Plant-Based Eating: What, Why, & How

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People are often curious about my diet, wondering what I eat versus don’t eat and why.  Well here it is… I follow a “mostly” plant-based eating lifestyle. I say “mostly” because who doesn’t enjoy a treat here and there!  🙂

So what is a plant based diet?  I would sum up the description with the famous quote by food writer, Michael Pollan, as stated in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto — “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 1

Eat Food.

But if you want to get really specific, according to the folks over at forksoverknives.com, a whole foods, plant based diet incorporates a wealth of fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, and grains. This way of eating focuses greatly on whole, unrefined, minimally processed plant foods. A plant based lifestyle aims to reduce (or eliminate) meat, dairy, eggs, refined foods (bleached flour, refined sugars, and oils)2. It may sound complicated but I promise it’s not.  Basically if it’s from a plant and has minimal processing and recognizable ingredients on the label, it’s plant-based diet approved.

Since I love reading to learn more about the things that interest me, I naturally gravitated toward books & research when I wanted to find a long-term solution to manage my weight and upgrade my health. {Read my story here}.   All of my readings led me to a plant-based eating approach.  Check out a few of my favorites and recommendations here.

{ Two guiding principles I have taken from everything I’ve read are: }

#1 Eat more vegetables &  #2 Eat less processed foods

 

Why should anyone eat this way?  Well because it can save your life that’s why. Do those two principles above really seem THAT hard to follow?  It may take some work on your part to be intentional and not fall back into old habits, but soon enough it becomes second nature. My body actually craves fruits and veggies!  But as with any major lifestyle change, you cannot stay motivated (or even get started) unless you have good reason for doing so.

Here are the top 3 reasons to follow a mostly plant based lifestyle:

  1. Good for animals 
  • By eating this way you are showing that you do not support animal cruelty.
    • Best practices tip: Even if you are not a vegan & enjoy animal products, try to buy products from animals that have been humanely raised.
  1. Great for the environment 
  • Large amounts of grain are grown just to feed animals, but we would save so much water and other energy resources if the grain produced was used to feed humans instead3.
  • Producing just 1 pound of beef requires 15 pounds of grain4.
  • Animal products are among the highest producers of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere5.
  1. Even better for YOU & your body
  • Helps prevent disease (& can in some cases reverse it)! Eating a plant based diet can help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lower blood pressure & cholesterol, help with weight loss, digestion, and inflammatory diseases6.
  • Improves your overall health & wellness by providing more antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber 7.

Good for animals

 

 

How do i actually incorporate this into my life?  Personally, I follow the “80/20 rule” by eating the whole foods, plant-based way 80% of the time and allowing for a few treats (fish, eggs, some dairy & even desserts) 20% of the time. I believe embracing a mostly plant-based eating approach is one of the best things you can do for your health and the environment but I also believe in balance. I know if I am too strict on myself I will not have a healthy relationship with food and be miserable. Listen to your body and adjust your dietary habits accordingly. Everyone is different. Find what works for you but always keeping in mind the two plant based principles.

{ A TOP TIP for anyone interested in taking the first step toward a plant-based approach }

Work toward adding 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your day

(at least 3 servings should be veggies + 2 servings should be fruit)

 

Got it? Good. Now go try it out! Be sure to comment with your results and experiences.

 

P.S. —  I’m opening up 5 spots for lifetime membership into my Wellness Club & what better way to get started?! So if you are in need of some help kickstarting your journey to health and happiness contact me. I’d love to provide some guidance & support and plug you into a whole community of love & accountability <3

– x o x o –  

a little bit of


| References |

1 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/In-Defense-Food-Eaters-Manifesto/dp/0143114964

2 http://www.forksoverknives.com

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/plant-based-diet_b_3807973.html

4 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger/

5 http://report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf/

6 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/reasons-to-choose-a-plant-based-diet/1

7 http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/

 

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Quit Dieting & Get Healthy

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I was a girl that loved chocolate milk, bread and butter, and the Double Decker Supreme at Taco Bell (hold the tomatoes). My parents tell me I was a pretty big candy addict too, throwing tantrums if I didn’t get my sugar fix. I remember eating McDonalds for lunch almost every day my senior year of high school. On the rare occasion that I had fruits it was usually strawberries dunked in sprinkled with sugar, because I didn’t think they were sweet enough otherwise. I was a picky eater, not caring for anything “green”—you know, like broccoli, spinach, avocados—or any other fruits and vegetables for that matter.  I was completely ignorant about nutrition and the implications it can have on a person’s health.

When I started college I was tired of struggling with my weight and confidence; being unable to keep up with sports, and dealing with asthma. I was now independent and completely responsible for what I ate. I decided to get “healthy.” Unfortunately my definition of health was so far off. I though healthy meant skinny, as so many misinformed women think today. I went on a calorie-restricted diet and incorporated a lot of cardio. Of course I lost weight this way, but in no way was I healthy. I was tired! Mentally and physically I was dragging. I was excited to finally wear a size 2 but that excitement quickly faded when I realized this diet was not sustainable and was depriving my life of so much joy. I would panic thinking about my next meal or going to a social event. I cycled from eating whatever I wanted, then feeling guilty and trying to cut calories for a few days to “make up the difference.” My weight fluctuated as a result.  It was not until I found the book “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins that my life changed and I quit dieting. Today I stand firm in the truth that food is not fear, it is fuel.

Any diet that deprives your life of joy is not a healthy one.

I learned about plant based eating. Reading all of the evidence based benefits and research this type of lifestyle promised made it all the more alluring. I decided, after reading that book, that I wanted to feel my very best, be healthy, and heal my relationship with food. I began focusing on eating more whole, unprocessed plant foods by incorporating fruits and vegetables into each meal and snack. { More on this in an upcoming post}. It took some trial and error and a lot of listening to my body, but eventually I learned what foods I thrived on and which ones did not work so well for me. It’s been 4 years now, and I continue to follow this way of eating pretty consistently. This time I wasn’t following a diet, I was changing my lifestyle.

Lifestyle (2)

These are a few of the benefits I experienced as a result:

  1. I haven’t used my asthma inhaler in 3 years
  2. My taste buds changed (flavors are so much bolder to me now)
  3. I fell in love with fruits and veggies, which I previously despised
  4. Feel stronger and more energized
  5. I don’t get sick as often (or as severely)
  6. Healthy relationship with food
  7. I have found balance by focusing on overall wellness- physical, mental, emotional
  8. Reduced cravings
  9. Renewed confidence
  10. I’m not afraid of that scale!

MybeforeAfter

Today I can confidently tell you I am on a growth path. I completed a course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to receive my certification as a holistic health coach. I’m constantly learning about nutrition, finding ways to continually improve my own health, as well as help others find ways to positively change their health.

____________________

I hope sharing my story will inspire you to learn more about health and wellness, and as a result make some positive changes in your own life. If you’re looking for a little guidance I’m happy to help just {click here}.

*** Please share your story and/or thoughts in the comments below or email me at PrescribingHealth@gmail.com ***

Look out for more great content coming soon!

Until next time, a little bit of


[ Always check with your physician before making any major dietary changes or increasing the physical demands on your body. ]

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