What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is based on plants, including vegetables, fruits, grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like canola oil or olives, but with few or no animal products. Whether for heart health, climate health, ecological efficiency, or animal welfare, plants are fast becoming people's best friends. 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 how 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.
Not ready to give up animal foods?
That’s not a problem. Not every plant-based diet is vegan or even vegetarian. Like the plant-based diet, many 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 usually take a back seat to eat lots of plant foods.
The health benefits of a plant-based diet
The main advantages of a plant-based diet seem to be 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 are 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 lunch meat comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals are fed low-quality food and kept in crowded, unhygienic conditions.
Obesity is an issue of epidemic proportions. 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 and the exclusion of processed foods like soda and candy are 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 company Aurelian providing skincare made from hemp.
Top reasons to eat plant-based
1. Plant-based diets help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
2. Eating mostly plants can improve your skin.
3. A plant-based diet supports good gut health.
4. A plant-based diet makes weight control significantly easier.
5. Plant-based meats generate 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 45% less energy, have 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use than meat.
Making the Change
Making the change to a plant-based diet
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 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 your life quality. Reducing the amount of meat you eat is, put, the best thing you can do for the environment and 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.
Be the change
This journey is yours. Enjoy each and every little moment.