Plant Based Glossary

The Food Navigator has a great list of food trends for 2018. One thing is for sure. There are more choices for plant-based milks, dairy products,  and meat alternatives than ever before in the store. This trend is predicted to continue. Sales of plant-based foods are estimated to be around $3.1 billion dollars.

“Plant Based” is a great educational message for the new year, too.

Plant-based is just a new way to present most of the lessons from the US Dietary Guidelines. After all, MyPlate is 3/4 plants with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And legumes are listed as both a vegetable and a protein.

Here is a handy glossary:

  • Plant based – A diet higher in plantbased foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Whole foods – foods that are nearly in their original, whole state and have little processing; specifically they are not primarily filled with added sugar or fat or refined flour. For example, whole wheat cream of wheat is more whole than corn flakes or fruit charms. Whole wheat bread is more whole than muffins. Potatoes are more whole than potato chips. Apples are more whole than apple pop tarts. Whole foods have more fiber, fewer calories, less salt, sugar, and fat. So you get more nutrients and fiber, and fewer calories or fewer grams of artery-clogging fat or blood pressure-rising sodium. Unfortunately the trade off is that you get less convenience. But planning ahead and cooking at home and planning leftovers is a simple workaround that is better for your pocketbook and your health.
  • Non-dairy milk – a “milk-like beverage” made from a plant-based ingredient(s). Examples include almond milk, flax milk, and soy milk. There are also many others in this category with the newest being from peas (Rippl). The advantage to this type of milk is that it is not regulated by the FDA the same way dairy milk is and thus it can contain many beneficial additives such as more calcium or omega-3 fatty acids. You should still read the label to make sure that it is not a significant source of saturated fat, trans fat, or sugar. Coconut milk often contains a lot of saturated fat and flavored milk may contain a lot of sugar. Some of these milks do not contain any calcium so that is another item to check, too. Regular milk always contains about 30% of the daily value for calcium so try to stay close to that amount since dairy products are usually the most significant source of calcium in the modern diet. The benefits of this plant-based milk are that it is plant based, sweetly flavored, thicker than skim milk, and easier on the digestive system for most people. It is also an option for people who choose to be vegan or vegetarian.
  • Dietary Guidelines – a set of guidelines mandated by US law that provides an academic committee to review the most recent nutrition research and provide guidelines to Americans and their health care providers every five years.
  • MyPlate – the icon for a balanced diet from the USDA. It is based on the dietary guidelines and helps people balance their meals by providing a plate graphic with 5 proportional food group sections that include dairy, protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Vegan – a person who does not consume any animal products or foods that contain them and who does not use any products that are the byproducts of animal slaughter
  • Vegetarian – a person who chooses not to eat any meat but who may or may not consume eggs or dairy
  • Flexitarian or semi-vegetarian – a person who is vegetarian but who might eat fish or poultry on occasion
  • Grains – the seeds of grasses that are produced for food; examples include oats, wheat, rice, barley, quinoa, teff, amaranth, and many more
  • Vegetables – The parts of herbaceous plants eaten as food by humans, whole or in part, are generally considered vegetables. This includes leaves, seeds, bulbs, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.
  • Fruits – in botany, fruits are the seed-bearing structures of plants. In the culinary world they tend to be the sweet ones like oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwis, melons, berries, peaches, pears, and more. The more savory fruits like tomatoes and avocados are used as vegetables in a kitchen.
  • Beans – seeds from a legume pod also called dried beans, legumes, or pulses are from flowering plants in the Leguminosae family. This includes the soybean, chickpea, bean, and pea, among others (Morris 365). Other lesser known members of the legume family include clover, licorice, lentils, and the peanut.
  • Aquafaba – the cooking liquid of beans and other legumes like chickpeas, which can be used to replace egg whites since it can be whipped. It is a mix of protein, starches, and other substances which leach into the water during the cooking process. FMI see aquafaba.com
  • Organic – food that is free of certain pesticides and fertilizers; using organic processes for sustainable farming.
  • Local – food that is grown and sold locally; retains biodiversity of food and diversity of local land plus keeps money in local economy
  • Conventional – food that is grown without organic certification
  • Meatless – meals made without meat, poultry, or fish
  • Meatless Monday – a tradition among vegetarians where Mondays feature meatless meals
  • Meat as flavoring component or garnish – a topic and general tenet of plant-based diets where meat becomes a flavoring agent or garnish instead of being the main entree on the plate.

 

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updated on 05-24-2018