This seemed like a great topic to write about since people are interested in learning how to incorporate more plant foods into their diets. Although I am not a vegan, I mostly consume plant based foods and enjoy animal products in moderation.
I choose this way of living because it allows me to find a vast array of nutrients to balance my nutrient intake while never really feeling deprived of anything that my body needs. It is better for the enviroment to eat less meat products also, so I opt to enjoy them on special occasions or on a monthly basis in small amounts. I prefer choosing hormone free, free range, grassfed, wild caught or organic when purchasing animal foods.
I’m also inspired to write about this topic as I’m on day 1 of my Nutrition Purification Group Program; where for 21 days a group will experience the wonderful benefits of completing, with me, a guided elimination diet which is mostly plant based.
For most of us, a typical meal includes the meat and carb dishes as the main dishes with some vegetables thrown in on the side. And when we eat out, most menus offer over portioned, processed meals. The truth is that such meals are low in real nutrient density (nutrients).
Many scientific studies have proven the link between many health issues (diabetes, heart problems, inflammation, stroke) and the consumption of excessive animal products and processed foods. Instead of these unbalanced meals, I suggest is that we make plant foods the forefront/mains on our plates while consuming a variety of clean, minimally processed and complex carbohydrate.
Research by (Tuso et al, 2013) suggest the healing power of plant nutrition while demonstrating that plant based diets are cost effective, low risk interventions that may lower BMI, blood pressure and blood lipids and that this diet should be recommended by physicians to all patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, CVD, or obesity.
While it does take time to cure diseases through a vegan diet, it does not necessarily mean that one needs to abstain from animal products forever, but for a prescribed amount of time until inflammation subsides and then to practice consumption of small, portion and quality controlled amounts.
So, what is a plant based diet?
A healthy plant based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient dense plant foods while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods (including dairy products and eggs). It encourages lots of vegetables, beans, fruits, peas, lentils, soybeans, seeds and nuts (in smaller amounts of up to 2 oz) and is generally low fat. If coronary disease is present, animal products like egg whites and some dairy can be consumed in small amounts.
What to be aware of?
Poor meal planning habits leading to poor nutrition choices.
Overeating gluten rich breads, refined carbs and processed vegan replacement foods, excessive snacking on potato chips and other snack items.
What is a healthy balanced diet look like?
The goal is to get a balance of all 7 essential nutrients and regularly eating from a variety of as fresh as possible foods, such as:
Protein: Lentils, Split Peas, Pinto beans. Some vegetables have small amounts of proteins. Wild caught sea food in small amounts (RDA 1-2 servings / week)
Carb: Sweet potato, Quinoa, Beans
Fat: Olive oil, Coconut oil, Seeds
Vitamins: Fruits and Veggies
Minerals: Veggies, Grains, Beans, Sea food
Fibre: Fruit, Veggies
Water: Drink lots of water and warm water is great!
Just think simply – mostly plants and as close to nature as possible.
How to take the first steps to a Plant Based Diet?
Visit your local and farmers’ markets more often.
Try a Meatless Monday (This is where I started while in University) and later in life began to practice more days of meatless while still enjoying small amounts on less occasions.
Buy our vegan and gluten-free Vital soups!
Come to the Vegan Food festival this weekend!
Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you and your family make healthy changes in your life through my group and individual nutrition programs.