Why Go Plant-Based? It’s Not a Diet. It’s a Lifestyle, for When Health Comes First
Why go plant-based? The answer is simple: Health. If you want to live your healthiest life, now and later, switch from a diet that is heavy in meat, poultry, dairy. and fish and instead focus on eating as many fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds as possible. It's not hard, and once you get the hang of it, there is no big sacrifice involved.
When you start to eat a more plant-based diet you realize it's easy to do and delicious – and you will start to feel so much better. In a matter of days and weeks, you'll experience less inflammation, less IBS, more natural weight loss and fat burning – and feel a whole lot better about your choices as a consumer in relationship to animal welfare and the environment.
Note: You don't have to go vegan or even fully plant-based to see the difference and achieve health benefits. The more plant-based you go the better, but even 85 or 90 or 95 percent is enough. That means if you eat 21 meals in a week and you have 19 or 20 of them as plant-based you are getting nearly all the health benefits from a plant-based diet that you need.
There are so many versions of nut-based dairy-free cheeses, almond or oat milk and non-dairy creamers, ice creams, meatless burgers and clean-tasting veggie burgers that are delicious and healthier for you. Now, going vegan or plant-based offers you the chance to start exploring a whole new part of the supermarket, and there are thousands of vegan recipes that allow you to make your favorite foods in vegan versions. Once you start to explore this world the possibilities are endless.
Why Should You Go Plant-Based: For Health and the Environment
The reasons to go plant-based (or eat more plant-based foods): first, of all your own personal health, and for the sake of the health of the planet, and yes, perhaps most fundamentally, the welfare of farmed animals. Here are the top 3 reasons for going plant-based now. If you want to try it, we've created a Beginner's Guide that makes it easy, fun, and delicious. It's all laid out in the Beginner's Guide to a Plant Based Diet. It includes recipes, tips, where to get your protein, whether you should take a B12 supplement – everything you need for one week.
Health Benefits of Going Plant-Based
As if the pandemic didn't teach us enough about the importance of taking care of ourselves, we all need to think about ways we can be a little healthier every day. That means getting optimal sleep, exercising our bodies (even if it's just going for a walk) and switching up our diet from the Standard American Diet full of junk food, saturated fat and low in whole foods, to one that focuses on eating the healthiest foods we can find
That last part "healthiest foods we can find" has been up for debate, since the meat lovers will tell you they need animal products for protein, but the truth is that when you eat plant-based you get all the protein you need from the same place the animals do: Plants. Yes, plants have protein, and plenty of it.
1. The Best Diet for Your Health: Mostly Plant-Based
The Mediterranean diet is known to be heart healthy, so most people get to that level and think "I'm doing just fine." But doctors, including respected cardiologists, will tell you that studies have found the healthiest way to eat is not that (which includes oils and fish and some animal products such as cheese) but what they are now calling the Green Mediterranean Diet, which is essentially a diet of whole plant-based foods that is high in antioxidants, rich in fiber, and gets its protein from vegetables and legumes, whole grains like quinoa, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Why does the American College of Cardiologists (ACC) and The American Heart Association (AHA) continue to recommend both? It’s because “America typically eats crap,” says plant-based cardiologist Joel Kahn, MD. “The Mediterranean diet is healthier than a meat-based diet.” But if you want to be your healthiest, he adds, go fully plant-based and give up saturated fat, found in cheese, dairy, meat and animal products.
In other words, doctors as a group are being practical—bad habits, especially bad eating habits, die-hard for many people. Healthcare professionals want to see some improvement. But ultimately, how you choose to care for your heart isn’t up to your cardiologist. It’s up to you, and you can do better by choosing low-fat, plant-based eating.
Studies: If Longevity is the Goal, Switch to a Mostly Plant-Based Diet
There are studies upon studies, that show eating a diet high in plant-based foods and low in or with zero animal products such as red meat and dairy benefits your health and reduces your risk of disease such as heart disease. The first mechanism that provides a benefit is that plants are full of fiber, which animals do not have. By delivering more fiber with your fuel, it serves to keep blood sugar steady, and avoid a surge in insulin that signals it's time to store fat.
When you fuel your system with a healthy blend of complex carbs from whole grains and legumes, and unsaturated fats from olives, avocados and other plant sources, you lower your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, as well as certain cancers, which are among the top killers of Americans.
Eat to Lower Your Risk of Disease
There are more studies coming out every week that show to lower your lifetime risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers (including breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers and those linked to hormone-sensitive tumor growth such as uterine cancer), a diet lower in animal products and higher in plant-based whole foods is best.
Disease is often associated with chronic inflammation. And Inflammation has been linked to meat, dairy, and especially processed meats. So ditch the meat and dairy.
Studies show that lowering chronic inflammation on a cellular level s key if the goal is to avoid chronic diseases, hypertension, and ill-health. To keep inflammation in check eat a whole food plant-based diet full of vegetables, fruit, legumes (think: protein-packed beans), heart-healthy nuts, and seeds. You get plenty of protein in these foods. When you combine these foods with lower oil intake (especially coconut oil which has saturated fat) you can keep your markers for heart disease in check.
In a sweeping research study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the data found that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of not just heart disease but of "all causes of mortality" in a general population of middle-aged adults.
In other words, everyone can benefit from this way of eating, not just those who have heart disease. When you think you’re eating healthy, you have to ask yourself, “Is my diet the healthiest it could be?” If you aren’t eating mostly plant-based whole foods, new science tells us: You could be doing better, to be your healthiest.
It only takes 4 weeks to see the results on a plant-based diet
It only takes one month to change your body's heart-healthy markers! One month is enough to see significant drops in measurable health indicators like cholesterol, blood pressure and lipids in your blood. In a study of 31 participants following a low-fat whole-food plant-based diet, in just four weeks:
- Significant reductions were observed for high blood pressure
- A drop in serum lipids, often a precursor to plaque and blockage
- A reduction in total medication usage and some took no meds at all
Other cardiovascular risk factors improved: Weight loss, smaller waist circumference, lower resting heart rate, and all blood markers for heart disease.
2. The Second Reason to Go Plant-Based: It's Better for the Planet.
The climate-change deniers can all go live on Mars. For the rest of us, watching the Amazon burn last year, and rain forests routinely get cleared for farming–at a rate of 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees per year makes us wonder, What can I do?
Viewing Sir David Attenborough's A Life on Our Planet, makes us believe that anything we can do to reduce our carbon footprint is a good thing. That starts with what we eat. The now 94-year-old plant-based BBC producer and documentary narrator believes that he has stood witness over the decades-long ravaging of our natural wildlife, spaces and, many species, including our own.
How did this broadcaster become a planet hero? Back when he was 28, Attenborough was working for BBC when he convinced his bosses that he should be traveling the world, reporting on animals. Now, Attenborough is looking back at all the exotic trips he has taken only to realize that those lands are no longer the same. “Wherever I went there was wilderness… you could fly for hours over the untouched wilderness." Now, areas that once were vibrant and colorful like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, "look like a cemetery."
He recently implored his fans to change their diet for the sake of the planet: "We must change our diet. The Planet can't support billions of meat-eaters. If we had a mostly plant-based diet we could increase the yield of the land."
We can choose plant-based proteins over animal ones to minimize the effect of animal agriculture on climate change, since reports have confirmed that raising livestock requires exponential amounts of energy, land, and water (and produces more man-made carbon emissions than any other industry) compared with growing and raising plants. Every time you skip the chicken on your salad and opt for the chickpeas instead, you help the planet.
3. When You Make the Switch You Just Feel Better About .... Everything
Everyone gets to live their life by their own mores and values. The only thing is that when you begin to skip meat and dairy and opt for plant-based meals you feel better about your personal choice. The truth is we all love animals, respect the planet and want to live a long life, as healthily as we can.
We all care about the home we share as Planet Earth, and when you eat plant-based or as much as you possibly can, you align your consumer decisions with your value system. I won't delve into the unsavory topic of "meat processing plants" formerly known as slaughterhouses, though I respect Sir Paul McCartney and Joaquin Phoenix, Edie Falco, and others in the public eye for raising awareness for the cause of animal welfare and against factory farming.
The place most of our meat comes from today does not look anything like the old fashion farms of our grandparents' days. Eating plant-based is part of the desire to be your personal best.. If you are tempted to try it out but don't know where to start, the Beginner's Guide has everything you need to succeed.