What exactly is a plant-based diet & Why You May Want to Consider It

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I’ve been changing my diet over the past few years to be mostly plant-based and I’ve notice that a lot of people don’t exactly understand what a plant-based diet is or why it’s important to me. So I’m writing this post to hopefully inform you, clarify a few things, and maybe even inspire you to choose a more plant-based lifestyle.

So - What is a plant-based diet?

In simple terms and how I define a plant-based diet is a diet that is highly focused on eating whole plant foods and limiting processed foods.

According to wikipedia.com, “A plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.[1][2] The use of the phrase has changed over time, and examples can be found of the phrase "plant-based diet" being used to refer to vegan diets, which contain no food from animal sources, to vegetarian diets which include eggs and dairy but no meat, and to diets with varying amounts of animal-based foods, such as semi-vegetarian diets which contain small amounts of meat.”

A lot of times people confuse plant-based with veganism, but there is a difference. Read this article for more information.

With my food philosophy, I aim to eat a diet that is 90-95% whole plant foods consisting of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits. Because I’ve struggled with restrictive diets in the past and believe wholeheartedly that stress is worse for your health than eating an imperfect diet, I leave a percentage of my diet open for whatever I intuitively feel like eating. By allowing myself to eat whatever I want 5-10% of the time, it creates food freedom and peace within me that keeps me from obsessing or binging on foods that I consider “unhealthy”. This is just what works for me, but you do you!


Why You May Want to Consider a Plant-Based Diet

There are 3 main reasons why you may want to transition to a plant-based diet: your health, the environment and the animals.



It’s good for your health.

“Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal well-being.” - World Health Organization

While many doctors and nutritionists love to argue about what a perfect, healthy diet is, they all seem to agree that a diet consisting of mostly plants is essential for your health. There are many studies that show the positive effects of a plant-based diet. Some of the benefits of a plant-based diet include increased energy, better digestion, clear skin, weight loss, and reversal of disease. A whole foods, plant-based diet is the only diet that has been proven to actually reverse chronic illness and diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.


To learn more about the amazing health benefits of a plant-based diet check out the following resources:

Books: The China Study, How Not to Die, Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease, UnDo It, The Blue Zones Solution

Documentaries: Forks Over Knives, What the Health, Plant Pure Nation

Websites: Nutrition Facts



It’s good for the environment.

After learning about how a meat heavy diet negatively impacts climate change, deforestation, water use, species extinction, and land use it became impossible to ignore. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children, and my children’s children, to have to suffer because of our lack of knowledge and/or care for the environment. If you are curious and want to learn more, check out these startling facts and watch the documentary Cowspiracy.


You’re not supporting animal cruelty.

Listen, I don’t claim to be an ethical vegan - and I still do eat meat and dairy, although very rarely (I’ve been working on eliminating it completely). I wouldn’t even consider myself to be an “animal person”. That being said, once you learn about what goes on in the meat and dairy industry and the horrific treatment of the animals, it is hard to completely detach and shut that out of your mind. If you are a remotely decent human it’s pretty hard not to empathize and feel for these living beings that are being tortured for our convenience and taste preference. If you are oblivious to what really goes on (no judgment, I used to be too), then I highly recommend checking out Earthlings or Food, Inc.


The Guidelines to Eating a Plant-Based Diet

Foods to Eat:

Vegetables

Fruits

Whole Grains

Legumes



Foods to Limit:

Fats

Proteins

Carbs

Natural Sweeteners



Foods to Avoid:

Meat

Dairy

Oil

Processed Foods



Final Thoughts:

At first it can seem daunting to completely overhaul your diet to a more plant centered one, but I assure you it’s not as hard as it seems. I’ve found the transition to be fun and inspiring. I’ve fallen in love with experimenting with plant-centered, dairy free, and oil free recipes in the kitchen. I also thoroughly enjoy learning about all of the nutritional benefits of eating this way and I love knowing that I am doing something good for my health, the environment and animals.

If you’re intrigued and want to start eating more of a plant-centered diet, sign up below to get my Free plant-based recipes e-Book!!


Free Recipe E-book: 5 Delicious Plant-Based Recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less!