So you want to start eating a healthy, plant-based diet, but where to start?
<—Here’s a great graphic!
(by the wonderful vegan RD, Virginia Messina)
Basically, the #1 rule is VARIETY! Eat a variety of colorful foods. Fill most of your plate with vegetables, including a dark, leafy green. Add some whole grains and fruits and make sure to fit in a protein source with every meal (nuts/seeds, tofu, tempeh, legumes). Also, try to get some omega-3’s (from flaxseed, chia seed, hempseed, etc) everyday.
Everyone and their mother has an opinion about the low carb diet. Does it work, is it bad, good?
Let’s clear something up. Most people who advocate for low carb diets, “paleo” diets, and Atkins diets are not doctors, nutritionists, or people with scientific backgrounds.
Low-carb, Paleo, and Atkins diets are NOT GOOD FOR YOU!
Our bodies need carbohydrates (glucose). For a biological explanation, just open any nutrition or physiology textbook. We cannot run our bodies well without glucose. Sure, on these diets you might lose weight but why is that our only goal? Isn’t the goal to be healthy and feel good?
Supplements. There are so many that claim to do so much. Are supplements something important we’ve been missing all these years or can we get all we need from food?
Well, the answer is complicated.
We should always, always strive to eat in a way that gives us as many nutrients as possible, bringing us as close as we can to the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals. This means eating a whole foods, plant based diet with lots of legumes, nuts, and seeds, plenty of colorful veggies and fruits and healthy whole grains.
As a side note, eating animal products is a waste of stomach space; you get a ton of macronutrients (like fat, calories and protein) but barely any micronutrients.
#1 Rule: If you think you are low on a nutrient, eat more of a food that contains it!!
I am not the biggest fan of conventional western medicine. I am all for folks educating themselves and looking for alternative holistic, natural treatments. However, when scouring the unfiltered internet, it is important to have a critical eye when reading articles or advice on natural healing. Otherwise you might suffer from what is known as “Google-itis.”
Google-itis – the tendency to ignore all conventional medicine or professional advice and instead google your illness, self-diagnose and self-treat in a misguided way based on random people’s blog posts
Many people hear the word vegan and cringe. They imagine barefoot hippies, animal rights punks, strict, disciplined fitness fanatics or some alien combination of all three. The truth is that vegans are everyday people who have stumbled upon the valuable information that society doesn’t make very accessible. What information am I talking about?
Well, for one, most people have no idea about the level of suffering experienced by animals used for foods, nor the deplorable, unsanitary conditions of slaughterhouses (that even “organic” or “free range” animals go to).
Many people are scared of veganism. What you don’t know scares you. Many people think that eating vegan or feeding your kids vegan is dangerous and unhealthy. But, if you ask those people what their degree or expertise is, chances are, they won’t say nutrition.
Even conventional organizations like the American Dietetic Association (newly renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals) say,
“appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
Photo by Zoe Biggs / CC by 2.0
Eating a whole foods 100% plant based diet is healthy, fulfilling, and can meet all your nutritional needs. The average person likely doesn’t know much about nutrition nor what a healthy vegan eats, so here’s the lowdown.
A healthy vegan meal is not the average meal minus the big chunk of meat in the middle of the plate.
It is not the spaghetti minus the meatballs. It is not the hamburger and fries minus the patty. It’s not the pizza minus the cheese. It’s not the small pile of canned peas or the iceberg lettuce side salad.
The SAD diet is really quite sad.
It is the main cause of these terrible statistics for the U.S.:
- > ⅓ of Americans are obese.
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of adults.
- Diabetes is rapidly rising, and could reach 1 in 3 by 2050.
- More than 1.5 million NEW cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2014.
You have a much better chance of being diagnosed (& dying of) one of these diseases than winning the lottery.
So what is the SAD diet? It stands for Standard American Diet. It is what most Americans eat. It is what I ate most of my life. It is meat, eggs, dairy, refined carbs, and maybe just a hint of a vegetable or fruit. This is absolutely a disease causing diet. Continue reading
We are a society obsessed with weight loss, dieting and image. This has a huge detrimental effect on our self-esteem, but sometimes we fail to recognize that it also has terrible consequences for our health.
Don’t be fooled, “diet” is not synonymous with “health.”
For example, we all know that obesity isn’t healthy, but people who are underweight often don’t get enough calories AND nutrients. While you may look thin, your body is suffering on the inside.
What’s to blame for our broken healthcare system and our declining health?
Many would say it is our inadequate health insurance, or the rising cost of pharmaceuticals. Perhaps, it is all the pesticides or the giant marketing budgets of fast food chains.
Yes, all of these things are troubling, but we’re missing a big part of the picture.