A plant-based diet is focused on foods from "plant sources" or consuming "mostly" or "only" foods that come from plants. Sounds impossible to you? It is not.
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.
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.
A plant-based diet also focuses on healthy, whole, unprocessed, natural foods. Not processed foods.
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?
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.
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.
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:
Diabetes (Type 2)
Hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol)
Hypertension (High blood pressure)
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.
See Part 2 in this series on Plant-Based Diets for all those foods and more.
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.
Make the switch to a plant-based diet now.
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.
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.