What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet, otherwise known as a whole food plant-based diet, involves well...eating plants. Simple enough, right? The terms vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, and plant-based can get confusing. All of these ways of eating center around the concept of not eating animals. Pescatarians do not eat cow, pigs, or fowl, but do consume fish. A vegetarian on the other hand, consumes no meat, and a vegan ups the ante by also not eating any dairy products or eggs. Vegans also do not use animal products, for instance anything that is tested on animals or made with leather, fur, or feathers. Usually there is a strong ethical component to those that choose to live a vegan lifestyle.
A plant-based diet involves eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. The list of foods to avoid includes meat, dairy, oil, processed foods and refined sugar. Typically those that choose to eat this way do so for health reasons. The goal is to eat whole-foods in their natural state which promotes optimal health.
But that doesn’t sound tasty.
Plants have always gotten a bad wrap from a taste standpoint. Ever seen one of those old timey black and white video clips where the family is sitting around the dinner table and Johnny is refusing to eat his brussels sprouts? This fictitious scenario happens all the time in real life...with grown adults. Often times kids grow up hating vegetables which then translates to them being anti-plant adults. Whether you are interested in fully transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle or just want to incorporate more of these nutrient dense foods into your diet, step one is to be open minded to the idea that eating plants can actually be quite tasty and satisfying. Check out the MM Community for dozens of delicious, plant-based recipes. I believe so much in the tastiness of plant-based foods (and the health benefits, positive environmental impact, and that it does not contribute to the mass killing of innocent animals...I’ll save that rant for another blog) that I am basing my entire livelihood on sharing wholesome and delicious whole food recipes with the world. For real...just give plants a try!
Why should I choose to eat plants?
There are numerous reasons why eating plants makes the most sense. From a health standpoint alone, plants are superior. According to T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, by “adopt[ing] a whole food, plant-based lifestyle you can increase the odds that you will:
Lower risk of prostate, breast & other cancers
Prevent, even reverse, heart disease
Prevent & treat diabetes
Lose weight & have more energy
...and much more”
Did you know that 7 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the US are shown to be strongly linked to poor nutrition? The #1 killer in America, for both males and females is heart disease. If we take a look at the Standard American Diet, this isn’t surprising. Big Mac, cheese fries, meat lovers pizza, honey buns, corn dog, cream filled donuts, bacon on anything...oh and a large diet coke on the side...I’m on a diet. All of that animal protein, fake ingredients, and oil is just coating the inside of America’s arteries and eventually causing heart disease which all too often results in death.
On the other hand, eating plants can prevent and actually reverse heart disease. When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine”, he wasn’t joking. The right foods can literally heal your body and create a powerhouse of homeostasis that keeps disease at bay.
Transitioning from the Standard American Diet into a plant-based lifestyle can be challenging, but the reward is a healthier and happier way of life. If this way of eating interests you but you feel like you may need some extra assistance, feel free to reach out regarding my Plant-Based Nutrition Coaching services.