Why I Went Plant-Based
"Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel." - Kevin Trudeau
You'll notice I say plant-based and not vegan. A plant-based diet is essentially the same thing as a vegan diet, however, if you're not careful you could easily be two oreos away from turning into a "junk food vegan." Yes, Oreos are vegan. So are Fritos, Swedish Fish, Pop Tarts, Cracker Jacks...you get the point. So that's why I like the ring "plant-based" has to it. A diet full of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and of course, a ton of fruits and vegetables. What a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet does not consist of is animal products (red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy), highly processed refined sugars and white flours, and hydrogenated oils.
There are about a million different reasons why I believe someone should adopt a WFPB diet which include lowering your risk of major diseases, weight loss, improved digestion, a clearer complexion, and being an overall more vibrant and energetic human! If those things all sound good to you, then keep reading for my favorite reasons to go plant-based!
#1: It's life-changing...and saving!
Eating a Standard American Diet is one of the most harmful things you can do to do yourself and our planet. Heart disease is the #1 leading cause of death in the United States, but did you know that it can easily be prevented and even reversed by following a WFPB diet? One in three Americans will die from the disease, but if we all just ate more plants, that one could drop to zero. Then there's diabetes and cancer. The latter is my number one reason for changing my ways.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I felt like I had lost all control of my life and of my health. It wasn't until I discovered the benefits of this way of eating that I finally felt in control again. (You can read more about my cancer story here!) During my chemotherapy treatment, I completely changed my diet to WFPB, and did not get sick once! I barely took naps, all I wanted to do was learn more about nutrition, and cook yummy recipes following my new way of eating. I felt like I had been let in on this life-saving secret and couldn't understand why more people weren't following suit. I'll never forget, one day I was getting a blood transfusion and almost all of the other people in the room were snacking on potato chips, donut holes, and soda! We were supposed to be making ourselves healthy again...not sicker!!! That was when I decided I wanted to turn this new passion of mine into a career so I could help teach others that with proper nutrition, food could be our medicine!
Since there is no cholesterol in plant-based foods and the diet consists of little to no saturated fat, lowered blood sugar, improved blood pressure and cholesterol are just some of the benefits of following a WFPB diet, and many times the use for medication is no longer needed. Your risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease? Cut in half!
#2: Hello Fiber!
My second reason would have to be all the fiber! As many women do, I suffered from severe constipation most of my life. That is until I changed my diet. The Standard American Diet contains little to no fiber (there is no fiber in meat, fish, dairy and eggs). So when you switch to a diet rich in plant foods, such as beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables you easily accomplish the minimum amount of fiber needed per day (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men) and your digestion is magically improved.
Incorporating healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed are essential for keeping your body regular as well. Drinking plenty of water and making sure to chew your food is also very important!
#3: Weight Loss!
Another great reason to adopt a WFPB diet is weight loss. Or weight stability as I like to call it. I can't even tell you the last time I stepped foot on a scale, and that's coming from someone who used to weigh themselves daily. It's very freeing actually! I also hardly ever look at the fat content of something, but instead read the most important part of a food label: the INGREDIENTS! The less there are the better, and the less refined the better. Which is why when you are following a WFPB diet you naturally start to crowd-out the processed junk with more fruits, more vegetables, more REAL food. Thus, weight loss occurs. Your energy improves, you hair grows faster, thicker, shinier, your skin begins to glow, and you suddenly become a more vibrant, happier version of yourself. Sounds pretty awesome, huh? And the best part is..it is SO simple! Just eat more plants!!!
If you aren't ready to go fully plant-based, start small by participating in Meatless Mondays, or by having greens at every meal. That last one is something I really stress to my clients. I believe that every person should be on a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods, even if that means they aren't fully ready to cut out animal products just yet.
I completely attribute a WFPB diet, along with a positive attitude, to feeling better and stronger now than I ever did before cancer. I hope that you will give it a try and discover the amazing benefits for yourself!
Check out a few of my favorite resources that got me started on my WFPB journey below!