Plant based eating? Fad or here to stay?

26 Feb 2014

What is a plant-based diet? Is it just another fad diet? Or is there actually some sense in eating foods that are good for the environment, your heart, your waistline and overall health? Let me guide you through the fundamentals of eating a plant-based diet and allow you to make your own mind up. But don’t be surprised if you find your self-munching down a bag of kale half way through reading this 🙂

So let’s begin…. eating a plant-based diet simply means eating more veggies, fruits, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds instead of animal products and processed foods. The concept of eating a plant-based diet has been around for a long time, however it has been in the spotlight recently with more and more celebrities turning vegan and vegetarian advocating the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. It has been researched that eating a diet rich in plant-based foods over animal products has numerous benefits your health, and could even reverse heart disease.

Easy to stay slim – It is much easier to lose and maintain your weight on a plant-based diet, whereas a diet rich in meat and saturated fats easily builds up your calorie count. Eating a plant-based diet mainly consists of vegetables and whole grains which are much lower in calories, cholesterol and fats, making them the perfect choice when it comes to looking after your health.

Environmentally friendly – Not only is this diet good for healthy but it is also highly beneficial for the environment. It takes about 15 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef and about 5 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of chicken. Due to the high demand for animal products we use a lot of water and energy resources to grow the grain, however if we were to simply just eat the grain we would be saving a considerable amount of energy. Not to mention the greenhouse gases that are created via animal produce, all of which could be considerable decreased by adopting a plant based diet.

Plant-based foods are cheaper now and in the long run – It is a misconception that eating takeaway and fast food is cheaper than buying fresh produce and cooking at home. The cost of feeding a family of four on an animal product and processed food meal is considerably more than eating a vegetable stew with rice, followed by a fruit salad for dessert as a family dinner. This is especially important when everyone’s bank balances are a little bit tight and we are always looking for more ways to save money. Not to mention the savings in health care bills, by adopting this way of eating you are preventing your self from illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, liver failure, bowel cancer and other severe and expensive illnesses.

Animal friendly – Animal cruelty is also another significant reason for eating a plant-based diet. When sticking to a plant-based diet it is important not to consume animal products, fish, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, gelatin or any other animal products. Some people believe that they may not meet their daily requirements for protein, however this misconception is not true, in fact you may find that you exceed your recommended amount as you will be consuming nuts, seeds, beans and other high protein products, with the added benefit of little, to no fat and most of these foods also combine a high fibre content, which contributes to a healthy digestive system.

There are many pros and cons of eating a plant based diet, however it is a lifestyle choice that has changed the lives of millions of people. I personally would recommend trying to incorporate as much plant based foods as possible into your diet, but as an avid poached eggs and smoked salmon kinda girl moderation and balance is key.

Written by: Eshere Ward

@nikkisharp
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