A plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, fruits, wheat, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy fats like canola oil or olives, but with few or no animal products. Whether for hearth health, climate health, ecological efficiency, or animal welfare, plants are fast becoming people's best friend. Say hello to the plant based lifestyle.
There isn’t necessarily one “plant-based diet” in existence today, but rather dozens of different variations that stem from cultures found all around the world. Diets high in plant protein, such as the vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, flexitarian, reducetarian, or the Mediterranean diet, are linked with many health & environmental benefits.
The plant-based diet is not necessarily a set diet — it’s more of a lifestyle. This is because plant based diets can vary greatly depending on the extent to which a person includes animal products in their diet. While one person following a plant based diet may eat no animal products, another may eat small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood, meat or dairy.
That’s actually not a problem. Not every plant based diet is vegan or even vegetarian. Many, like the plant-based diet, include quality animal foods, but aim to do so “in moderation”. In other words, foods like meat, fish, eggs or dairy aren’t necessarily off-limits when you’re eating plant-based, they just usually take a back seat to eating lots of plant foods.
The main advantages of a plant-based diet seem to be more related to the foods you’re eating lots of (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts) rather than those you’re eating less of (meat). “When you base your meals on plant foods, you’re packing your diet with the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that most Americans don’t get enough of,” says Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., editor of Environmental Nutrition. Plant-based diets are also full of phytochemicals, compounds that help keep many of your body’s systems running smoothly.
Hot dogs and lunch meats are linked to increased risks for health issues like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and higher mortality. Of particular concern among health experts and doctors are nitrates, preservatives added to hot dogs from synthetic materials or natural sources that give the meat longer shelf life and more color. When digested, nitrates turn into nitrites, which have been linked to cancer in test subject animals. The meat used for hot dogs and lunchmeat comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are fed low-quality food and kept in crowded, unhygienic conditions. Hot dogs and lunch meat contains listeria monocytogenes that cause flu-like symptoms and gastrointestinal distress. According to a study published in Cancer Causes & Control, consuming processed meat increases the risk of childhood leukemia. According to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, processed meat causes cancer.
Obesity is an issue of epidemic proportions. In fact, over 69% of US adults are overweight or obese. Fortunately, making plant based lifestyle changes can facilitate weight loss and have a lasting impact on health. Many studies have shown that plant-based diets are beneficial for weight loss. The high fiber content of the plant-based diet, along with the exclusion of processed foods like soda and candy, is a winning combination for shedding excess pounds.
Plant-based foods contain a wide array of skin-healthy nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all needed for healthy skin. Check our sister companies Aurelian providing skincare made from hemp and Flemish Lion providing wholesale hemp t-shirts.
What is the right plant-based diet for you? You don't need to go full vegetarian or vegan (avoiding all animal products, even eggs and dairy) to get the best heart health benefits. The focus should be on eating more of the right plants, avoiding the wrong kind, eliminating unhealthy foods, and moderating your intake of healthier animal products. A heart-healthy diet doesn't need to be daunting either. "For many people, this may be a matter of switching out their current foods". For instance, replace cold cuts with organic veggie deli slices, hot dogs with organic veggie dogs, and cheese with organic plant-based cheese. Choose oatmeal instead of processed cereal, and water instead of juice drinks.
If embracing a plant-based diet feels intimidating, then begin small. A moderate change in your diet, such as lowering your animal food intake by one to two servings per day and replacing it with organic meat alternatives as your protein source, can have a lasting positive impact on your health. Becoming a flexitarian means you can eat meat and still get the health rewards of a vegetarian lifestyle. Research shows that flexitarians—those who make plant foods the star of their diet, with meat, fish, dairy, and eggs playing a supporting role—are healthier than frequent meat eaters in categories such as colon cancer and heart-disease risk, and overall mortality.
A “less meat, more plants” style of eating can also help improve the quality of your life. In addition, it’s associated with higher levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, and research suggests that it lowers the risk of heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Reducing the amount of meat you eat is, simply put, the best thing you can do for the environment and for your health. When you eat plant-based, you'll start building a mindset that promotes healthy eating habits for the rest of your life. Say hello to your plant-based lifestyle.
This journey is yours. Enjoy each and every little moment.