Why You Should Consider A Plant-Based Diet
In the beginning of January, I started a mindful habits series on my Instagram. One of the habits I introduced was to adopt a plant slant. I wanted to do a blog post about the topic to elaborate, because it’s one of my biggest health goals for 2018 and I truly believe it's worth considering. While I’m not 100% vegetarian, I do think that most of us could stand to eat more plant based foods and a bit less meat. The people of America, in particular, consume massive quantities of meat. And as for the quality of the meat? Modern day factory farming practices are horrifying, to say the least and most of us purchase the cheapest meat we can find, which means you’re consuming meat that is not only nutritionally inferior, but also bad for the environment and the farmers trying to do the right thing.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."
There are so many reasons to incorporate a “plant slant” or to prioritize plant-based foods into the diet:
1. Most of the longest living (centenarian), disease-free people groups in the world consume only 1-2 servings of meat per week OR LESS.
Many of these groups are largely vegetarian. Also, servings are quite small, 3-4 ounces each (source) and it seems beans and lentils are the cornerstone of their diet. Most often, meat is treated as a special occasion food. To mimic this, simply reduce your meat consumption and when you choose to eat it, buy only the highest quality, local and pasture raised meat that you can access.
2. Eating a plant-based diet, when done right, lowers your risk for chronic disease and weight gain accord to Harvard Medical School Studies, American Cancer Society and American Heart Association.
Eliminating low quality, processed meats is one of the easiest ways to prevent the obesity epidemic in America. The key here is to make sure that the foods you eat are whole foods, rather than processed junk.
3. It's anti-inflammatory and high in nutrients.
Start eating a variety of organic and fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and legumes. This kind of diet balances your blood sugar curve, improves immune response, increases cognitive function and helps to age gracefully. At the very least, it's worth adding more vegetables to your current repetoire, even if you're not up for decreasing your meat consumption.
4. Plant based diets are one way to lower your carbon footprint.
Plants typically take less resources to produce and help to reduce food scarcity on a global level.“Raising animals for food requires more input (resources, energy, calories) than the output that is produced.” -Institute for Integrative Nutrition
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Have you experimented with adding more plants into your diet, or cutting meat consumption? What are your fears, if you have them?