We’ve all heard it: You are what you eat. For some of us, including me, that is not a good thing. But what should we eat? Plant-based diet? Keto diet? Paleo diet? Maybe one of the consumer-facing plans — Atkins, Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig?

Everybody has the answer — and yes, it is confusing. But understand this: What works for your neighbor may not be the best diet for you.

I’m a meat-and-potatoes guy. I like bread. I love fruits and veggies, too. I’m probably a lot like you. And we know that we could (should?) eat better than we do.

A 2018 study published in American Family Physician noted, “Recommending an eating style can help patients make positive change. Dietary patterns that support health … have benefits that include prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and obesity.” [1]

However, nutrition is minimally addressed in healthcare. Yet, healthcare is paramount when fighting cancer.

Nearly half (49 percent) of global respondents — 30,000 online responses in 60 countries — in Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight, and a similar percentage (50 percent) is actively trying to lose weight. And they’re doing so by making more healthy food choices.

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of North American respondents following a low-carb, high-fat diet (23 percent) increased 10 percentage points. While the low-carb movement appears to be gaining momentum in North America, we still trail Asia-Pacific, where 34 percent of respondents — the highest of any region — say they follow a low-carb, high-fat diet to lose weight. [2]

Eating smaller portions to lose weight is most popular in North America (49 percent). The percentage of respondents who are eating fewer processed foods also is highest in North America (46 percent).

Foods with all natural ingredients and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are each considered very important to 43 percent of global respondents — the highest percentages of the 27 attributes included in the study. Also, about 4 in 10 say the absence of artificial colors (42 percent) and flavors (41 percent) and foods made from vegetables/fruits (40 percent) are very important.

Also, consumers are looking for functional foods that provide benefits that can either reduce their risk of disease and/or promote good health. Thirty-six percent of global respondents rate foods that are high in fiber as very important, and about 3 in 10 seek foods that are high in protein (32 percent), have whole grain (30 percent) or are fortified with calcium (30 percent), vitamins (30 percent) or minerals (29 percent) to fulfill their nutritional needs.

If you are looking to emphasize fresh, whole ingredients and minimize processed foods for overall wellness, a plant-based diet does precisely that.

The basic principles of a plant-based diet (PBD) are that it focuses on whole, minimally processed foods — whole grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts should make up the majority of what you eat — and limits animal products. A PBD also excludes refined foods, like added sugars, white flour, and processed oils.

A plant-based diet is rooted in food quality, promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.

The VIDA Protocol

A plant-based diet and cancer

Obviously, a healthy diet and lifestyle help in the fight against cancer — whether treating it or in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

  • The Vegetarian Diets and the Incidence of Cancer in a Low-risk Population study revealed that vegetarian diets were associated with a significantly lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer. [3]
  • The Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Colorectal Cancers study found that people who followed vegetarian diets had a 22 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than non-vegetarians. [4]
  • The same study also notes that pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish) had the greatest protection from colorectal cancer — a 43 percent reduced risk compared to non-vegetarians. [5]

In addition to lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, a plant-based diet also may reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, as well as aid in slowing cognitive decline.

Emotional benefits of going vegan

Many people talk about the physical benefits of going vegan, as well as environmental benefits. These are important to consider, but don’t forget about your own mental health.

Emotional and mental benefits are not often talked about, but just might be what helps you to stick with this way of eating and stay motivated to see it through long-term.

Reduce stress about dieting

Do you know what happens when you switch to a new way of eating and no longer have to yo-yo diet? You lose a lot of that diet stress. By committing to a plant-based diet, you will soon discover that you can naturally maintain your weight just by sticking to a whole, plant-based diet. No more counting calories or carbs, or going on an extremely restricting diet. As long as everything you eat is fresh, plant-based food, you don’t have to worry too much about what you are eating. Of course, there are always exceptions, but more often than not, all that crazy diet stress goes right out the window.

Studies have shown a reduction in anxiety

There have been studies that look at the mental health of people on a prolonged vegan or plant-based diets and found something fantastic – it really helps with your anxiety, mood swings, and stress levels. This can be from any number of things, from no longer eating hormones that were in the meat you were eating, to mood stabilization from reducing dairy and having many more vitamins and minerals thanks to all the veggies and whole grains. You probably eat far less packaged, frozen, and processed food now as well, which can definitely help with your mood and reduced mental health issues.

You feel healthier all around

Don’t rule out the benefit of just feeling better and healthier all around. Being on a plant-based diet can help with a lot of your gut issues, especially if you had an allergy to meat or shellfish, or to dairy, which is very common. You won’t be as bloated anymore not having all that milk in your body. Many people also notice their mental health and confidence improve because they know all the benefits of being on a vegan diet. You understand the health benefits for yourself and the environment, and your morals are no longer in question every time you eat an animal-based product. This can do wonders for your own mental health and wellness.

How to start your plant-based diet

Any time you switch to a new way of eating, it can be a significant process. However, when you make a big switch like going entirely plant-based and vegan, it often feels very intimidating.

Simplify the process. Some of the first things to do when transitioning to more of a plant-based way of eating:

Know why you are going vegan

You should always start a plant-based or vegan diet by understanding your own motives. There is no wrong way to choose this way of eating but think about the main benefits and your own personal motivation. Even though you know it is excellent for the environment, this might not be your personal reason — and that’s OK. But to stay motivated, you have to find your reason for going plant-based, whether it is for physical health, better skin, longevity, or moral reasons.

Vegetables should be the star

Before you transition fully to a plant-based diet, start adding more plant-based foods in. Do this slowly instead of going straight to a vegan diet. Don’t take anything away just yet, but just add in more vegetables to each meal. If you’re making mac and cheese for lunch, make it with loads of broccoli. If you love spaghetti, put more veggies in your sauce. Love eggs? Make a scramble with onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Make vegetables the star of every meal, gradually having more vegetables and fewer meat products every day.

Transition slowly with plant-based foods you enjoy now

When you begin transitioning to a plant-based diet, first make a list of vegan foods you eat now that you enjoy a lot. These will be the first foods you come to rely on, though you will also add more nuts and seeds, grains, legumes, beans, and vegetables, to ensure you are getting adequate nutrition. Maybe you love spaghetti squash soup, or your favorite salad dressing is oil and vinegar. This is great news because these are plant-based foods! Start here before venturing out and trying new things.

Learn about nutrients you need

Finally, make sure you are aware of the nutrients you need to focus on with your vegan meals. When you eat an animal-based diet, you get a lot of your iron, calcium, and protein from meat and dairy, but this is different when you are consuming all plant-based foods. You can still get the nutrients you need, but you need to be even more careful with having a balanced diet. This includes understanding what foods contain all the vitamins and minerals you need, like adding a combination of vegetables and fruits with whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, and other ingredients.

How to eat whole and clean plant-based foods

As you embark on your healthy journey and decide to follow a plant-based diet, don’t try to stick to the same processed and packaged foods. It is so much better for your health if you can eat clean, whole foods, and they are better for the environment as well.

Here are some tips for eating a whole, plant-based diet:

Beans, lentils, and grains

If you want to go more whole and clean plant-based with your vegan diet, start by purchasing these food items in the bag. This means no more boxes of rice that you throw in the microwave. Instead, you will buy big bags of rice in bulk, rinse and soak them, and cook them over the stove or in your rice cooker. The same can be said for all sources of grains, beans, lentils, and oats. This will save you money, and while it takes a little longer, they are easy to prep in bulk for meals.

Avoid packaged and processed foods

Another way to ensure you are eating as clean and whole as possible is by avoiding anything that is processed. What this means is avoiding most of the canned, boxed, and bagged foods. There are some exceptions like buying rice or grains in bags, but for the most part, try to stay away from stuff that comes in a can. Make as much as you can from scratch with fresh ingredients, and you will be on the right track.

Get fresh or frozen produce

Produce makes up a large amount of plant-based food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to get it as fresh as you can if you want to follow a clean, vegan lifestyle. If you’re going to save some money, check out local farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture (CSAs), as this provides local produce that is often much cheaper than traditional supermarkets. If you can’t get all fresh produce, the next best thing is to get it frozen. Just avoid anything that is in a can or jar, as this often includes added sugar and preservatives, and might not be considered clean.

Cook everything at home

While you can find healthy, vegan options when you go out to certain restaurants, there is really no telling what they put into their food and how fresh their ingredients are. If you can’t be certain it is clean, you are better off cooking as much as you can at home. This will also save you money and ensure all ingredients are entirely plant-based.

How to get calcium in your diet without dairy

When you can’t have dairy, whether because of a dairy allergy or you have gone entirely plant-based, you will need to find alternative sources for many nutrients. This includes calcium, which you might have gotten primarily from milk and cheese before.

Luckily, there are plenty of great dairy-free sources of calcium:

Dairy-free milk

The first way to get more calcium without dairy is to drink milk! Instead of drinking milk from animals like cows or goats, you are going to look at dairy-free alternatives. The simplest way is to choose nut milk like almond milk or go with rice or soy milk. These options provide about 30 to 50 percent of your daily requirement for calcium in just 8 ounces ñ which is really easy to fit into your day.

Beans and legumes

Since you will be eating a healthy amount of beans and legumes to stay full throughout the day while on a plant-based diet, they are great to use as a calcium source. For example, navy beans provide about 65 mg of calcium in one serving, while pinto beans have about 50 mg of calcium. You can also get a healthy amount of calcium with tofu, which has between 80 and 150 mg, depending on the type of tofu you get.

Fruits and vegetables

Plenty of fruits and vegetables contain calcium and are really easy to add to your different meals and snacks. For example, oranges not only give you Vitamin C, but 1 cup of oranges has 70 mg of calcium. For vegetables, enjoy turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, edamame, kale, and bok choy. Looking for something sweet? Dried figs have 120 mg of calcium in about 1 cup. Figs are great because they are sweet like fruit, but they don’t spoil as quickly. You can bring a container of them on road trips, to work or school, or keep at home for when you want a quick, sweet snack that will also give you a nice healthy boost of calcium.

As you can see, it is simple to add in more calcium to your diet, without ever having to worry about not including milk. From using almond and soy milk in your cereal or coffee to enjoying vegetables like bok choy and greens, you are going to get the nutrients you need with a well-balanced, vegan diet.

The top five plant-based foods with iron

Whether you have been a vegan for a while or are just starting, you might notice that your typical diet doesn’t have as much iron.

In addition to an iron supplement, there also are some great plant-based foods with high iron content:

Nuts and seeds

Start with your nuts and seeds, which are so easy to add to meals and snacks. You can just munch on your favorite nuts, like cashews or walnuts to get more iron or have iron-rich seeds on salads and in Buddha bowls, like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Another nut with iron? Pistachios. These are always a fan favorite.

Vegetables

Your diet will consist of plenty of vegetables, but when you want iron, you should be sure you pick the right balance. For more iron in your diet, vegetables like collard greens, swiss chard, and tomato are going to be great for you.

Grains

The next category of foods with iron is grains. You will eat many grains while on a plant-based diet. These are going to bulk up your meals and help you feel full — even by changing to a vegan lifestyle. Some great grains that are delicious and iron-rich are oats, brown rice, quinoa, and fortified cereals.

Legumes

If you have been plant-based for a while, you probably already eat a large number of legumes, whether as a side dish to the main course, in a rice bowl, or a Buddha bowl. Legumes with iron are soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, and lentils. Make up a bowl of chili with legumes, have some tofu as your main course, or have a probiotic-rich meal with tempeh.

Tofu

We already talked about tofu, but this really does deserve its own category. It is effortless to cook, picks up any seasoning or flavor it is cooked with and goes with just about everything. It is the perfect meatless option for main courses and side dishes, plus it has iron and other nutrients.

Don’t forget Vitamin C

Iron is a tricky supplement because you often need a booster to enhance how much your body is able to absorb. For this reason, it is a great idea to incorporate Vitamin C foods (or a supplement) into your regular routine to be sure you absorb as much iron as possible. Some great sources of Vitamin C include pineapple, citrus fruit, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and broccoli.

High-protein vegan food ideas

If you are on a vegan diet or just thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet, one of the nutrients you need to focus on is your protein. Many people on standard diets will get most of their protein from meat and dairy, but that doesn’t mean they are your only options.

A lot of healthy, vegan food has all the protein you need each day:

Lentils

First up, you have your lentils. Lentils, beans, and legumes are popular options on a plant-based diet since they provide a lot of nutrients you might be missing from your new vegan diet. Lentils are a fantastic source of protein, with about 8.84 grams of protein for just 1 cup. If you have a cup or more or combine them in a bowl with other protein-rich foods, you have yourself a protein-dense meal. As an added benefit, lentils will also provide you with iron, fiber, and potassium.

Chickpeas

A similar protein source is chickpeas. In fact, it is not uncommon to have a bowl or dish with chickpeas and lentils, along with other beans and legumes, and lots of healthy vegetables, and maybe even some nuts and seeds as well. With chickpeas, 1 cup provides you a little more than 7 grams of protein. The great thing about chickpeas is that you can eat them cold or cooked in something, in a salad, and of course by making your own hummus.

Almonds

If you are a fan of nuts and seeds, add in some almonds to your meals and snacks! You can have a handful of almonds as a snack, top slivered almonds to your soup or salads, or made your own almond butter to dip other fruits and vegetables in. While many nuts contain protein, almonds are one of your best options. You will get over 16 grams of protein in just Ω cup of almonds, not to mention all the other nutrients these give you.

Tofu

When you are on a plant-based diet, sometimes you want the main course that resembles a look or flavor to meat, without actually having meat. This is where tofu comes in. It can be intimidating at first, but it is loaded with protein and other vitamins and minerals and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. You are going to get about 10 grams of protein for each 1 cup of tofu you have.

Inexpensive plant-based meals and snacks

Are you interested in developing a more plant-based diet, but are concerned about the costs? If so, we are here to help. You don’t need to spend twice as much on groceries just because you are following a vegan lifestyle.

Here are some meal and snack ideas that will allow you to stick to your food budget:

Get out your slow cooker

If you have a slow cooker, it is going to become your new best friend. Not only will it allow you to make large meals with food items you purchase in bulk, but it helps to save you time on preparing food as well. If you tend to dip into your food budget for last-minute trips to vegan-friendly restaurants, you definitely will save money by prepping meals beforehand. With a slow cooker, you can easily make big batches of vegetable soup with whatever veggies are in season, or by making big pots of beans, rice, or vegan chili.

It doesn’t get cheaper than pasta

This is such a cheap and straightforward way to have a meal at home. Buy bags of vegan pasta in bulk as well as some jars of tomato sauce. You can use the sauce right from the jar if you’re in a hurry, or add stuff to it, like seasoning and more vegetables to bulk up your meal. Pasta and sauce usually are on the lower side of your budget, or you can make your own sauce to save even more when tomatoes are on sale.

Inexpensive breakfast ideas

If you aren’t sure what to have for breakfast while on a budget, you’re in luck! There are actually a lot of really cheap ideas available. The first is a child favorite — cereal with nut milk. If you buy the big bags of vegan cereal when on sale, it can last a while (mainly when you stick to just one serving for breakfast).

If that isn’t what you are interested in, try overnight oats. A big container of oats doesn’t cost much considering how much you get. You make overnight oats the night before so that it is a convenient grab-and-go breakfast each morning. There are many ways to prepare them, from adding cinnamon and sugar, to fruit like bananas and strawberries. Also, increase the protein by adding some peanut butter.

Easy tips for traveling while on a plant-based diet

One of the lifestyle changes you will need to make when you switch to a plant-based diet is related to traveling. You cannot just eat whatever the airplane provides or stop by any restaurant or cafe.

While many places offer vegan options, generally they are still limited. Here are some tips for traveling while on a plant-based diet:

Do your research first

Before you start traveling, do as much research as you can. You are looking at all the cities you will visit, as well as what your airplane is going to serve, if there is food at your hotel (and
what kind), and what restaurants are around. Don’t just look at restaurants near your hotel, since you are probably going to explore the city. Look around town, near tourist spots you want to visit and make sure you look up their menus for vegan options. If you are going on a road trip, look at any stops along the way that have plant-based options.

Bring your own snacks

When all else fails, having some vegan snacks with you will help with any situations that might arise. Plus, these are great to have with you on road trips when you’re not sure where all the convenience stores are. Some snacks that travel well include fruit like bananas, apples, and pears. You can bring bags of your own homemade trail mix, granola, or some vegan protein bars. Packets of nuts and seeds are another excellent option.

Tell your host about your diet

If you are staying with family or friends, let them know ahead of time that you are on a plant-based or vegan diet. They don’t need to change all their meals just for you, but it does help them when meal planning to at least have a few meatless options that you will enjoy.

Find out what the plane is serving

This is absolutely essential if you are going on a long trip on an airplane. If the flight is just a few hours, you could always find something to eat at the airport or a restaurant near there. However, longer trips require you to eat onboard, so unless you can bring enough food with you, you will need to choose from onboard menu items. When selecting your airline, look to see which have the best food options, and always be prepared with snacks just in case the vegan options sell out.

Easy meal ideas for the new vegan

Are you brand new to a plant-based, vegan lifestyle? If so, you might be overwhelmed not with the food choices themselves, but with all the cooking and preparing that is required. It is definitely a difference when you can’t just grab anything you want from the local grocery store or convenience store, but that doesn’t mean you are spending hours a day cooking. Take a look at these simple, low-effort meal ideas for plant-based diets.

Rice bowl

The simplest meal you can make when you are on a plant-based diet is a rice bowl. This is aside from a salad of course. But when you want a warm meal, you really can’t go wrong with a bed of rice or grains topped with your favorite veggies, nuts, and seeds. There are many ways to go about this. You can make it really simple with brown rice, topped with roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, carrots, and your favorite vegan sauce.

Another option is to do a mix of rice and quinoa for even more fiber and protein, with any of your leftover mixed veggies and some black beans. Get creative and throw all your favorite foods together.

Baked potatoes

When you go vegan, baked potatoes take on a whole new meaning. No longer are they the side dish to an animal protein source, but the main course! This makes it a lot of fun since there are so many ways to top a baked potato. If you miss your old baked potato with cheese and bacon bits, look for the vegan versions of them! Otherwise, you can just top it with anything and everything, like hummus and veggies, beans and lentils, even fried tofu! This is another easy meal that pretty much only uses up all your leftovers.

Chili

Chili might seem like a hassle, but when you use your slow cooker, it is incredibly easy to do. Vegan chili is really just about adding all the ingredients and turning on your slow cooker. When you aren’t browning meat beforehand, this is made even easier. The only real prep work you have is measuring out spices and chopping any veggies you intend to add. You can throw in your choice of beans, vegetables, onions, garlic, and any of your favorite chili spices. Turn on the slow cooker and let it cook for as long as you want.

More options

There are plenty of other vegan meal options that won’t take a lot of time and effort. This might include putting together a vegetarian sandwich or wrap with hummus and your choice of veggies or using a bag of frozen vegetables with your favorite vegan jarred sauce and microwave rice.

Tips for raising plant-based kids

It is one thing to follow a plant-based diet on your own, but when you want your kids also to be plant-based, it might take a different method. This is especially true if they have been eating meat and dairy previously, but you want to transition them more into vegan options. Here are some easy tips for raising plant-based kids.

Feed them plant-based foods they love

Don’t try to switch your kids to anything but plant-based foods just yet and don’t introduce new foods right away. Start by giving them more of the vegan foods they already eat that they love. This might be a selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, vegetarian chili with loads of beans and veggies, or pasta with a tomato sauce that doesn’t contain any meat in it. You can start gradually adding more of the plant-based foods they love, with some new ones you want them to try.

Using fruit to sweeten up meals

Kids love sweet foods, so fruit is the best thing when switching them to a plant-based diet. Instead of candy which is not only loaded with sugar but often animal products like gelatin and dairy, you can instead give them their sweet cravings with healthy, fresh fruit. It contains all natural sugar and is a great way to show them how yummy a vegan diet can be.

Focus on proper nutrients

It is essential that you make sure your kids are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to grow big and strong. When switching to a plant-based diet, this just means a proper balance of nutrients with each meal. Focus on adding fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and beans and legumes. This combination ensures their meals and snacks have all the calcium, vitamins, electrolytes, iron, protein, and zinc your kids need in their growing bodies.

Make it fun for them

You can take their new vegan foods and make them a lot of fun to eat. Whether you cut their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into fun shapes, or you add vegan cheese sauce to their pasta or veggies at dinnertime, you can make it to where they don’t even miss the meat and dairy and eggs from their favorite meals. It is really much simpler than you think to make plant-based foods your kids will not only eat but will actually have fun with.

Plant-based probiotics

What are probiotics? Why are they so important? Probiotics supplement the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. It’s essential to take in an adequate amount of these good bacteria each day. They help improve your digestive, immune, and mental health.

If you’re experiencing any kind of digestive discomfort, mood swings, illnesses, or weight gain, you may be able to attribute these issues to a lack of probiotics in your diet.

You can get your probiotics either through supplements or with the food you eat. While on a plant-based diet you can choose either option or both for added benefits.

Natural food sources of plant-based probiotics

The first way you can get more probiotics into your body to balance your gutí bacteria is through the food you eat. The problem is that many food-based probiotics are not vegan-friendly, as they contain some form of dairy (like yogurt and kefir).

Luckily, there are still some plant-based alternatives! Here are 7 different foods that you can eat on a regular basis to get probiotics from the food you eat.

1. Sauerkraut — Naturally, any fermented food you eat is going to have a certain amount of probiotics, since it is fermented with a particular type of bacteria that acts like a probiotic. In the case of sauerkraut, that is lactic acid.

Sauerkraut is often combined with meat dishes, like sausage, but that is definitely not the only way to enjoy it. This sour and salty dish can be a side to just about any main dish you are consuming. It tastes great with different types of rice and grain, and of course with lots of veggies on your plate. Not only will you get probiotics from the sauerkraut, but it also contains other essential nutrients you need on a plant-based diet. It is loaded with fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B. There are even some antioxidants in sauerkraut.

2. Kimchi — Both sauerkraut and kimchi are known as a cultured vegetable or a vegetable that comes from fermented veggies like cabbage. Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut in that it comes from cultured vegetables, but in this case, it is often napa cabbage, along with different types of seasonings. It tends to be a little spicier, using a lot of garlic, ginger, and scallions, among other seasonings.

With kimchi, you are still getting those important probiotics from the fermentation process, and the cabbage has a lot of essential nutrients for your vegan lifestyle.

3. Coconut Kefir — While you canít have regular kefir since it is made from cowís milk, there is another version called coconut kefir. This is a fermentation process of coconut juice, which has the best dairy-free kefir option available to you. It is not going to contain the number of probiotics as you get from regular milk kefir, but it still includes some, plus all the added vitamins and minerals that coconut provides you. This includes magnesium and potassium, calcium, and fiber.

4. Tempeh — Another fermented vegetable that gives your gut a right amount of bacteria-balancing probiotics is tempeh. Tempeh is made from fermenting soybeans, which gives them more of an earthy, nutty flavor. This is very popular in international cuisine, especially with foods that come from Indonesia.

When soybeans are fermented into tempeh, they provide some fantastic nutrients, in addition to the natural probiotics. You will get excellent absorption of zinc and iron, as well as other minerals.

5. Kombucha — Kombucha might be one of the fermented beverages that you recognize, as it has gotten popular in recent years. People are quickly discovering all the health benefits of drinking kombucha on a regular basis, providing a lot of different bottled varieties in stores so that you donít have to make your own.

What is it? Kombucha is a type of tea drink that has been fermented, usually either green tea or black tea. This fermentation process includes both yeast and bacteria, so you are getting many health benefits in addition to those plant-based probiotics you are looking for.

6. Natto — This is a popular Japanese dish that is also made with fermented soybeans, similar to tempeh. However, the fermentation is done slightly different, and what you get is a different texture and flavor.

Tempeh is made into more of a fluffy cake texture, while natto comes out bitter and slimy. This might not seem appealing, but that is before you add your veggies and grains, and your different toppings. Many people like to enjoy natto with soy sauce and mustard.

Natto provides the probiotic Bacillus subtilis after the soybeans have been fermented. You get these probiotics, in addition to nutrients like protein, manganese, iron, fiber, and Vitamin C.

7. Green peas — There is still more research being done on this, but studies suggest green peas might also contain some natural probiotics when they go through the fermenting process.

The Journal of Applied Microbiology did a study where they found that after being fermented, green peas contain the probiotic leuconostoc mesenteroides. This could be another option, especially since you might already have them in your favorite plant-based meals.

Plant-based probiotic supplements

Your next option as far as plant-based probiotics go is to use supplements. You can still eat some of the foods listed above and just add in a supplement each day to boost the good bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics are essential when you have a leaky gut syndrome or other stomach issues, or when you have gone through a course of antibiotics.

Here are six popular plant-based probiotic supplements to try out.

1. Ora Organic Probiotic Capsules with Prebiotics — This is one of the most reliable sources you could find. Ora Organic makes amazing products. Plus, these probiotics come in a glass bottle that can be re-used. This supplement contains 16 billion cells in each capsule. It is also vegan and free of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms). Plus, it contains prebiotics from organic Jerusalem artichokes. What is their purpose? They help the probiotics absorb and work more efficiently.

The reviews for this product are amazing. One woman suffered from chronic anal fissures. After taking these probiotics daily, she started to notice some relief. She says that she hasn’t had issues since. Plus, they helped get rid of her constipation. Another user was ecstatic when these supplements eased her suffering from IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

2. Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotics — Often, taking a liquid supplement aids with absorption. These liquid probiotics contain live bacteria that can live up to two years at room temperature. Since these organisms aren’t exposed to intense temperatures, they are more effective. This is a small family-owned company. They manufacture their liquid in smaller batches, so you know they take great care during the creation of their product. The taste is minimal and earthy.

Additionally, this plant-based probiotic liquid is 100 percent organic. These probiotics are effective, gentle, and easy to take. The company mentions that these are safe enough to be given to your children as well.

Users tend to be impressed after taking this liquid. One customer even stated how much it helped alleviate her colon cancer symptoms. Another buyer says it’s one of the best purchases she has ever made. The reviews have added up to a cumulative rating of almost five stars.

3. Think Thin Protein & Probiotics Plant Protein Powder — Now, if you want probiotics and protein in one package, this is it. This powder contains one billion live probiotics in each serving. Additionally, you will get 20 grams of plant-based protein in each shake. It also provides a dose of prebiotics.

As mentioned above, these will help your probiotics, and other nutrients do their work more effectively. Mix this probiotic protein powder with your favorite plant milk. It has a delicious vanilla flavor. Their vanilla is naturally-sourced from Madagascar as well. This is an excellent choice for those who don’t enjoy taking capsules, pills, or tinctures.

It has a composite rating of four stars online. One user says it tastes great with almond milk. They add that it doesn’t have a gritty texture either. Other customers rave about how happy they were to find a probiotic protein powder that actually tastes good.

4. Sunbiotics Organic Probiotic Chewables with Organic Yacon Root — These chewable probiotics are certified organic and free of any animal products. There are an astounding 18 billion probiotic cells per serving. This supplement contains four different strains as well. Additionally, it does not contain any GMOs or preservatives.

Plus, these probiotics are enhanced by the organic yacon root. This plant is a relatively new health discovery. It has the potential to help cholesterol and obesity issues as well.

The reviews are incredibly positive. Several people have tried this product and loved it. One user says it cleared her skin, helped her intestinal issues and reduced her joint pain. Another customer said she enjoyed their chocolate-like taste.

An additional reviewer stated how these probiotics helped relieve her sinus infections. These amazing reviews add up to an average rating of four stars.

5. Bioganix BIOPRO Probiotic and Prebiotic Supplement — This is the most potent probiotic on this list. It contains 50 billion live cultures. Plus, it has 11 separate strains in each dose. Additionally, each supplement contains prebiotics and packs an extra punch.

The capsule is tinier than most, so it isn’t too difficult to take each day. Each one is gluten-free also. If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, this may be the choice for you. These are some of the most potent vegan probiotics out there. So, if you have major digestive issues, you may consider giving them a try.

6. Yuve Vegan Probiotic Sugar-Free Gummies — Have you ever heard of vegan gummies? Well, here they are. Each dose contains five billion cells. So, they aren’t super strong. However, they still work well as a daily probiotic to keep nasty gut issues away.

They are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. The company states that they are safe for children as well. They’re sugar-free, so there are three grams of sugar alcohol added to each dose. Additionally, they need to be refrigerated. However, the flavor is excellent. Who doesn’t love strawberry and orange?

For your consideration

Recipes

Watch Out!