• Brian Dooreck, MD

Plant-Based 🌱 Diets—Part 1

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

What is a plant-based 🌱 diet? A plant-based diet is one that focuses on foods from "plant sources" or consuming "mostly" or "only" foods that come from plants. Sounds impossible to you? It is not.

Is a plant-based 🌱 the same as a vegan diet?

Some people see this as a vegan diet. A vegan diet involves avoiding all animal products.

Plant-based means "plant" based. As is "mostly" or "only" plants.

A vegan diet involves avoiding all animal products.

Can I eat animal products and eat a plant-based 🌱 diet?

For some, this does not mean avoiding all animal products.

A plant-based diet means for some that that plant foods are the "main focus" of their diet, but they may, occasionally, consume "meat, fish, poultry or dairy products."

For me, that is not the case.

Personally, I grew up without any meat 🥩 fish 🐟 or poultry 🍗. Still living close to that. I’m mostly plant-based 🌱 now. I feel the best that way.

A plant-based diet also focuses on healthy, whole, unprocessed, natural foods. Not processed foods.

Can a plant-based 🌱 benefit my health? Yes. There are clear health benefits in terms of nutritional considerations, not to mention the ethical and environmental concerns share.

Remember food is energy. There is both live and dead matter. There is an energy around food. How do you want to "fuel your body?" What do you want to put inside you?

⛔️ Any restrictive diet obviously should be under the guidance of a medical professional—especially if there are medical comorbidities or medications taken for a condition such as diabetes.

What are some of the health benefits of a plant-based 🌱 diet?

There are many health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Some of the benefits typically seen in those who eat primarily plant-based diets are below.

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How does a plant-based 🌱 diet lead to weight loss and better weight management?

With a plant-based diet, people demonstrate the following.

  • Lower body mass index (BMI)

  • Lower rates of cancer

  • Lower rates of diabetes

  • Lower rates of heart disease

  • Lower rates of obesity

Plant-based diets lowers the rate of heart disease

A plant-based diet is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Both are good and essential to overall health.

Not all "carbs" are bad. You can read more about that from a previous blog post.

There is a notable amount of water in consumed fruit and vegetables. That helps in overall health and weight loss.

How does a plant-based 🌱 diet lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions?

The Journal of the American Heart Association published a study, back in 2019, that demonstrated "middle-aged adults" who ate a "plant-based diet" with a "lower amount of animal products" had a "lower risk of heart disease." The American Heart Association (AHA) states that eating less meat can also reduce the risk of:

  • Cancers (Some)

  • Diabetes (Type 2)

  • Hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol)

  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)

  • Insulin resistance

  • Obesity

  • Stroke

How does eating a plant-based 🌱 diet help with diabetes prevention and treatment?

Plant-based diets can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance. Both insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance lead to lead to type 2 diabetes. Vegetarian and vegan diets also help people with diabetes.

Diet alone can reduce the need for medications and aid in weight loss—not to mention improve lipids (cholesterol), fatty liver, and other metabolic syndrome variables.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

"Metabolic syndrome (also called Syndrome X) includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. The syndrome increases a person's risk for heart attack and stroke." (Mayo Clinic)

What foods would I eat with a plant-based 🌱 diet?

See Part 2 in this series on Plant-Based 🌱 Diets for all those foods and more.

What are some thoughts 💭 from a Board-Certified 🥼Gastroenterologist about a plant-based 🌱 diet?

I support the notion that eating a diet high in plant-based foods—and one without (or very low in) animal products—will have many health benefits.

Those benefits go beyond weight loss and lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

How would I start to eat with a plant-based 🌱 diet?

Make the switch to a plant-based diet now.


Just start.

Or you can start by gradually reducing your consumption of meat, fish, poultry, and dairy. You can try eating with entirely plant-based meals once a week, or every other day to start. Try what works for you. There is no rule to this. Don't wait for perfection or the "right" time.

Or just start by changing out one animal product for a plant-based one. See your grocery store options, usually in the produce section, and refrigerated.

Should I speak to my doctor before I start to eat with a plant-based 🌱 diet?

Consider speaking to your doctor or dietitian before making significant changes in their diet.

⛔️ Any restrictive diet obviously should be under the guidance of a medical professional— especially if there are medical comorbidities or medications taken for a condition such as diabetes.


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.

"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

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