With all the studies hitting the media on a daily basis, it can be confusing for the consumers on what is really healthy for us. One day ‘fat’ is good and ‘caffeine’ is bad and then the next week you will hear the opposite.
Whenever you break real or ‘whole’ foods down into their component parts (carbohydrate, fat and protein, aka - macronutrients) and study them in isolation, on animals, the results can be alarming and confusing. The reality is that we don’t or shouldn’t eat for macronutrients. We should eat the whole food.
As an example, an apple has about 94 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 4.4 grams of fiber, 0 fat and loads of vitamins and minerals. One cup of processed apple juice on the other hand has 114 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber and hardly any vitamins or minerals. All the good stuff has been stripped out in processing and you are only left with what is deemed by manufacturers as a ‘shelf stable’ product.
When studies are conducted to measure the effect of sugar on your system as an example, they are not studying the effects of a whole apple but rather processed foods like apple juice. Whole food, made by nature, is what we were intended to eat. It is the complete package – made for your body.
A whole foods, plant based diet is the way to health. Unfortunately, those studies don’t make the same kinds of headlines. Eating plants, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts may not sound sexy, but over time you are going to look and feel amazing.
5 reasons to eat a whole food, plant based or vegan diet include:
Increased fiber intake
Your body needs fiber. It keeps your plumbing (digestive system) moving and helps all the good guy bacteria grow in your system. Animal products, like meat, eggs, dairy and cheese, do not contain fiber and slow digestion. Fiber is the transport system of the digestive tract, moving food wastes out of the body before it has the chance to form into potentially cancer causing chemicals. These toxic chemicals can cause cancer over time.
Decreased sugar intake
Eating a diet high in natural complex carbohydrates tends to be more filling and decreases the insulin responses in your system. The natural sugars in fruit (unprocessed) do not affect your system like processed sugar does. Those that follow a HCLF (high carb, low fat) vegan diet consume loads of natural sugars and benefit from less hunger and good health. Like anything though, this has been taken to the extreme so be careful and do your research.
Obviously when eating primarily vegetables, a high sugar intake is automatically kept under control due to low sugar content.
Increased nutrient intake
Plant foods are a more diverse source of nutrients than animal products. Just try comparing a cauliflower steak to sirloin steak. Go here to check it out. The numbers for vitamins and minerals can’t compare and nothing has to die to serve our needs – that matters. Over the course of a day or week, eating a vegan diet will give you more nutrients than meat, dairy and eggs and your body will be harmed by all of the cholesterol and saturated fat that come from animal products. Plant foods also contain a higher probiotic and enzyme content, which is key to maintaining proper gut health. A thriving gut encourages proper nutrient absorption and proper elimination of waste, both of which are crucial to achieving a healthy body.
The amazing selection of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts creates literally thousands of combinations. I grew up in a meat and potatoes family where it was the same things over and over again. After you learn to cook (yes, you will have to learn) with whole foods, the possibilities are endless and the boredom of monotonous meals ends. While it can be a challenge at first as learning to prepare, cook and eat vegan can be a daunting, the rewards are worth it. Your body, the plant and the animals will thank you.
Increased satisfaction and decreased over-eating
Vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes (beans) and nuts are dense in nutrients and fiber and require more chewing time. This will result in you taking in fewer calories and filling up faster. Whole foods are naturally less calorie dense so you can eat more, feel fuller faster and reduce your calorie intake. That is what we call win, win and win. Eating a low calorie diet is associated with longevity and optimal health.
Transitioning from a meat centric, processed diet, to a plant based, whole foods vegan diet can be a challenge due to habits and taste profiles that have been created over decades of your life, but the challenge is worth it. You can make yourself virtually heart attack proof and that is all the evidence any of us need. You are worth it. To your health…..
Now that you are on your way, why not show off your vegan pride with a new vegan T-Shirt?