You may know the obvious benefits of plant-based products, i.e. plastic-free and affordable Gaia Guy goods, but are you aware of the well researched and proven benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet?
Although, Veganuary is a noble cause, going vegan might not actually save you money or be that much better for your health.
It’s a fat fantasy to think that you can eat highly processed plant-based fake meats, vegetable oils and other tasty vegan junk food and think you are getting all the health, environment and financial benefits of becoming plant-based.
The purpose of this nutrition post is to tell you the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Not only you but perhaps your physician too! It is incredible but most doctors receive only a few hours of nutrition training.
This is relevant to mention as many doctors still think you need meat and dairy to get proper nutrition and this has been proven time and time again to be untrue.
Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity. Source
What does eating this way consist of?
Anything that you could grow in a garden and put in your mouth either raw or after cooking it. This means filling your belly on potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, rice and whole grains. These should make up the bulk of your calories. Huge satiation with low calorie density.
To complement these use herbs, fresh and cooked greens, tomatoes and some nuts. Some processing of these in a blender to make soups and stew and sauces is totally acceptable and couldn’t be easier.
The biggest benefit of switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet is just how easy and fast it is to prepare meals.
Boil up some potatoes (or sweet potatoes), carrots, beets and pumpkin in a pot and make a tomato based sauce with herbs, salt, pepper, chili powder, turmeric, some nuts, mustard in a blender. I often add some other greens in that to make a nice thick sauce and then pour over the big pot of veggies and simmer for 5 min or so. Total time properly around 20min and I have a huge pot that I can eat for different meals over the next 2-3 days.
If you really want to get lean on a plant-based diet while still building strength then be sure to get enough calories from complex carbohydrates mentioned above and beans, beans and more beans.
There are a plethora of beans to choose from and if you start with a cup divided in two meals and work your way up you should be able to enjoy these without feeling the bloat or waking the neighbors with your human horn.
You really shouldn’t see fat people who eat an exclusively whole-foods, plant-based diet, because it is just so hard to pack in that many calories to cause obesity.
The trick is not stuffing your face with nut butters (or too many nuts), processed fake meats, dried fruit, calorie dense and fatty foods like avocados and for sure no oils. I don’t cook with oils and neither should you. There I said it. It’s a bold claim but oils don’t do a darn thing for you except give you empty calories and tight jeans.
Cook stews, soups or make sauces using some cooked beans, nuts, spices, vinegar and some water and there you go.
This may be the least talked about and most talked about point for vegans. What I mean is you'll hear countless people say "Where do you get your protein?" but never stop to consider "Where do you get your cancer?.
Most people have grown up to believe you need meat for protein and milk for calcium. The myth of protein combing still persists even though it was proven to be completely false.
There is no need to consciously combine different plant proteins at each meal as long as a variety of foods are eaten from day to day, because the human body maintains a pool of amino acids which can be used to complement dietary protein. Source
What’s more, it is likely excess protein that turns on cancers. If we need protein to build muscles and grow then we really should have been far more worried in our world of excess of the dangers of getting too much protein.
Hard to say it much better than the folks over at PCRM:
People from ages 50-65 who ate high-protein diets were four times more likely to die of cancer – this is in the ballpark of smoking risk, say the authors – compared to people who ate low-protein diets. Source
Plant protein is the most beneficial source. A study published in 2020 found that replacing red meat with high-quality plant proteins such as beans, nuts, or soy may be associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Another recent study found that eating plant-based protein from sources such as bread, cereal, and pasta instead of animal protein reduced the risk of death from heart disease by up to 12%. Research published in BMJ also shows that plant-based protein reduces risk of early death from any cause and from heart disease. For each additional 3% of calories from plant protein the risk of dying lowers by 5%. Consuming animal proteins did not lower risk of death from heart disease or cancer.
Evidence shows that diets high in animal protein can actually lead to early death. A study published in 2019 found that those who consumed more meat and protein from animal-based sources in place of plant-based sources increased their risk of death from chronic disease by 23%. Another study found that participants who ate the most animal protein had a fivefold increase risk of death related to diabetes. Those younger than 65 who ate the most animal protein had a 74% increased risk for death from any cause and a fourfold increase in death related to cancer.
If you’d like to dive deeper into why a whole-foods, plant-based diet is the most sustainable and the cheapest, head over to this post.
Love to hear how your journey is going so leave a comment if you are so moved to talk about what benefits you get from living a plant-based life.
Oh and remember to take a B12. It's a trade-off, I guess but I'll take that over other drugs to "fight" hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases that plague meat heavy diets.