Eating a Plant-based Diet for Your Health

plant-based-dietRemember the days when President Clinton was seen wolfing down hamburgers? Luckily for him, heading the warnings of his heart disease, he made serious changes to his diet and is now a healthy vegan. More and more evidence including scientific and medical research by Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the Mayo Clinic all point to the benefits of eating a plant-based diet for your health.

If going completely vegetarian or vegan seems too extreme for you, here are some things to consider that may help you get more plant-based food into your diet.

Compelling Reasons to Eat a Plant Based Diet

  • Research by Dr. Dean Ornish shows that eating a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease.
  • Conversely, eating red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) is linked to increased rates of cancer and heart disease.
  • New research has also found that eating meat can cause the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract to produce a compound that may lead to clogged arteries.
  • It’s easier to loose weight since plant-based diets generally have fewer calories than meat-based diets.
  • Eating a plant-based diet is healthier for the planet, our one and only home. An article in Scientific American discusses the greenhouse gas effect from raising meat.
  • Eating a plant-based diet is healthier for your bank account, as it’s generally much less expensive than eating meat.
  • Animals raised by large agribusiness are inhumanely treated, not to mention pumped full of antibiotics and steroids that can make their way into your own body.

Although I’ve been vegetarian/vegan for over 25 years (I do eat fish, so I guess I’m really a veg-aquarian!), I realize that a plant-based diet is not for everyone. I know people who can’t even comprehend how to make a meal that doesn’t center around meat. Many people also worry that they won’t get enough protein if they don’t eat meat. The truth is that most Americans eat way more protein than they actually need, which can ultimately be hard on your kidneys. Here is a link to help you calculate your daily protein needs.

If you would like to start eating a plant-based diet for your health, or any of the other reasons mentioned above, here are some ways to get started:

Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet

  • Try out “meatless-Mondays” and leave meat off your plate one day a week. Eventually maybe try leaving meat off your plate 3-4 days a week.
  • Eat your salad and other greens or veggies first and pay attention to how full you really are. Maybe you’ll only feel like eating half that steak.
  • Fill up on other healthy proteins such as legumes, quinoa, nuts, and seeds. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 8 grams of protein.
  • When you do eat meat, try to ensure that it’s free-range, organic, or wild-caught. This will be gentler on the planet, and kinder to the animal in the end.

Plant-based Recipes

Here are some vegan recipes to kick-start your eating a plant-based diet. Let me know which recipes are your favs once you try them out.

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