As you know I’ve recently cut out a lot of sugar from my daily eating regime and have severely reduced my intake of alcohol. I’m am currently reaping the benefits and I do intend to Blog fully about this. Vegetables are a priority on my plate and I’ve noticed that plant based eating was recenly trending on Twitter. Not sure that I could go completely plant based or embrace Veganism (tried that once!) but a plant based way of living for health reasons is definitely on the increase.
Living plant based… it’s not another diet, fad, or trend, it’s simply a lifestyle! Embracing plant-based, whole foods for optimal nutrition and nourishment instead of the yo-yo that is dieting. Diets imply that you’ll make a return to ‘normal eating’ after you’ve lost the weight or achieved your goal (whether that be attempting to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure etc). The newest idea that people are turning to is pretty much changing their whole way of eating for the better.
What does it mean to eat plant based?
Just like the vegan diet, people who eat a whole food plant-based diet avoid animal-based products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The lifestyle change emphasises consumption of all the above together with healthy oils, while reducing intake of less healthy plant foods as well as animal foods
The easiest way to remember it is… Vegans can eat Oreos (yep shockingly they’re not made with anything animal), and people who are whole food plant-based don’t. No processed foods… at all.
Is it good for you?
If this sounds like a trick question… it’s not. Like all the fad diets, stripping yourself from a specific food group can be daunting and in some cases unhealthy. What’s different about this is that it’s a lifestyle change instead of a fad.
It can mean you eat meat only a few nights a week or when you’re served it on special occasions if you want. Over time, this lifestyle has countless benefits to your health.
Remember everything we’ve been told about eating our fruits and veg? It’s true – more and more research supports the fact that eating predominantly plant-based foods has a positive impact on health outcomes. And while plant-based may sound trendy, unlike Paleo or Whole30, it has quite a few more science-based benefits even without going ‘all in’ on a full vegetarian lifestyle.
Just a few of the benefits of taking the #VegPledge
Good for your heart
Countless studies have shown lower rates of heart disease and other chronic diseases in people who eat a predominantly plant-based diet. Plant-based diets have been linked to lower blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.
Better gut health
Diets high in animal products have been shown to alter our gut microbiota, which can contribute to inflammation. Full of antioxidants and high in fiber, which work wonders on our digestive tract, plant-based diets may have a more protective effect against inflammation due to its impact on the gut microbiome. Another recent study showed differences in gut bacteria when people consumed a diet high in animal proteins versus a diet mainly comprised of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.
Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower rate of obesity. By focusing on more nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, these foods have a tendency to fill you up and make it easier to be aware of your hunger and fullness.
As you may know, the vitamin A in carrots aids night vision. Your eyes might also thank you for a plant-based diet rich in spinach, kale, corn, squash, kiwi and grapes. The lutein and zeaxanthin pigments in these foods are thought to help prevent cataract and macular degeneration.
Cutting back on animal products also means skipping much of their saturated fats, which are notorious for clogging pores. Plus, many of the vitamins, pigments and phytochemicals in fruits and veggies contribute to healthy skin. The lycopene in tomatoes, for example, helps protect your skin from sun damage, and the vitamin C in sweet potatoes smooths wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen.
Lower Rates of Cancer
A low fat, whole foods plant-based diet is the number one way to improve your chances at avoiding cancer risks (while also avoiding smoking and alcohol, of course). Animal foods have been linked to cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.
How do you start?
- Start by eating more of the plant-based meals you already eat.
- Add more plant foods to the mixed meals you are eating.
- Don’t give up your favorite animal foods immediately.
- Eliminate animal foods you don’t eat often.
- Find other vegetarians and vegans!
- Find recipes and cookbooks that you like.
- Cook with others.