An introduction to plant-based nutrition

What is Plant Based Nutrition?

Plant based nutrition focuses on eating a diet of unprocessed plant based, whole foods. It excludes all meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs as well as processed sugar and refined carbohydrates. However, it does include all the fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains this beautiful planet has to offer. The main emphasis is on fresh fruit, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash, legumes like chickpeas and black beans and of course whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats etc. These are all fibre rich foods that keep us feeling fuller for longer while nourishing our bodies with all the necessary nutrients it needs.

We have to keep in mind that this is a lifestyle as apposed to a temporary diet. Which means we should also include regular exercise in order to keep our vital organs functioning optimally. I can assure you that once you adopt this way of life you will notice improved energy levels as well as enhanced mental clarity, which in turn will help encourage you to get active.

Why?

Over 40 years of studies have shown that eating a whole foods plant based diet can reverse chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Living this way will lower your chances of getting these diseases, and in turn also help the health of the planet. By choosing to eat a plant-based diet you directly contribute to reducing the impact of environmental issues caused by the meat and dairy industries.

How?

It may seem difficult in a world where a meal isn’t really considered a meal if it doesn’t have some form of meat in it. I believe it’s about taking your time and adjusting your eating habits, trying new recipes and adding more plant based foods to your shopping list. It’s a journey of discovering new foods you may not have eaten before, finding what we like, substituting certain foods in recipes, and understanding the relationship between our overall health and what’s on the end of our forks.

I had been a vegetarian for 4 years before I decided to cut out dairy, which took me about 6 months to do. And it was only until I started a course in plant-based nutrition that I decided to finally cut out eggs. I did it in my own time and I feel like I now have a solid foundation to sustain this lifestyle. Once you start looking into it, there is just too much research showing the benefits of this lifestyle to ignore!

If you feel like you need more of a structured plan to motivate you the Forks Over Knives Plan (http://www.forksoverknives.com/fokplan/) is a great place to start. It offers clear instructions and meal plans to help you make the transition into a plant-based lifestyle in 4 weeks. It was written by medical doctors with the help of health and fitness experts and all the information is backed by decades of scientific research. If you haven’t already watched the Forks Over Knives documentary, which the book is based off, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is curious to learn about the ample benefits of this lifestyle.

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