It’s never been easier to embrace a whole-food, plant-based diet, and 2016 is the perfect year to do just that. The evidence is more compelling than ever that a whole-food, plant-based diet is the best way to achieve your best possible health and avoid the risk of chronic diseases.
Here are the top five reasons to consider making the change in 2016:
1. You’ll likely lose weight.
Those on a whole-food, plant-based diet tend to be slimmer than their carnivorous peers. Why? Well, one reason is calorie density versus nutrient density.
A study that analyzed the diets of 13,000 people and compared the nutrient intake of the meat-eaters to the plant-based eaters found that those eating the vegan diet were consuming higher amounts of nearly every nutrient and getting less of the bad stuff (saturated fat, etc.).
They were also consuming on average 363 fewer calories every day. A whole-food, plant-based diet is like an all-you-can-eat buffet that supports weight loss.
2. You’ll spend less money on groceries.
This is from my personal experience as a mother of three shopping and cooking for a family of five. Even purchasing as much organic and local produce as possible, I’ve saved considerable money shopping for and cooking whole-food, plant-based meals compared to meaty meals.
A pound of dried beans or legumes is a heck of a lot cheaper than a pound of beef or chicken. And you can do a ton with it. It just takes a little creativity. Which leads me to ...
3. It’s easy to cook healthy.
There are more whole-food, plant-based cookbooks and recipe sites than ever before, making healthy cooking super easy. It just takes practice and habit.
I keep a plant-based cookbook along with a pad and pen on my nightstand at all times. and a few nights a week I peruse it for the recipes that I plan to cook over the weekend, building my shopping list as I go.
You can also do a quick Google search based on the ingredients you have on hand and you’ll be shocked at how many recipes you can find with just a few ingredients. This will get your creative cooking juices flowing and build your confidence in the kitchen.
Over time, you’ll develop a repertoire of dishes that you can make quickly and easily.
4. Food addiction is real — but you CAN overcome it.
Thanks in part to the work of Dr. Doug Lisle and Alan Goldhamer, D.C., authors of The Pleasure Trap, we now know a lot about food addiction and how you can beat it. Our taste buds have been hijacked by processed and refined foods and high-fat animal foods.
The more we eat these foods, the more we want, leaving less room for the nutrient-dense plant-based foods our bodies need. But there is good news! If you abstain from these foods, your taste buds will “reset” (or heal, depending on how you look at it) and become re-sensitized to the vibrancy of whole, plant-based foods.
It can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days for this to happen (for me it took 65 days), but once you get through that process, it’s smooth sailing and you will LOVE the vibrant flavors that you may have been missing.
5. You will have a community of support.
The momentum is growing and there are a ton of blogs, online and in-person groups, cooking classes and other resources you can plug into.
Most doctors have little to no training in nutrition and are more apt to prescribe medications or surgery to address your health issues than suggest you alter your diet, which, in many cases, can have a more powerful impact.
It’s up to you to look around and find the resources you need to eat and live this way, but there are positive changes afoot, including Kaiser Permanente, the largest U.S. managed-care organization, recommending a shift to a plant-based diet, including its publication of a booklet titled The Plant-Based Diet: A Healthier Way to Eat.
Embracing a whole-food and plant-based diet is a little like swimming upstream — but it is so worth it.
Ultimately, this way of eating and living will save us millions in health care costs and — more importantly — fewer loved ones lost to preventable chronic diseases.
If you’ve been thinking about making the change and feel as though you’ll need support to do this, I recommend joining an online group, subscribing to a blog, buying some cookbooks, and getting started making 2016 your healthiest year ever.
More incentives to eat plant-based:
- 11 Great Reasons To Eat Less Meat (Even If You're Not Ready To Go Vegan)
- 8 Ways Going Vegan Has Made My Life Easier
- What It ACTUALLY Looks Like To Eat On $4 A Day
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