Hi again. Welcome to this next article in the series of the best lifestyle practices where today I am going to recommend that you eat mainly a plant based diet.
Let’s quickly recap on the previous healthy lifestyle practices:
Now another big step for you today. They just keep coming. I know intermittent fasting will have got you to take a leap of faith and required you to make a big change in your lifestyle. Surely the reason you’re here is to change the lifestyle you’ve been living for a long time, and it’s down to the fact you’ve not been happy with your health and worried about the future, so you knew big changes were required.
I want you today to cut out all animal products. That’s meat and dairy. Now I know what a major change I’m asking you to make. Like I once was you are probably a big meat eater. Most meals will feature red or white meat, and dairy features a lot in your diet. Yet I assure you from a health perspective this is an important change that will protect your body and your health more than probably anything else. You will find that a plant based diet will do wonders for your health!
Take a look at these articles that go into a little more detail than I will in this post.
What you put into your body affects how your body functions as well as how you feel each and every day. Good nutrition built on a plant-based diet, helps to detoxify the body and support its natural healing process. There is compelling evidence showing the negative effects of digesting animal products and so this type of diet is going to help your health in a big way.
A plant-based diet does not have to mean giving up animal protein completely. Let me explain.
My recommendation is for you to eat predominantly a plant based diet made up of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and pulses such as beans, and limiting meat, poultry, fish, dairy and all processed foods, but with some leeway.
Let me introduce you to a term that you’ve probably never heard of – FLEXITARIAN. A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat or dairy products.
So stick to a plant based diet 5 days a week, and then reintroduce some meat and dairy over 2 days. I suggest you limit this to no more than 2 servings of meat and one of dairy, but I leave you, for now, to experiment for yourself.
By combining fasting and eating mainly a healthy, plant based diet, you can attain a fantastically healthy life. It’s a fact that Vegetarians enjoy lower levels of blood cholesterol, less obesity, less hypertension, and fewer other problems than people whose diet includes meat.
Before I learnt the dangers of eating meat my diet was full of piles of beautifully browned sausages, the perfectly grilled steaks, the crisp, delicious bacon, mixed grills and way too many eggs.
But now I know that Vegetarians live six to 10 years longer on average than meat- eaters do. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases and the three biggest killers – heart disease, cancer and strokes.
The risk of developing heart disease among meat-eaters is 50 per cent higher than it is among vegetarians. Our rich, modern diet has been associated with contributing towards many chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, hardening of the arteries, and diabetes.
More and more evidence seems to be pointing the finger at our diets as being the cause of much of the misery and chronic illnesses many of us are experiencing. The saturated fat and cholesterol in beef, pork, dairy foods, poultry, and eggs cause about 63,000 fatal heart attacks annually.
Making this dramatic change has undoubtedly contributed in a big way to the dramatic improvements in my health.
So, if good health is a priority for you cutting out what causes problems in the first place: meat, eggs, dairy, fish, processed oils, and processed foods surely makes sense. You have control over your diet every day, and you can choose what goes into your mouth. Choosing a plant based diet can be extremely powerful in your quest to stay healthy. You may find that after you make the switch to this diet, you start to feel better, lose weight, have more energy, and sleep better.
A Plant based diet excludes anything that is derived from an animal e.g. meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood), eggs and dairy (cheese, yoghurt, milk, ice-cream, cream).
But if you are cutting out meat and dairy, what’s left for you to eat?
You will be eating whole, plant-foods both raw and cooked, in their whole, unprocessed form such as vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas, chickpeas, etc.), nuts, seeds, and grains (rice, quinoa, barley, oats, etc.).
Vegetables are rich in a vast number of health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins A and C, many B vitamins, and fiber. Vegetables can also be excellent sources of calcium and iron — nutrients often associated with animal foods. Eat a variety of colors to ensure you’re consuming a wide array of nutrients.
Unlimited, yet aim for a minimum of seven servings a day, including at least two servings of leafy greens.
Fruits can be rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Choose whole fruits over fruit juice, which is void of fiber. Like vegetables, eat a variety of colors to get the greatest array of nutrients.
Two to four servings a day.
3. Beans, Peas and Lentils
Beans, peas and lentils (also known as legumes) are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Eat a variety of legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, and organic soybeans (called edamame).
Aim for two to four servings a day.
4. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, calcium, and healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. Eat nuts and seeds like walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, flax seeds, or sunflower seeds in small amounts — only a small handful a day — as they are high in calories. Providing important nutrition, nuts and seeds are also very energy dense.
Up to one or more servings per day, as compatible with your health, weight, and activity level.
5. Whole Grains
Whole Grains Whole grains are grains that have not been processed to remove the highfiber bran and germ, which contain much of the protein, vitamins, and minerals. Whole grains are excellent sources of B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, zinc, iron, other minerals, and a multitude of phytochemicals; these last are naturally occurring chemicals in plants. Many of those substances are largely lost when grain is refined, leaving mostly starch behind. The best way to eat grains is in their most whole form, like brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley, oats, and corn. Whole grains can also be eaten in the form of whole grain breads, tortillas, and pastas, although these processed choices are less nutritious.
Seven to twelve or more servings a day as energy needs demand.
Let me give you some of my favourite examples of meals you can eat.
Grain Brunch Bowl – brown rice, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and artichoke hearts, olives, sliced avocado, topped off with mixed herbs and tablespoon of seeds.
Stuffed Peppers – peppers cut in half length wise and seeds removed filled with brown rice or quinoa mixed with onion, garlic, mushroom, spinach, kidney beans, sun-dried tomatoes soaked in tomato sauce
Vegan Black Bean Tacos – corn tortillas filled with black beans, diced red onion, diced tomatoes, diced romaine lettuce, salsa, avocado, hot sauce
Pasta with Spinach, Green Beans & Tomatoes – whole grain penne pasta with fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, fresh basil leaves, fresh mint, garlic.
Hummus and veggies wrap. Wholemeal tortilla filled with hummus, kale, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and olives, lemon juice.
I hope that this list will make it easier for you to stay on track with eating healthy! I have a load more plant-based meal ideas and will share these with you over time.
I know I’ve piled you up with some massive lifestyle changes. Do yourself a massive favour and commit to making these changes and trying them for the next 14 days. I have absolutely no doubts you will see some remarkable changes.
Scaling back on meat, processed foods, dairy and sugar and filling up instead with vegetables, whole grains and fruits will have health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart disease and preventing cancer and diabetes. You’ll lose some weight, sleep better and boost your energy.
So surely it’s a no brainer to give it a go.
This article is part of a series and these are the others in the series so far:
- Lifestyle Practices Essential For A Healthy Lifestyle
- Lifestyle Practice One: Drink at least 2 litres of water daily
- Lifestyle Practice Two: Sleep for 8 hours a night
- Lifestyle Practice Three – Get Physically Active
- Lifestyle Practice Four – Be aware of what you actually eat
- Lifestyle Practice Five – Intermittent Fasting