Plant Based Diet
Plant-Based Diet Blog Post

By Ed Shepherd CHC, CPT

Plant-based diet followers get the majority of their calories from whole plant foods, which include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and minimally-processed oils. A meal on a plant-based diet typically consists of two-thirds plant foods and one-third fish, poultry, meat, and/or dairy. A plant-based diet is rich in phytochemicals, which help protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. A plant-based diet has proven to aid weight loss in many cases. A wide variety of colorful plants provide the highest number of phytochemicals and nutrients, ensuring adequate nourishment.

Usually, individuals on a plant-based diet consume less protein than their meat-based counterparts. In some cases, this means reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Many Americans on standard diets consume approximately 112 grams of protein per day, which is much more protein than the recommended amount of 50 grams per day. On a plant-based diet, consuming the recommended amount of protein is easily attainable through nuts, seeds, grains, and dark green leafy vegetables.

A plant-based diet is also thought to be more sustainable for the environment since it requires less energy, land, and water, among other resources.

Foods to include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Some meats
  • Some poultry
  • Some fish
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Some dairy
  • Oils

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed food
  • Sugar
  • Excessive animal protein

Pros:

  • May reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity
  • May promote weight loss
  • May increase quality of hair, skin, and nails

Cons:

  • Some individuals do better with more animal protein
  • May be difficult for those who do not like vegetables
  • Fruit impacts some peoples’ blood sugar, leading to spikes and crashes

Sources: Adopting a Plant-Based Diet: www.healthcare.utah.edu Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment: www.ajcn.org

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