PLANT BASED DIET
I am a big fan of cooking local and organic food when you can. Non-GMO is crucial. Many chronic conditions are lifestyle related so there is nothing better for you in terms of non-medicinal relief than moving to a plant-based diet. This is also better for the planet! For the beginner, plant-based simply means eating whole foods that consist of fresh plants that are hopefully not processed. This includes fruits, vegetables nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, oils, fermented foods and whole grains. A true plant-based diet does not include meat, fish, seafood, dairy or eggs. To be fully transparent, I am basically a vegetarian but I do eat seafood or wild caught fish once in a while. While it’s well documented that sugar is highly addictive and truly one of the worst things you can eat, I also do like organic dark chocolate once in a while. I do try to avoid corn and soy in the US because, while companies say their products are non-GMO or organic, cross pollination from wind makes this nearly impossible in reality if farms are located near one another.
Back to the great part about plants! They are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants which are fantastic for your immune system, metabolism and overall well-being. People who move to plant-based diets have reported extra energy, weight loss as well as the reduction of inflammation. There are countless studies and a growing body of research that a plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse many chronic conditions that are increasingly prevalent today. These include cardiovascular and heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. In fact, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of The World Health Organization, has classified processed meat as a known carcinogen and red meat as a probable carcinogen. Processed meat includes bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham and some deli meats.
Plants also are high in fiber and a plant-based diet has been shown to improve gut health while allowing your body to better absorb nutrients. Aside from the benefits to your intestinal system and overall health, when you eat meat you are not only eating that animal but you are also eating what that animal ate and what was put on the feed and what’s in their water. Think pesticides, herbicides, fungicides as well as the harmful hormones and antibiotics that plague the meat supply. This is sadly now true of seafood and fish which, when farmed often are fed antibiotics, and also contain plastic from debris in the ocean, lakes and water estuaries.
Putting your personal wellbeing aside, it is also so much better for the environment to eat a plant-based diet, as this places less of a negative impact on nature and the world around us. Land use, deforestation, pollution and resources to feed animals harms the environment and increases greenhouse gas emissions much more than many are aware.
It is important to note that a plant-based diet in general should be geared towards eating less processed foods and limiting processed sugar. Brown rice and plant-based pasta alternatives are better than white rice, white bread and white pasta. Try to incorporate whole grains in your diet. Plant-based burgers can help satiate your need for a burger and there are also many products on the market now that offer tasty alternatives to meat. Some of my favorites are on the food section of my site. Obviously, your plant-based diet will need to be customized to what works best for your body – some people thrive on legumes and nuts while others on whole grains and cruciferous vegetables.
The bottom line is that real whole plant foods will make you healthier and feel better and even just taking a break from meat and animal products will result in an immediate and palpable positive effect on your wellbeing. Why not try it?! I promise you will look and feel even better than you do now!
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