If you live in Irvine, CA, you may already have sampled “the Impossible Burger” or “Beyond Meat.” These new fast foods are indications that a plant based lifestyle is becoming more popular. Exactly what is a plant-based diet? It focuses on whole-foods, those closest to their natural state. It limits or completely avoids animal products. It includes a wide variety of legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. There are few refined foods, such as those that contain white flour, processed oil and extra sugar. While not all plant based diets are vegetarian or vegan, all vegetarian and vegan diets are plant based.
Just because it’s made from a plant doesn’t make it healthy.
I recently saw something that made me question what the American diet has become. It was deep-fried breaded sweet corn and a side dish of melted butter to drizzle over it. That’s definitely not a healthy route or in the spirit of plant-based. Corn is a starchy food, and while it can be a small part of the diet. Just like any type of diet, you need a variety of fruits and vegetables in a plant based diet. It should contain green leafy vegetables, plus vegetables of many different colors. Each color provides different micronutrients and phytonutrients that your body requires. You also need a good source of protein, such as lentils, beans or nuts. The key to a healthy plant based diet includes variety and whole foods—-food that is closest to its natural state.
A plant based diet can help you lose weight.
America is fighting a losing battle and that battle is with obesity and losing. A plant based diet can be ammunition in the battle to help take weight off and prevent it from returning. Plant-based diets are higher in fiber and exclude processed food, which goes a long way in helping you shed weight. There are now many studies that show that people on plant-based diets lose more weight than those who are simply cutting calories with non-vegetarian diets.
There are other health benefits to a plant-based diet.
Besides benefiting weight loss, the rich mix of vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole-grains prove beneficial for heart health. It significantly lowers the risk for heart disease, but including sugary drinks like colas, fruit juice or refined grain reduced the benefits it offered. It also lowered the risk for several types of cancer, including gastrointestinal cancer. It also helps prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
- If you have diabetes, a plant-based lifestyle can help manage your diabetes. If you don’t it helps lower the risk of developing it by as much as 34%.
- While processing can be bad, frozen and canned vegetables without additives are healthy alternatives.
- A plant based diet includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fat from avocados, coconut or olive oil, legumes, seeds, nuts and nut butters, plant based milk, spices and herbs, plant-based protein and coffee, tea or water.
- Not all plant-based diets are vegan or vegetarian. Some animal products can supplement it. It can include eggs, poultry, seafood, beef, pork and organic dairy products—preferably from grass fed cows.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness