The Basics Of Plant-Based
Before we talk about how an air fryer can help with a plant-based lifestyle, we need to discuss what are the different types of plant-based choices and which one is right for you. Veganism and vegetarianism are healthy diet decisions for some and ethical life decisions for others. No matter the reason that you have decided to adjust your life the air fryer can help make foods that fit any lifestyle (except maybe raw vegan).
For those unfamiliar with the various types of plant-based diet variants, the most general form that people consider is referred to as Lacto-ovo vegetarian meaning that the diet that does not include meat (including fish), poultry, or any other flesh-based food products such as seafood. It does allow for eggs and dairy. This is the most common for if sticking to a keto diet. The two most common forms of vegetarianism are veganism and lacto-vegetarianism. There is also the very common flexitarianism, meaning that one consumes fish and dairy products occasionally—we are vegans and vegetarians because of our ethical beliefs.
Flexitarian (a.k.a. Semi-Vegetarian) allows the incorporation of some meat products and is the easiest to follow. It is still plant centered with the bulk of nutrients and calories coming from plant-based sources. It is a great starting point even if this isn’t your end goal. This is the type of diet adopted by people like Tom Brady.
Pescatarian allows for only fish to be eaten.
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian as discussed above allows eggs and dairy but no meat.
Lacto Vegetarian allows only dairy products so butter, cheese, and milk.
Ovo Vegetarian allows the consumption of eggs and products that are made with eggs.
Pollo Vegetarian is like flexitarian but eliminates red meat.
Vegan is the most restrictive in that the whole diet is plant based. Many vegans also choose to completely eliminate any animal by product. This includes things like honey.
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Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
A plant-based diet has been linked to many health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. If you’re new to a plant-based diet, it may seem overwhelming at first. How do you make sure you get enough protein? What about other nutrients like iron and zinc? And what about calcium for strong bones? Taking the time to learn about vegetarian nutrition will help you plan meals so that you get all the nutrients you need.
If done right, a healthy plant-based diet can be good for your health. Studies have shown that people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are less likely to die from heart disease than meat eaters. They also have a lower body mass index (BMI) on average and lower cholesterol levels too!
Downsides of a Plant-Based Diet
There are a few downsides to a vegetarian diet. First, there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies if you don’t get enough protein and other nutrients in your diet. It can be difficult to go out to eat since it may be hard to find plant-based options, especially in more rural areas. There can also be social awkwardness at times when people ask you why you’re vegetarian, or they offer you food that isn’t vegetarian-friendly.
To avoid these problems, first know which foods and food products contain animal products so that you can avoid them as much as possible (things like honey or gelatin, for example). Also make sure that you’re getting all your essential nutrients; this means not only eating a variety of plant-based foods but also taking supplements if necessary.”
How to Eat a Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based diets are healthier, environment-friendlier, and more ethical than the typical Western diet full of meat, processed foods, and refined grains.
But switching to a plant-based diet can be challenging if you’re not used to it. Below is a list of common pitfalls that newbies fall for — and don’t worry… we’ve all been there when undertaking a major life change.
- Eating too many carbs: If you’re new to this type of diet, your first instinct may be to eat lots of carb-heavy foods like potatoes and pasta. While these foods are fine in moderation, they aren’t very nutritious (and can make you gain weight). Carbohydrates should account for around 40% of your total calorie intake or less.
- Not eating enough protein: It can be difficult to get enough protein on a plant-based diet if you don’t eat soy products like tofu or tempeh. Getting sufficient plant protein can be achieved by combining various sources throughout the day (e.g., beans + nuts). Although this is becoming much easier. Even if you are into fitness there are some nice pea protein based protein powders out there.
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Air Fryers make Quick, Crispy Food
An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism. An air fryer is not a deep-fryer, rather it fries food by circulating hot air over it and creating a crispy surface as a result. Air fryers were first introduced to the market in 2010 and they became popular due to their promise of healthier fried food. This was achieved using less oil than traditional frying methods, resulting in significant health benefits. Because most meals are prepared with heat, traditional ovens are often used to bake and roast foods but they take longer and give different results than an air fryer would. An advantage of such an appliance is its ability to cook much faster than most conventional ovens while also being able to grill, bake, roast or even dehydrate foods in addition to frying them so you can make all kinds of meals on one machine. Speaking of faster there is really no need to preheat an air fryer so you can toss a veggie burger in the air fryer and end up with a toasty treat more like food from the grill than the limp mess that comes from the microwave.
Most commonly, people use their air fryers for frying vegetarian foods such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, tofu or tempeh but you can also get creative with your cooking and try apples or bananas for dessert!
Plant-based diet = Healthy choice
A vegetarian diet has many benefits. It can also be better for the environment. People who don’t eat meat are reducing the demand for animal products, which is good for the environment because it means there will be less livestock and thus fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It’s also good for your wallet: a vegetarian diet is one of the cheapest ways to eat. It’s also good for animals, so you can feel good about yourself while saving money! Finally, a vegetarian diet can be very healthy; it encourages eating more beans and legumes that are high in protein and fiber.
These recipes are perfect if you want to adopt a vegetarian diet but are worried about losing out on flavor. These recipes show how delicious vegetarian meals can be!
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Plant-Based Diet Recipe Ideas
- Soy Tofu: The most common type of tofu, soy tofu is made from the ‘milk’ extracted from soybeans. This is the same type of protein often used in meat substitutes like veggie burgers and hot dogs. Most tofu recipes call for soy tofu because it can be used to replicate a wide variety of foods.
- Non-GMO Tofu: Some products are labeled “non-GMO” to indicate that there are no genetically-modified ingredients or substances used in their production. While some producers do use GMO ingredients, non-GMO tofu is available at many grocery stores and can be found online by searching “organic tofu” or “natural food store near me.”
- Low Sodium Tofu: Sodium is an essential nutrient that regulates blood pressure and prevents dehydration, but too much sodium in your diet increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. We discussed heart healthy air fryer cooking earlier in the week. Low sodium tofu contains less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving, while regular soybean curd may contain up to 500 milligrams per serving—that’s more than three times as much! Choosing low sodium varieties will help you avoid consuming excess salt without sacrificing flavor or texture.
- Slice the eggplant into fry shapes about 1/4-inch thick and 3 inches long.
- Spray both sides with oil, then place onto air fryer grate.
- Cook at 360 degrees for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Flip fries, spray with more oil and continue cooking for 10 minutes more, or until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Pick the vegetables that you want to roast. Carrots, onions, celery, squash and potatoes are all popular choices.
- Cut these vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Then you may add spices to taste (such as salt, pepper or garlic).
- Different vegetables take different times to roast. As with all things in the air fryer you want to start lower in time and temperature and increase if necessary to match the level of ‘doneness’ you are looking to achieve.
- Remember with various vegetables that you don’t want them to be too wet and starchy or they may stick to the basket. You also might want to spray the vegetables with a light oil spray using an oil sprayer.
- A general guideline for various vegetable times at 375F:
- Soft vegetables (squash and peppers) take 10 to 15 minutes
- Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) take 10 to 15 minutes
- Tomatoes take 15 to 20 minutes
- Root vegetables and tubers (potatoes, carrots, preboiled yuca or jicama) takes about 30, depending on how they are cut.
- Onions take about 30 minutes or a little longer if they are bigger chunks or you like them crispier.
- Butternut squash takes about 40 minutes for 1-inch cubes.
To make the best banana chips, you need to be careful about how you prep your bananas. The first step is to slice them with a mandolin. You can do this by hand, but it’s not encouraged; it’s easy to cut yourself and you’ll probably end up with slices of uneven thickness.
- If you’re going to use your air fryer to make any kind of food that has juice or moisture, such as apples, bananas, or pears, keep in mind that removing excess moisture is important.
- Blotting the fruit with a paper towel can help with this. It may seem counterintuitive—don’t most people want their food moist? In this case, the moisture would likely cause steam inside the air fryer, which will prevent the fruit from becoming crispy.
- You can season banana chips however you like—cinnamon and nutmeg are two popular options—but try tasting one after it has finished cooking before seasoning them all at once. That way, if they don’t turn out exactly as you wanted them to flavor-wise (if they’re too salty or spicy) you won’t have wasted all of them. This is another nice feature of the air fryer system, compared to a traditional food dehydrator, you will be producing much smaller batches of food (and much more quickly) so you can try different seasoning combinations.
- Once seasoned and cooled for about five minutes, store the chips in an airtight container until ready for to eat.