What is the difference between a plant based diet and a vegan diet?
A plant based diet focuses on the health benefits and environmental impacts. A vegan diet focuses on the above, as well as a deep concern for animal rights. So now you know that you know the "skinny" on those terms, lets move to more information on the plant based diet and how it is a way to a healthier future!
There is a lot of solid scientific research on almost every major chronic disorder in diets in affluent countries. Diets that are high in fats and processed foods increases the risk of chronic disorders. Plant based diets are lower in saturated fats and cholesterol and rich in dietary fiber and so are often found to help decrease the risk of obtaining chronic disorders.
The vast majority of major health organizations in the Western world now recognize this link and promote a plant based diet as optimal for health. To look at the most recent U.S. Government Dietary Guidelines click here.
These guidelines have a strong emphasis on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and encourage a reduction in the use of animal products. It is very encouraging to see the guidelines include a vegetarian diet!
Typically people will explore a plant based diet when they learn the benefits of lowering or eliminating saturated fats from the diet may help to improve health issues they may be having, or someone they love is experiencing.
When people begin to eat a plant based food diet some will report that they feel like they are detoxing their body. They recognize immediately that the foods they are eating are lighter on the digestive and circulatory systems of the body.
People will often tell me that they feel more energy and and that they have a sense of well being than any other diet that they have tried. For many people it becomes a part of their lifestyle as they begin to make connections to what they are eating and better overall health.
There are many reasons to consider eating a plant based diet whether for ethical reasons, health or environmental. It is important to plan a well balanced diet to ensure that you get your macro nutrients from your foods.
People are often concerned about getting enough proteins in their diet. Protein is found in most foods, but any diet can be low in a nutrients if they are not consciously eating a balanced diet.
Here is a short list of proteins to show how much protein is in a few foods.
For a more comprehensive Protein List you can click on this linkFood and Nutrition Information Center at the National Agricultural Library for USDA
This large PDF file will give you a good reference of the protein in most foods.
Finding a diet that works for you is one that you can feel good about eating and feeding your family. I know from experience that there are hundreds of diets out there and I have tried my fair share of them. I encourage people to educate themselves on the best diet for themselves because it truly does boil down to what you fuel your body with has a lot to do with how well your body functions.
It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare practitioner when making dietary changes. You may want to check your levels periodically for Vitamin D, B12, B-complex to make sure that you are getting enough of these in your diet.
"Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis, R.D. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.p. 19, Published 2000
"Eat To Live" by Joel Furman, MD, Published 2012
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