Plant Based Diet: Great for Weight Loss and Health

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Get Thin and Improve Your Appearance

Are you considering a plant-based diet? Now more than ever more and more people are going vegan, even if it’s only for a few days a week. A plant-based diet is in vogue. It’s now the cool and the sophisticated way to eat your way to optimum health, eat your way skinny and eat your way to a healthier, more youthful appearance.

Improve Your Health

Food that’s high in meat, fat and sodium and low in fiber is linked to an increase of chronic diseases, but the more plant foods in your diet, the more likely you’ll avoid obesity and illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers, say health experts like Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., (Forks Over Knives Diet).

Live Longer

You’ll also probably live longer choosing plants over animals. When you cut back or eliminate animal products, you gain “more health-promoting nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients,” says Sharon Palmer in the July 2011 Environmental Nutrition article “The Power of Plants in Your Diet.”

Help the Environment

A plant-based diet is also good for the environment. These foods have a lower impact on the earth than meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. Eating only one to two vegetarian meals a week is more effective than driving a hybrid car in terms of global warming, states an October 2010 scientific report from the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (Palmer).

Following a Plant-Based Diet

  • Plant Based DietIt’s fairly easy to follow a a plant-based diet. Stick to a diet of mostly plants such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes rather than a diet that consists of mostly meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. Use plant-based oils like olive oil sparingly, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Fill your plates with mostly vegetables, fruit and grains instead of meat.
  • Avoid processed food, fast food, sugar and white flour. There is a correlation between the increase in processed, junk and take-out food and the increase in obesity. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Over the past thirty years, the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases in the U.S. has risen sharply. Since the early 1970s, the share of children age 6 to 19 classified as overweight has more than tripled, from 5 percent to 17 percent, while the share of adults classified as overweight or obese rose from half to two-thirds of the population. Over this same period, the number of fast food restaurants more than doubled.” The Bureau states it’s difficult to establish an empirical, causal link between obesity and fast food; however, the multi-billion dollar food industries that profit from low-cost, processed, empty nutrient foods certainly hope you won’t figure out how the food they manufacture is affecting your health.
  • Whenever possible choose organic foods to reduce exposure to pesticides. Organic foods also have more flavor. If you cannot afford to buy all organic produce, choose judiciously. Fruits and vegetables treated heavily with pesticides include apples, nectarines, peaches, cherries, grapes, spinach, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Fruits and vegetables low in pesticides include mangos, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwis, bananas and onions (foodnews.org).
  • Consider eating a plant-based diet every day. Many people are finding the best way to lose weight is vegan weight loss.
  • Always check with a doctor before changing your diet. 

Plant-Based Diet for Beginners

It may be difficult to change overnight from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. Many people start by going vegan one or two days a week, and experts say even if you eat vegan a few days a week, you’ll still improve your health and probably lose weight. Here are a few ways to switch meat meals for plant meals:

  • Instead of eggs and meat for breakfast, blend a frozen banana with a few other fruits and add some almond milk.
  • For lunch try raw vegetables with hummus. Hummus comes in many different flavors like olive, lemon, cilantro, and tomato.
  • There are plenty of different soups you can create from vegetables and legumes for dinner. Legumes have protein and they’re filling. Have a serving or two of nuts for desert.
  • Consider juicing some meals. Juicing for weight loss is becoming quite popular, especially among vegans. It’s also an excellent way to get more healthy nutrients into your diet.

References:

“Do Fast Foods Contribute to Obesity?” National Bureau of Economic Research.

Forks Over Knives. Documentary. Directed by Lee Fulkerson.

Palmer, Sharon. “The Power of Plant in Your Diet.” Environmental Nutrition. July 2011, Vol. 34 Issue 7, p1-4

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