Welcome friend and Certified Natural Health Practitioner, Christine Roseberry.
Almost two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past thirty years. Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in America, with stroke and diabetes not too far behind. Those are staggering statistics. But, interestingly all these diseases are all linked to an unhealthy diet. As a result, many are discovering the benefits of a plant-based diet. Yes, making healthy changes to your diet can be one of the biggest means of preventing and reducing your risk of disease. In his book The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell proves that a diet rich in whole plant-based foods is ideal for humans. In fact, it actually proves that it is a significant contributing factor to a longer, healthier life.
Plant Based Diet
The plant-based diet has been shown to prevent, reverse and even halt various diseases, especially the ones mentioned above.What exactly is a plant-based diet? A plant based diet focuses on, you guessed it, whole plant based foods, both raw and cooked.The main sources of nutrition are vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and some whole grain and legumes (if you so choose). It eliminates processed and refined carbohydrates, oils, meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish.
Cholesterol only comes from animal based foods, not from plant-based foods. Our bodies naturally produce cholesterol, so it is not necessary to obtain it from our diet. Whole plant-based foods have a wide variety of vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, which help keep the body strong and strengthen our immune system. They also contain abundant fiber, which has been linked with reduced risk of cancer. hey are also excellent sources of disease-fighting phytochemicals, which help protect the cells from damage that can lead to cancer. It is these phytochemicals that give the produce their deep, vibrant color. In fact, it is important to eat a wide variety of those colors because each has their own nutritional value. Over all, the whole food plant based-diet provides superior nutritional value.
What we choose to put into our bodies has a tremendous impact on our energy levels, our physical activity, even our emotional and mental outlook, not to mention our environment. By eating a whole foods, plant-based diet we promote the best health not only for ourselves but also for our planet. We use less water, less land, fewer resources, which produce less pollution and less suffering for the animals.
Vegan or Vegetarian
Many opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet, either for health reasons, concerns for the environment, or other ethical reasons. A lacto-ovo(ovo=egg, lacto=milk; cheese, etc.) vegetarian is one who eats milk and eggs. A lacto vegetarian does not eat eggs, but eats dairy products. An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy products. A vegan on the other hand, avoids all animal or animal derived products, including honey. Vegans also avoid products that are tested on or made from animals, such as leather, or anything else that has exploited animals.
Being a vegan or vegetarian doesn't always ensure one is eating a healthy plant-based diet. In fact many regularly consume high amounts of refined foods or junk foods in the diet along with high fat. Raw food vegans, those who consume the majority of their food raw, focus on lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
Scientific research shows health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decrease. The amazing health benefits that come from a plant-based diet are extensive but some of them are:
- Look and feel younger
- Abundance of energy
- Improved sleep quality
- Ideal body weight
- Astrong immune system
- Lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels
- Alleviate constipation
- Prevent and reverse chronic diseases
- Live longer
Getting started on a plant-based diet may seem daunting at first. Just remember to take it step by step. You can start by simply adding more plant-based meals into your diet. Then add more plant foods into the meals you are already eating. Initially, focus on adding the whole foods in your diet rather than what to eliminate right away, as that will come. Then try cutting out meat for at least one meal a week, in the meantime adding fresh veggies or salads to your meals. I started by changing my breakfast to some sort of fruit meal every morning, either a smoothie or fruit salad, or just whole fruit. Whatever method fits you just remember, new habits take time to form so go at your own pace, and make sure to keep it enjoyable.
The key is not to go hungry. Make sure you feel satisfied after each meal. If you feel deprived or starved you will not enjoy the transition. As long as you are eating the right foods, you can eat as much as you like and you will still see great results and you won't gain weight. Start collecting new recipes and looking at cookbooks either on-line or at book stores to give you some creative ideas. For healthy plant based raw recipes click here.
Be prepared and keep a stocked kitchen with healthy snacks and fresh whole produce ready, so you won't find yourself lapsing into old habits. So why not start at your next meal by adding some veggies, a big green salad or cut up fruit. Remember you can take charge of your health now! Even if you choose to eat some animal products, by incorporating more plant-based foods in your diet, you will still find benefits.
About the Author:
Christine Roseberry, is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Natural Health Practitioner with a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. She is the founder of Justglowingwithhealth.com an online resource for natural health and nutrition, health tips, raw foods, and recipes.
You can also find Christine here on Facebook.
Campbell, PhD., T. Colin and Campbell II, Thomas M.: The China Study. Dallas, Texas: BenbellaBooks, pgs. 225, 239-240.