Hi, Somi here! I’m so excited that you’re curious about the plant-based way of eating. I have been eating this way for over 18 months, and I can whole-heartedly tell you that it has transformed my health and the way I think about food.
Over the next five days, you will learn about
- the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet
- the plant foods that provide essential nutrients including vitamin B12, calcium and iron
- the foods to eat in abundance, and those to avoid/eat sparingly and
- alternatives to your non-vegan staples
You will also receive a sample 7 day meal plan to kickstart your new plant-based lifestyle. Let’s get the ball rolling!
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
Reduce your risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
Heart disease, diabetes and cancer are the leading causes of illness in today’s society. Research now points to diets rich in animal products, processed foods and saturated fat as crucial risk factors for these conditions.
Whole, plant-based foods are naturally low in saturated fat, but rich in vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants. These health-promoting compounds efficiently lower your risk of developing these diseases. Some studies even show that whole, plant-based diets, when eaten consistently, can reverse diabetes and heart disease.
Shed excess fat and maintain a healthy body weight
Whole, plant-based foods have a lower calorie density than foods of animal origin. They are also naturally low in fat and rich in fibre. These characteristics mean that you can eat a lot more plant-based foods, feel satisfied and still consume much fewer calories compared with an animal-based diet.
The EPIC-Oxford study comparing the body mass index (BMI) of vegetarians, vegans and non-vegans showed that vegetarians and vegans, have on average, much lower BMI’s than non-vegans. The vegans who achieve weight loss effortlessly tend to eat diets that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. They also tend to eliminate free oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil etc. from their diets. Instead, they rely on the whole food, i.e. coconuts, avocados, olives, and nuts and seeds for healthy fats.
Unlike other eating patterns where you gain weight and lose weight sporadically, a plant-based diet facilitates a healthy body weight. The same way you eat to lose excess weight is the same way you need to eat to maintain your new weight. Yoyo dieting essentially becomes a thing of the past!
Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal well-being.
Boost your immunity
Inflammation and oxidative stress are the major underlying causes of disease. They are the primary reasons why we suffer from minor conditions like allergies and more severe conditions such as asthma, cancer, diabetes. Diets rich in animal-based products are rich in inflammatory compounds like omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids increase the inflammatory status of our bodies by promoting the production of other inflammatory compounds that facilitate disease.
Whole foods plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and flavonoids like quercetin that significantly reduce the production of these inflammatory compounds and prevent oxidative stress. A whole foods plant-based diet, therefore, keeps you healthy from within by boosting your immunity.
More energy and mental sharpness
Whole foods plant-based diets are high in carbohydrates. You know that carbs are the fuel that your brain and practically all of the tissues in your body prefer to use for energy.
Your body will receive energy and dense nutrition in plentiful supply with this way of eating. Gone will be the days of sluggishness and fatigue. You will feel more mentally alert, and able to do mentally-demanding tasks for more extended periods. You’ll also notice a vast improvement in your stamina and endurance especially if you perform physically demanding exercises regularly.
You get acne when your skin produces excessive amounts of sebum. The excess sebum causes your skin cells to grow too quickly and block your pores. Bacteria thrive in these follicles, causing inflammation.
Several studies show that dairy, high-sugar, high-fat, and omega-6-rich diets can promote excess sebum production. A whole-foods plant-based diet is dairy-free, low in sugar and fat, and very low in omega-6 fatty acids.
Animal welfare and the environment
Earthlings, Cowspiracy, What The Health, and many others show the awful conditions that livestock animals live in and the brutal manner in which they die just for our consumption. *Earthlings is a very profound movie. I had nightmares for several weeks after watching it, and I regret watching it to date. If you have the stomach for horror, I’ll recommend you watch it. If not, I’ll suggest you skip it.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a large percentage of global greenhouse emissions comes from livestock production. Faecal matter and waste products from livestock farms drain into clean water stores and oceans, thereby polluting our water sources and killing sea animals. Rife with disease-causing organisms like Salmonella and E.coli, this polluted water ends up in the soil where our crops grow.
By adopting a plant-based diet, you will no longer contribute to the suffering of farm animals, and you’ll play a huge role in the preservation of our environment.
In the next lesson, we will delve deeper into what the whole-foods plant-based way of eating entails. We will also cover the types of foods you need to keep in your pantry and those that you should avoid or eat sparingly.
Take Action! Next Steps…
Spend some time thinking about the reasons why you want to change your way of eating and what outcomes you wish to achieve. Think about the possible obstacles you may face and what plans you have put in place (or expect to put in place) to overcome them then share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Sharing will keep you motivated and help you stay committed to achieving your goals, plus you never know who you’ll inspire.