The adoption of a plant-based diet has become popular over recent years due to the beneficial health findings that result. The release of movies such as, “Food Inc.” and “Forks Over Knives” also have been an influencing factor. These films depict the hazardous environments livestock live in while promoting the health and wellness one can expect when eating more fruits, vegetables, and grains.
When perusing the internet, it is easy to find a plethora of websites and blogs devoted to starting and maintaining a diet centered around plant based foods, including recipes and facts on health benefits. The most significant benefit seen in these studies is the reversal of numerous diseases. According to mindbodygreen.com, a diet rich with greens has the ability to reverse and fight off diseases like inflammation, anxiety, depression, lupus, and diabetes.The book, The China Study, currently has the most research done on the subject. The book studied numerous countries in China, their diet and its effects. Summed up, the book reveals that a plant based diet prolongs life. According to Tim Buyers, a professor of preventative medicine at the University of Colorado, “the science base is very strong that fruits and vegetables are protective for all the gastrointestinal cancers and all the smoking related cancers.”
Other benefits one can expect from this type of diet are glowing skin and less acne; because vegetables are hydrating, they keep skin looking fresh. Additionally, the riddance of constipation is allowed, since over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and laxatives can be tossed away. Along with being animal-friendly, the USFDA says vegan and vegetarian diets are the healthiest diets due to low cholesterol and lowered health problems.
Plant based diets also benefit the environment. According to rawfoodsolution.com, 20 vegans can live off the same amount of land as it would take to feed one meat eater. Also, assembly line meat factories consume large amounts of energy and the runoff pollutes our water supplies. They also generate a significant amount of greenhouse gases, according to writer for the New York Times, Mark Bittman.
We aren’t here to say that the only way to eat healthy is to eliminate meat from your diet, but merely a suggestion to reduce consumption and see what benefits you gain as an individual. A common term for this is “flexitarian” which basically means reducing the amount of animal products consumed on a weekly basis. It also means switching to grass-fed meats and staying away from those raised in concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs. CAFOs house animals that are pumped with hormones and antibiotics, and you will be able to differentiate with the labels found on packaging.
It is easy to substitute a few meals a week with alternative proteins like high fiber, high carb legumes, which are known for their satiety and ability to help maintain weight and energy. Smoothies are also a good option because they are delicious, quick, and high in protein. Many athletes maintain top physical condition on vegetarian and vegan diets, so why not give it a try and see what all the hype is about?