If I become a plant powered person, will I be hungry? Potential Plant Powered People tend to ask that as they contemplate changing their eating habits. It is a good question! The key to not feeling hungry on a plant based diet, or any other, is to consume enough calories to fuel your body. That fuel generally comes largely from carbohydrates regardless of your specific diet. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans put out by the U.S. government recommend that based on an average 2000 calories per day, somewhere between 900 calories/225 grams/45 percent of total calories to 1300 calories/325 grams/65 percent of those 2000 calories should come from carbohydrates. Hmmm… guess we can be fine with the notion of carbohydrates in our diets.
Read more here: Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
This information indicates carbohydrates actually can be the largest portion of the overall calories you consume, and they are truly necessary for your health. The reason for that is because your body burns sugar, primarily glucose, for energy. And it makes that glucose primarily from the carbohydrates you give it. So carbohydrates are essential for your body’s healthy functioning whether you are exercising a little or a lot, or just resting on the couch. Here is how it works:
A plant based diet is very rich in carbohydrates. In fact, carbohydrates are pretty much the most common component in all life forms. Carbohydrates are in every plant, because plants make them from carbon dioxide and water during photosynthesis, then use them to build their structures. And plants - from algae on up - are the foundation of the food chain - everything edible is either them or consumes them.
When eating a balanced plant based diet with lots of variety, you will get the carbohydrates you need to feel full and have lots of energy to keep going all day. Plus you will get lots of fiber that is great for your digestion. That fiber can also protect your heart from disease. It can also protect you from becoming overweight or diabetic. Those are a lot of benefits for Plant Powered People, so be excited!
Be sure to pick (mostly) healthy carbohydrates, though. Choose the plants themselves (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes) to make your meals, along with pretty minimally processed packaged and prepared foods - those with the fewest mystery ingredients and low in added sugars and fats. Of course, exceptions will likely need to be made on occasion for dairy free donuts and other treats (into each life some sugar will sprinkle).
Focus on an appropriate amount of calories for your needs selected from healthy sources and you will feel satisfied with the plant derived menu items you choose for your nutritional needs. Of course, if you are hungry, eat some more, so you no longer feel hungry. An extra apple is a great fill-up item, for example. Find what works for you as you go along.
As you begin your journey, align your choices toward the basics above. As you grow into a plant powered person, you will feel satisfied by the foods you enjoy, and you will be also satisfied knowing you are powering you body with the carbohydrates it needs.