What is a Plant based diet?
Here is a description from the Forks Over Knives Website, which is a great resource if you are new to a plant based diet.
“A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.”
- Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.
- Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.
- Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.
- Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, etc.
- Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, Lima beans, cannelloni beans, black beans, etc.
There are many reasons that people eat plant based. For some, it is more than just about food, it is about living a healthy and kind lifestyle.
I personally eat plant based for a variety of reasons, health being the top of the list. Eating a healthy plant based diet is a lifelong work in progress. I am never perfect in my eating habits and am always working towards being the healthiest I can be. I sometimes eat too much of foods which are not good for me even though I know it. I dont beat myself up too much about it because no one is perfect, and I wouldn’t want to be anyways!
Here are some reason why people may want to eat plant based foods, foregoing animal foods.
Many in depth scientific studies have shown that plant foods are essential for your body and mind to be at their healthiest. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains have all been shown to help you live a longer, happier, healthier life, free of disease and other ailments. Studies also show that animal foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs, are detrimental to your health, contributing to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, and a long list of disease and ailments. But don’t take my word for it, do your own research! I am just a blogger. There are many peer reviewed scientific studies, books, and literature out there that can make you a more informed consumer!
This can mean anything from not wanting to kill animals because you think it is morally wrong, to not agreeing with the unnecessary torture of animals before consumption.
The raising of livestock for consumption takes a lot of land water and other resources, and contributes to global warming. Many believe that reducing our consumption of animals will help preserve out environment and natural resources on many levels.
Every time you purchase a product, you are saying you support the product and the company behind it. Think of it as a vote. By purchasing animal products from these big companies, you are supporting companies that have a lot of pull in government policies. This includes a number of policies including which foods are subsidized, what foods go in school lunches, and policies of the FDA.
Some myths about plant based diets.
“It is all salads, and you really have to sacrifice.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth! There is a massive variety of foods you can eat that are plant based. You will most likely eat a larger variety of foods on a plant based diet, than a traditional “Western” omnivore diet. I eat all my favorite foods including pizza, pasta, soups, desserts, sandwiches, Mexican cuisine, Indian cuisine, Asian cuisine, and much much more!
“You can’t get the protein you need.”
For some reason, this is every omnivores go-to statement for why you shouldn’t be vegetarian. This just comes from being misinformed about protein as a whole, how much protein we need, and where we can find protein. You can easily get protein from plant sources including avocado, beans, nuts and seeds, non dairy milk, and grains.
“You can’t get the calcium you need.”
Calcium can be readily obtained by consuming dark leafy greens, and fortified non dairy milks.
“All vegetarians are animal rights activists.”
I love animals, its true, probably more than most. I see no difference between eating a cow and eating my dog. The difference is only one made up in our minds. As a student of the environment and ecology, I don’t believe that animals eating animals is wrong. Many species on this planet consume other species. It is the circle of life. The difference between humans and most other species, is that we over consume and waste, causing unnatural, and unsustainable disruptions in our ecosystem. We have also consumed and wasted a lot more food in the last century, than in the thousands of years before it. I also find it unnecessary to torture animals before they are consumed.
Our world is a big place, containing many cultures. I would never expect everyone to adopt a plant based lifestyle. There are places where the resources available are just not conducive to eating only plants. As someone who lives in a 1st world country, with an excess of resources including food, I feel that not being part of the problem is who I want to be.
Here are a few resources for you!
Some of my favorite Veggie Food Blogs! There are really so many!
Here are some great books!
Here are some helpful websites!
Heres a some great video lectures from Dr. Neal Barnard