Is a Plant Based Diet Actually Healthy?
Updated: Aug 19, 2023
The short answer is YES. The more and varied plant based foods you can eat in a day the better you are long term! The best plan is to fill your plate with as much whole plant based foods as you can! Fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, nuts etc. If you want meat on your plate then limit that the best you can! I tell clients to shoot for 90%+ of your food intake to be plant based! In one week you should try to eat 30+ different plant based whole foods. Included in this is spices and herbs!
More info on why vegetables are so good for you is in my blog post: What is the Number One Vegetable for Weight Loss?
The longer answer as to if a plant based diet is healthy lies in the fact that most junk food is vegan but not healthy for you. Many are laden in unstable and heated vegetable oils which are full of free radicals, GMO ingredients and high in Omega 6 fats. All which increase hidden inflammation in your body!
Mistakes that those on a plant based diet make:
Eating highly processed foods
Too many calories
Too little nutrients - Again, try to eat 30+ different plant based foods a week
Eating based on convenience
Marketing is a controlling force in our world and many food producers throw that Vegan label on their products to get more market share and trick people into thinking they are eating healthy. In the end they are just getting over processed meatless burgers, snacks and desserts.
So look at the labels of your favorite plant based foods and make sure they have as little ingredients as possible. I look for products made with avocado or coconut oil over all the other vegetable oils. Being allergic to dairy I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality and limited ingredients list of vegan cheeses!
Lastly you want to make sure you vary your plant based diet as to get all protein and thus the essential amino acids you need for:
muscle growth & repair
boost your immune system
break down food
Make hormones and chemicals
provide an energy source
Maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails
sustain a normal digestive system
Essential amino acids (broken down proteins) are the ones your body does not produce on its own and thus must be eaten. While most animal products contain all the essential amino acids, a varied plant based diet can do the same. There are several plants that have all the essential amino acids in one food:
For athletes, companies like Body Health make essential amino acids workout supplements which again is broken down protein but with an almost 100% utilization rate.
Calculator: How much protein do you need in a day? click here
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