Plant Based Whole Food Eating is one of my goals for this year. Interestingly, you know how when someone mentions 'red cars,' for example, you start seeing them everywhere? Well, I can tell you since I've started eating more plant based it seems as if everyone is doing it, Maybe not quite everyone but certainly a lot of people, and information is popping up everywhere.
Eating more plant-based and whole food simply means putting a focus on eating foods primarily from plants. This includes fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. We will discuss further in future articles but note for now that the fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are good choices. When you think of adding Whole Foods to the mix, think avoiding as much processed food as possible, cutting out sugar, and eating as much "farm to table" as you can. For me and because of my coronary heart disease, I'll add heart healthy to the mix as well. It should be noted that not all plant-based whole foods are heart healthy. I know, this adds to the confusion but rest assured that the majority of plant based/whole food eating is heart healthy.
DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF EATING
In addition, just for your knowledge, there are different categories of plant-based eating. For example,
- The Mediterranean Diet focuses on plant based foods but also includes cheese, eggs, fish, poultry, and yogurt a few times a week, with meats and sweets less often.
- The Semi-vegetarian or Flexitarian way of eating includes eggs, dairy foods, and only occasionally meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
- The Pescatarian diet includes eggs, dairy foods, ﬁsh and seafood, but no meat or poultry.
- Vegetarian eating , or lacto-ovo vegetarian, includes eggs and dairy foods, but no meat, poultry, fish or seafood.
- Vegan eating is the most strict. It includes no animal foods. Another note of importance is that not all categories of eating above add whole foods (aka farm to table) to the mix. I believe this is very important to whichever way of eating YOU choose.
The Nutrition and Some Science
Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and are often higher in fiber and phytonutrients. However, please note that some strict Vegans may need additional B12 Supplementation.
Nutrition Research shows — The Mediterranean diet has been shown in both large population studies and randomized clinical trials to reduce the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers (specifically colon, breast, and prostate cancer), depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function.
Vegetarian diets have also been shown to support health, including a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and increased longevity.
The common denominator in all cancer prevention diets is also plant-based nutrient dense eating. Therefore, why not give it a try?
More Science information supporting plant-based whole foods eating coming in future articles ...
Plant Based Eating is the New Black
My wake up call to eat more plant based began in the beginning of December 2019. You can read all about it here. However, I first learned about plant based eating in College (many moons ago). What I remember is that at that point in time because Nutrition was such a 'baby science,' we didn't know if the benefits of eating this way would stick. In addition, it was kind of 'hippyish' to be eating this way.
Well, it certainly turns out that the benefits are real and proven. Dr. Dean Ornish has been teaching all theses health benefits for years. He shows that science bears out that eating plant based helps prevent certain diseases; and eating Vegan is the only way to reverse some diseases, coronary heart disease in particular.
So I didn't adopt the plant based style of eating after college but because of everything I was learning, I did start eating healthier and exercising. Even though I did not eat a lot of meat, I did eat chicken, fish, veal, etc. I was eating more of a Mediterranean Diet style of eating. However, if I truly review my past eating habits, I can honestly say I have never eaten enough fruits and vegetables. My guess is that you don't either. I would even venture to say that the majority of people don't. So how can you improve your eating? Start eating more plant based.
You Can Make Some Healthier Changes Too
I'd like to suggest that you become the CEO of your own health and start taking control of your wellness. The physical wellness pillar is the easiest place to start. I’m not suggesting you need to go totally Plant Based Whole Foods, although if you do it’s fabulous! What I’m suggesting is that you get as close to the Plant Based Whole Food way of eating as possible. In other words, make that your goal. That’s exactly what I’m doing. My goal is to eat at least 80%-90% of all my meals and snacks Plant Based Whole Food. If I get higher than that, yay!
Think about this— it's a great time in history to begin eating healthier and more Plant Based Whole Food. Restaurants offer more plant-based choices, stores have tons of options for us, and there are simple, delicious plant based sauces, dressings, etc. we can use to jazz up our meals. We will also discuss some wonderful Home Meal Delivery Services that focus on Plant Based Whole Food choices too.
The next step is to show you how to make eating this way easier so you don't feel overwhelmed. I'll write up some ideas and suggestions that are helping me not only eat so much healthier this way, but have a lot of FUN doing so. In the meantime, start adding some fruits and vegetables to your daily meal plan. Keep track of how you're doing with this tracker I developed just for you!
Here's to Your Health!
P.S. You can read the next article about whole foods plant based eating here.