Here are a few more ways that we can show our planet a little love through food choices:
- Buy local produce: enjoy produce that is in season in your area
- Eat fewer packaged food products
- Reduce food waste. Wasted food = wasted energy.
These small steps are important and meaningful, but as we discussed last week, the absolute best way to take a stand for sustainability and the health of our planet is by adopting a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. This week, we’re going to talk more about what that means and looks like on a personal level, and what benefits it can have for you and your family.
What is a whole foods, plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is one that is centered on the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. This diet is in stark contrast to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is comprised largely of animal protein, dairy products, refined grains, sugars, and oils. A “whole foods” diet simply means staying away from processed, packaged foods, and choosing whole fresh ingredients, instead.
Here are just a few of the MANY health benefits of following a plant-based diet:
Lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
Reduce dependency on medications
Reverse or prevent heart disease
Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
Lower risk of cancer and diabetes
Improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Improve overall nutrient intake: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, plant sterols, and phytochemicals
By following a plant-based diet, you are also avoiding the hormones and antibiotics used in the production of meat and dairy.
Where will I get my protein?
It is a common misconception that there is not enough protein in a plant-based diet. This simply isn't true, as there are many ways to nourish your body with complete proteins eating only plants. Instead of worrying about protein, ask yourself this: "Is meat the most nutrient-dense and calorie-efficient way of feeding my body essential nutrients?". (The answer is a resounding no!)
Still, because this is such a hot-button issue for many, here are some sources of protein for plant-based diets:
Beans and other legumes
Tofu, Tempeh, and other soy-based products
Nuts and seeds
Whole grains including quinoa
Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc.
Plant protein powders which are widely available - look for organic!
If you have concerns about meeting your dietary needs through a new diet, I would encourage you to reach out to a nutritionist you trust. Find someone who is willing to take the time with you to consider your particular needs and body. (I recommend Chester County Nutrition.) Or, leave the work to us, and we'll prepare complete, nutritious vegan meals for you through our Organic Meal Delivery Service.
Ready to take a stand for your health and the health of our planet? Look no further than this blog for delicious whole-food plant-based recipes, updated regularly. (How about a Stuffed Sweet Potato, Hummus, Juices and Smoothies, or a delicious Vegan Soup?. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for your free plant-based meal plan.
At The Wildflower Chef, we are inspired by many talented vegan bloggers on the web. Simply search Google for the vegan version of anything you may desire, and you’re sure to find many incredible recipes. If you find one you love, please share it with other readers in the comments!
Let’s face it: these changes seem easy and make a whole lot of sense, but if it was really so easy to change our habits, we’d all be vegans already: this information isn’t really new. The fact is that food is ingrained in our culture and rethinking the way we eat is not as simple as it should be, even when we can clearly see the overwhelming benefits.
That’s why next week, this Earth Day series continues: we’re going to discuss how you can make small, manageable changes to your routine in an effort to create a lasting impact.
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