For many, it may be hard to think about eating without including meat everyday. However, take a few minutes to consider what it may look like to consume a plant-based diet; when done right it can be exciting, tasty, and incredibly healthy both for yourself and for the environment.
So a plant-based diet is just that: a diet based on vegetables, fruits, grains, tubers, and legumes with little to no animal products. You don’t have to give up meat and dairy completely or immediately consider implementing this kind of lifestyle as a process. If that doesn’t sound likely for your personal needs or likes, stick to lean meats and fish in moderation.
A plant-based diet can help to reduce the chances of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke by cutting down on saturated fats and cholesterol while also increasing your fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake. It can even help to reduce chances of cancer and help with letting go of excess weight.
Great! So, a plant-based diet is clearly an excellent option for your health but it’s also incredibly sustainable and healthy for the environment and those included in the food system. Some other factors to think about include animal welfare issues, huge amounts of greenhouses gases being released into the environment, major pollution of land and water, and incredible uses of water and other resources. By eating a largely plant-based diet you can cut down your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of resources required to produce the foods you consume and the impacts your choices make on the environment, creating a much more efficient and healthy system. To Improve your health and the environment’s why not try out a plant-based diet? Try going animal product free a few days a week first and then continue increasing your plant sources. Remember: this doesn’t mean you can only eat salad or raw veggies. The options are endless, exciting, and diverse.
Food can prevent, and even reverse chronic diseases. At the Emerald Physicians Wellness Trails Community Program, which presented medical benefits of a plant-based nutrition practice, Dr. Kumara Sidhartha, medical director of Emerald Physicians, said “all of the chronic diseases that we come across, from cancer to arthritis to Alzheimer’s, heart attacks … they all have a common thread, which is inflammation,” Sidhartha said. “So when we attack inflammation through dietary changes, we’re pretty much taking care of all of those primary diseases.”
Sidhartha said he was inspired to research plant-based nutrition after seeing its effects on patients with serious diseases, like diabetes, who rejected traditional medicinal therapies in favor of lifestyle changes. He called the diet a “one-stop shop” option. “We’re understanding how the body can recover and regenerate by not eating unhealthy choices,” he said.
For those looking to try the diet, Sidhartha recommends trying three new plant-based recipes every week, switching all dairy to nondairy options and swapping hamburgers for veggie burgers.
For more information and recipe ideas visit Nicole's blog: Benefits of Eating Plants