Be it for a cleanse, a temporary diet, small modifications to your meals, or a total lifestyle change, eating more mindfully and incorporating the healthiest foods into your diet is always a good idea.

Mindful eating has been a buzzword that has come out more frequently as of late. And rightfully so! Knowing what we eat, where food comes from, how beneficial (or harmful) it is to our bodies and so on, is important. After all, knowledge is power. When planning your diet always try to opt for foods that are nutrient-dense and chemical-free. Here are tips to help those who want to become more plant-based, vegan or vegetarian but can serve as a quick and easy guide for anyone who simply wants to be more aware of what they consume.

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Eat Fresh Food

The fresher and less processed the better. If you can get foods as soon as they come from the farms and the soil, then please do. This is the appeal of farmers markets, and buying from producers - you get products with the least amount of handling. When foods are packaged, processed and prepped with some chemicals to help with shelf-life they may lose some nutrients and you may ingest preservatives.

Another helpful tip for those who simply want to eat more mindfully is to really focus on foods that are basic and whole, with the least amount of ingredients. When you turn a package around and read the label... that long winding list of ingredients can often be to your detriment. If you have a hard time pronouncing a lot of what's on the ingredients list, then maybe it's not for you.

See also: Tatler's Guide To The Best Vegetarian And Vegan Menus In Asia

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Whole Grains

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Above Photo: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

There are many interesting whole grains you can eat which are packed with nutrients. The less processed the grains, the more nutrients they deliver to your body, which is why instead of white rice, you should go for brown, red, black or wild rice. Quinoa and Adlai are also excellent alternatives to white rice which also have lower glycemic indexes, as other less processed whole grains do, which means they take longer to digest and will keep you full for longer since they release glucose into your system at slower rates. This also means so you won't have as many sugar crashes. 

See also: Rice Alternatives You Need To Try

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Plant-Based Proteins

Since you won't be eating meats and fish, you will need to get your daily dose of protein. There are many plant-based proteins which you can incorporate into your diet to ensure you do not have any deficiencies.

  1. Tofu
  2. Edamame
  3. Beans
  4. Lentils
  5. Grains like quinoa
  6. Nuts like almonds
  7. Chia seeds
  8. Chickpeas
  9. Tempeh
  10. Oatmeal
  11. Hempseeds

See also: Find Out If A Vegan Or A Mediterranean Diet Is Better For You

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Cheese & Milk Alternatives

Instead of milk from animals, try alternatives like nut or soy milk. There are so many options all of which bring their own flavour profiles which can enhance your meals, shakes, desserts and recipes. Play around with these milks: cashew, coconut, almond, walnut, pili, hempseed, pumpkin and so much more! 

See also: 5 Milk Alternatives To Try

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Cold Pressed Oils

Cold-pressed oils are made often at room temperature or around 27 degrees celsius and is a process without chemicals. This method keeps most of the oils nutrients and beneficial facets intact which means that it is better for our consumption. The heat from hot-pressed oils can affect the structure of the oil and cause it to lose nutrients along the way. 

See also: Plant-Based Recipes You Should Cook At Home

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Above Photo: Pixabay / Pexels
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No To Faux

Don't depend on faux meats or foods made in laboratories. Yes, they are gorgeous developments in the fields of science with the Impossible Burger that even 'bleeds' for example. But these faux meat substitutes more often than not, do not taste like the original and will leave you wanting more. Diners may not feel satisfied and it may make it harder for you to stick to your cleanse or meal program.

I personally am not a huge fan of foods that are engineered to try to be other foods. Instead of ingesting meals that go through complicated chemical processes, why not work with whole foods and cook up innovative recipes that show off the produce. You can create cauliflower crust pizzas, sandwiches, chips, aranicnis, broccoli tater tots, wraps, pasta, skewers and so many different kinds of desserts or breads. When cooking up plant-based meals, treat your vegetables like meat and cook them up the way you'd do proteins. There is no reason why you cannot season them just like you would your favourite steaks and birds. Vegetables have great natural flavours that can be complemented by herbs and spices. 

See also: What Is The Difference Between Vegan vs Vegetarian?