Healing through a plant-based diet
Over the last five or so years, people have begun to talk about following a plant-based diet. This diet can refer to anything from what we used to call veganism all the way to a diet that is partially vegetarian, but may include fish, poultry, or other animal meats, and everything in between. But, it represents a shift in focus from the some-times political discussions that vegan or vegetarian diets often provoke. Instead of focusing on problems in the food production and supply chain, it focuses on what you can do to improve your health by shifting your diet.
What is a plant-based diet?
Any diet rich in plant foods can be referred to as “plant-based.” At some point around 2011-12, more and more dietitians and other health care professionals began to refer to a range of diets this way to help them focus on health benefits with their patients. It also gives us the opportunity to implement gradual changes, which (for many) may be much simpler than a sudden, dramatic change. Our bodies adjust better with slow and steady change. When you follow a plant-based diet, you shift your own focus to thinking of foods as sources of health and wellness, and your food choices are one way to heal yourself! You can begin the healing process by choosing more of the plant foods you love!
What are the health benefits?
A study published in The Permanente Journal in 2015 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315380/) showed that a plant based diet may decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Following such a diet may also aide in weight loss (http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672(14)01763-8/fulltext). So, just simple changes to your diet may help you avoid certain types of heart disease and loose weight! But, an earlier study also found that following such a diet was associated with a reduction of up to 20% in the risk of type 2 diabetes! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4907448/).
We are also learning from these studies that the quality of the foods makes a difference. These studies have shown that choosing an apple over 8 ounces of apple juice is a more healthy choice. Avoiding refined grains such as white rice, and replacing with riced cauliflower or quinoa are also healthier plant-based choices.
Where are you on the spectrum? Still eating mostly meat and potatoes? Somewhere in between? In our next blog, we’ll learn about easy choices to make on a daily basis to help you make healthier dieatary choices!
In future blogs we’ll look at:
- Eating a plant-based diet
- Plant Based Diet – Meal ideas
- Plant based diet – Fiber
Be sure to come back soon, learn and share.
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