Plant Based Diet –The Key to Better Health
People look at me like I have 2 heads when I mention a “plant-based” diet. All kinds of visions of tree hugging hippie vegetarians spark up (lol I guess I may belong to this). But frankly, the plant-based diet has gotten a pretty bad rap for decades. Why? Because since the 1940’s there's been big business in the meat and dairy industry and big money they don't want to lose. They have pumped Americans to believe that the only way you can get calcium and protein are from meat and dairy. Not true! This misconception has lead to the epidemic health obesity and chronic disease problems we are seeing today. We are sicker and fatter than any other country in the world!
Take a look at how we eat. Most Americans fill their plates with a huge piece of meat (way over the recommended 4-6 Oz) as their main portion. This is done, not only once a day, but 3 times a day! That is not what humans were meant to consume. I do agree we are omnivorous however we are doing the protein thing to excess. Interestingly, though, other omnivorous species, including ancient man, normally ate whatever was either available or in the season. Therefore, man (until now) ate meat very rarely. Remember it takes a lot to go out there and kill something and dress it to eat. it (no supermarkets).
We were mainly hunter-gatherers and most of the meat was reserved for the lords and elite. Note that they used to be the people most plagued with the chronic disease back then (gout, obesity, arthritis gut issues). Most peasants lived off potatoes, rice and beans, corn and other starches and plants as that was all they could get their hands on and cultivate. There’s even an article in National Geographic about the real Paleo diet. Nothing at all what it's thought to be today.
So here we are in modern America. What’s happening is we are lead to believe that starches and carbs are evil and make us gain weight, so we avoid them and stack our plates with tons of meat, eggs and dairy. This is where we go wrong. We are eating way too much animal protein which the average body cannot handle, and it stores this excess as fat. In addition to that, animal protein contains enzymes not found in plant foods, which creates inflammation in our bodies. Research is finding that inflammation is the #1 cause of chronic disease and cancer.
There are sources that state that some people do thrive on more animal protein than others (blood type diet ), but even so, the research of that diet ultimately states:
In a large observational study of 1,455 young adults, eating a type A diet (lots of fruits and vegetables) was associated with better health markers. But this effect was seen in everyone following the type A diet, not just individuals with type A blood (9).
This recent video shows how Kaiser Permanente (one of the largest managed care organizations) is now advising physicians in their network to recommend a plant-based diet for their patients. This move was based on research showing results of lowering of cholesterol, high blood pressure, lower the risk of diabetes and cancer, maintaining a healthier weight which can decrease the incidence of chronic disease.
From personal experience, I can firmly say the plant-based diet changed my life. I have monitored my blood work for the last 3 years and since I switched to a plant-based diet. All my numbers improved dramatically. Three years ago I had started taking Statins for my high cholesterol but started experiencing all kinds of side effects, so I got off them. My thyroid medication was also decreased since my change. Now my cholesterol overall number, as well as my LDL/HDL, are way better the normal makers. I also no longer experience symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I have more energy, sleep better and lost the belly fat and bloating I used to have.
Hey, I get it, you like your meat, and that's fine, you can have it. Just do it in moderation. Here are some tips:
- Limit the amount of meat to no larger than the size of your fist (4-6oz), and try to make it organic.
- Limit the red meat to once a week,
- Try to eat the animal protein once a day (not 3 times).
- Enjoy whole grains, healthy starches, beans and legumes and lots of veggies and fruits instead.
- Avoid ALL processed foods. Buy whole foods in their natural state.
It may hard at first, but after a couple of weeks, you will actually no longer crave all that meat. You will begin to feel and look better and that will give you the incentive to keep going!