughout the day then it doesn't seem like a chore. It just becomes part of your lifestyle," said Vasileff.

Vasileff explained a few sneaky ways to eat more fruits and vegetables.

"One of my favorite ways to get nutrients into our diet and these plant-based items is through a smoothie or a juice," said Vasileff.

A blueberry super-food smoothie is an excellent option according to Vasileff. People of all ages love it, even picky eaters, and there are only a few ingredients.

"Hemp hearts are fantastic. They are really high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. really great for brain health," said Vasileff.

"Spinach is one of the best things if somebody is anemic or if they need a higher dose of iron in his/her body. It's a great way to get that. Coconut water is great for if you need to replenish or if you just finished working out, it's really high in electrolytes," said Vasileff.

Other nutritious liquid options include almond milk and/or coconut milk. Vasileff also added frozen blueberries and bananas. She said frozen fruit helps give the smoothie a creamy consistency; think of it almost as a healthy ice cream shake.

Since not everyone loves smoothies, Vasileff recommended people add small salads to every meal, avocado to plates adding small salads to every meal, avocado to your plate, and fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley. Two smoothie recipes and one healthy plant-based lunch/dinner recipe are listed below.

Green Fresh Smoothie

1 cup of fresh pineapple

1 cup of Milk

1 cup spinach

1 avocado

2 tbs Sancha Inchi or other protein powder

3 tbs of hemp hearts

Peanut butter and Jelly Smoothie (2 Servings)

2 cups spinach, fresh (can use any type of green)

2 cups almond milk, unsweetened (any alternative milk will do)

2 cups red grapes (may or may not be frozen)

2 frozen bananas

4 tablespoons peanut butter

Buddha Bowl (Makes approx. 4 servings)

Bowl Ingredients:

1 cup. quinoa

sweet potato ( cut into 1/2 inch pieces)

2 Tbs melted coconut oil

2 bunches of swiss chard without the stem

2 cup. pineto beans

Fresh microgreens or sprouts

Sauce ingredients:

2 Tbs miso

2.5 Tbs Tahini

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs fresh ginger

1 Tbs maple syrup

.5 tsp. toasted sesame oil

2-3 Tbs. water


1.Prep quinoa. 2 cups water to 1 cup of quinoa.

2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash/sweet potato on the baking sheet and brush with coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. When it is done, remove from oven and set on counter to cool.

3.While the squash/sweet potato is roasting make the sauce. Blend the miso, tahini, vinegar, ginger, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of water in a small blender. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water one at a time until you have a creamy, thick. Adjust flavors and pour into a glass jar and set aside.

4.Roughly chop the chard then steam it for a few minutes until soft.

5.Warm the beans if they are cold.

6.Arrange a portion of the quinoa, squash, chard, and beans in four cafe bowls. Top with a generous handfuls of microgreens/ sprouts.

7.Serve with the miso tahini sauce and enjoy! All ingredients will keep well in airtight containers in the fridge for several days. The sauce will keep at least 5 days.

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