Why Choose a Plant-Based Diet?

Have you ever considered moving to a plant-based diet?  I can hear some of you say, “No way!” But what if you have to move, for health reasons? Would you move to a plant-based diet, if you have to?

By a plant-based diet I mean completely vegan – i.e. no meat (including fish), no dairy, and no eggs. Admittedly, it can be challenging and takes getting used to – especially, if meat is a staple in your diet.

Why opt for a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is sustainable whilst livestock is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

In her book Plant-Based Cookbook, Trish Sebben-Krupka, refers to the United Nations’ 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Sebben-Krupka, quotes the report as saying, meat and dairy account for 70 per cent of global freshwater consumption, 38 per cent of total land use, and 19 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

A plant-based diet is also clean when compared to the meat industry.  The amount of meat recalls over the years suggest serious problems within the industry.  Livestock farming is increasingly being linked to antibiotic resistance – a serious threat to human health.

What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
Cardiologists recommend a plant-based diet for the prevention of heart disease.  This diet is also linked to the prevention of a number of illnesses, such as, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and a host of other diseases.

Besides, a plant-based diet helps you control your weight, gives you healthy skin and hair plus plenty of energy.  What more could you ask for from your diet? Who would not want to feel and look good?

What do you eat?

wfpb-food-pyramid (1)

Nowadays a quick search on the Internet gives you plenty of ideas for vegan recipes.

A vegan diet consists of:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans etc.)
  • Whole grains (basmati wholegrain rice, kamut, farro, quinoa etc.)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, chia, flax seed, hemp etc.)
  • Meat substitutes (organic tofu, tempeh and soya products)

How do you become a vegan?

Unless you are very determined, you do not become a vegan overnight.

Start by making small changes to your diet.  Replace one meal a day; go with whole foods as much as you possibly can.

Plan your food. Clear out your larder and stock up on beans and pulses, rice, and other grains.  Cook ahead and keep a stock of raw fruits and vegetables (frozen fruit and veg are also good for you and can be used in cooking).

Increase your plant-based meals as you go … until you achieve your goal.

Trish Sebben-Krupka says, “If you fall off the the plant-based wagon, just dust yourself off and start again the next day.”

Finally a quote from Albert Einstein (Nobel prize 1921): Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

My thanks go to:

Plant-Based Cookbook by Trish Sebben-Krupka
Time for Change
Jamie Oliver – Vegan
Web MD
Image – Carla Golden Wellness / The Wall Street Journal

How to ‘eat clean’

‘Clean Eating’ is trending in the world of nutrition.  It is not a fad diet; it’s a chosen lifestyle and celebrities like Katy Perry and Gwyneth Paltrow are two of the many fans supporting this trend. So, what is ‘clean eating’ and how is it good for you?

Definition of ‘clean eating’?

Put in simple terms, ‘clean eating’ is the consumption of unprocessed food.  ‘Clean eating’ consists of whole food – real food – from its origin to your plate.

clean-eating-pyramid
Clean-eating Pyramid

It does not mean eating only raw food.  Some whole foods benefit from cooking because it removes toxins and kills bacteria.  However, with the exception of food like white meat (which needs to be cooked through), it is best not to over-cook your food cause you lose out on nutrients.

What are the benefits of ‘eating clean’?

Plant-based diets are good for you.  And ‘clean eating’ is mainly made up of fruit and veg.

A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables

  • helps in reducing / preventing high blood pressure
  • prevents type 2 diabetes
  • prevents cardiovascular disease
  • helps you maintain healthy weight
  • gives you glowing skin and healthy hair

Is that a good enough reason to ‘eat clean’?

How do you ‘eat clean’?

If you would like to ‘eat clean’, avoid processed foods. ‘Eating clean’ begins at the supermarket.

Processed foods are stripped of all nutrients and they

  • contain salt or sugar or both
  • may contain fat
  • may contain flavouring
  • contain preservatives (those words difficult to pronounce or those E numbers)
  • contain added vitamins

Carlos Monteiro, professor at the Department of Nutrition at the School of Public Health, University of Sao Paolo says, processed foods claiming they contain “less fat”, “less sodium” or “vitamin enriched” are bad for you.  This is the manufacturer’s cunning plan to make highly-processed food look ‘healthy’.

“The key is to avoid foods that are ‘ultra-processed,'” says Jessica Fanzo, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the Columbia University. ” … basically, anything food-product-like or ready-to-heat.”

Foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are also a big NO NO! GMOs are linked to cancer and infertility.

Just in case you’re not put off by processed foods yet, bear in mind that additives in highly-processed food make you crave junk food.

What is considered to be ‘clean’ food?

‘Clean’ food is unprocessed food such as fresh fruit and veg, dried legumes, nuts and farm-fresh eggs.

In addition to the four groups of unprocessed food above, you can add the following food which is slightly processed

  • unrefined grains – as in wholewheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice
  • frozen fruit and vegetables
  • unprocessed meat
  • hormone-free dairy
  • oils

Organic food can be costly.  But when possible choose organic to avoid pesticides, hormones and chemicals in your food.

Wild and sustainably-caught fish have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Whilst grass-fed livestock is also rich in omega-3 fats.

If you are unsure of the origin of your food, ask where it’s coming from.

How do you cook ‘clean’?

Cooking ‘clean’ is easy.  The secret is – keep things simple and avoid fats.

Dos and don’ts

  • avoid sauces and gravies; go for simple olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice
  • do not deep fry
  • do not stew using animal or vegetable fat
  • do not over-cook your vegetables to a pulp
  • stir-fry or steam your food

You  will soon learn how to appreciate the good taste of ‘clean’ food.  Sauces and gravies musk the taste of your food and increase your waist line.

Food portions play an important part in your ‘clean eating’ lifestyle.  Do not over-eat; aim to have three fifths of your plate full of veg, one fifth of protein and one fifth starchy carb.

And you wondered how celebs look good?  Now you know how … enjoy!

My thanks go to