I’m just a few days in on eating a whole foods, plant-based diet and have been asked numerous times what that REALLY means and why I would consider it for myself. Whole food, plant-based dieting is one that is free of any animal products and implements very little processed foods. A processed food is typically something that is made in a factory, and often has ingredients added to it that lessen the nutrition quality of the food. (example: cereal, energy bars, fake meats).
Here’s my top 10 reasons of why I’m trying a whole foods, plant-based diet:
A whole foods, plant-based diet is extremely beneficial for your health. Research shows that eating more vegetables and avoiding animal products helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and even reverse the effects of heart disease. Have high blood sugar? Type 2 diabetic? A plant based diet can have benefits for you too. Dr. Michael Greger expounds on this in great detail in his book “How to Not Die” and you can visit his website nutritionfacts.org for more information.
It’s a great way to shed some extra pounds. My decisions on how I choose to eat are rarely rooted in weight loss or body goals. I typically make choices on what I eat based on how I want to feel and the quality of what I am eating. I do try to avoid eating foods with crappy ingredients or things that will possibly make me feel crappy. With that said, many who choose to eat a plant-based diet experience weight loss as they are consuming less processed foods, and intaking more fiber via vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
It’s better for the environment. Animal products produce a TON of environmental waste, impact our water supply, greenhouse gas emissions and more. For more information on this, highly recommend the documentary Cowspiracy.
Better digestion and gut health. Plant-based eaters experience better digestion and gut health as they are typically ingesting more high fiber foods than their non vegetarian counterparts. Fiber helps digest your food, control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels, and normalize bowel movements.
Clearer skin. This was one of the reasons why I decided to give plant-based eating a try. I’ve been navigating adult/inflammation on my skin and understand that reducing dairy intake can really help improve one’s skin.
Less expensive. Let’s face it, animal products are expensive, especially if you are buying grass-fed, organic, or supporting local farms. My initial grocery shopping haul for my first week of a plant-based diet was significantly less expensive than planning for a week that had meat and dairy on the regular meal plan.
Cleanse your palate and curb junk food cravings. The holidays always does a number on my relationship with junk food and snacking. I tend to overindulge on the holiday cookies and candy and my sweet tooth rears it’s ugly head. Eating a plant-based diet, especially one that is not highly processed, can help cleanse the palate and break up with those junk food cravings.
More energy, more mental clarity. I’m really excited to see the impacts of this! Because plants are easier to digest, help control blood sugar and lead to less bloating, you’ll see less of the highs and lows that come with eating animal products. Ever eat a good old slice of pizza or a cheeseburger and feel like taking a nap after? Ever wake up in the middle of the night with stomach pains because you overindulged on hot wings? I’m excited to skip out on that and see how my body responds to the change!
It pushes you to experiment and try new recipes! In other seasons of life this would have overwhelmed or intimidated me, but I’m looking forward to trying new flavors, recipes and experimenting in the kitchen! It will open my eyes to a different way of cooking and approaching foods.
Better athletic performance and recovery. The Netflix documentary: Game Changers did an excellent job on following high performing athletes, military leaders, scientists, etc and assessing the impact of animal foods versus plant based foods on performance, injury, recovery and more. As an active person who enjoys cycling, running, weight lifting, and more, I’m excited to see how it impacts my workouts.
Have you ever tried implementing more plant-based meals into your diet? Come visit me over on instagram where I’m sharing recipes, tips & tricks on the daily!
Links and resources below:
Dietary fiber: essential for a healthy diet
Netflix Documentary: Cowspiracy
How to Not Die by Dr. Michael Greger
Netflix Documentary: The Game Changers