Learn what, why and important tips
Life is all about balance and making sure you incorporate the right amount of fruit & veggies in your diet will help cultivate balance in your body. While I advocate for eating a plant based diet. This does not necessarily mean you will have to remove meat completely from your consumption; you will just have to reduce your consumption of it to the correct portion. Engaging in plant-based diet means buying local produce when available, and being mindful of the relationship between the choice of food and nourishment it gives to your mind and body.
What does it mean to go on a plant-based diet? There are various types of plant-based diets on can engage in, but they all involve foods like whole grains, plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables; all these foods are known to be associated with heart benefits. These diets are rich in vitamins, fiber and minerals.
One important thing about going into the plant-based diet is knowing the sources of your plant foods. For example, white bread and polished rice are plant based foods, so you would reason they are good for consumption. Instead they are processed and have had most of their heart-healthy nutrients depleted so you may want to stay away from those. However, foods like brown rice or quinoa have not been processed and can take the place of white rice.
REASONS TO GO PLANT-BASED
Plant based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They help lower the blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, maintain a healthy body weight, reduce the risk of diabetes and also lower your risk of heart diseases. Another reason to go plant-based is to reduce your risk for atherosclerosis; this is the condition in which the arteries are hardened due to plaque buildup. I suggest you start with following a plant based diet once or twice a week.
Here are some of the benefits:
Cancer: it has been scientifically proven that fruits and vegetables protect the intestine from any form of gastrointestinal cancers, and smoking-related cancers.
Protect your heart: consuming a plant-based diet can lower your blood pressure. A diet full of various greens, or as people like to call it rainbow can actually switch-off certain gene that makes you more prone to heart diseases.
Prevent chronic diseases: like it is said ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Plant-based diets are low in saturated fat, low in sugar and high in fiber. Feeding on this diet can lower your blood pressure, help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar level; lowering your risk for diabetes.
Easy to follow options like the Daniel Fast can make this process a breeze.
The Daniel Fast is based on the verses of the bible found in Daniel 10: 2 – 3, and Daniel 1:8. In these two passages, Daniel refused to feast on wine and meat. The purpose of this was to help cleanse his body by not eating certain food for a particular period. During Daniel fast, he stayed away from meat and wine, also foods like bread, fried food and so on. He only consumed fruits, nuts, vegetable and water only (this was to clean out toxins).
NUTRIENTS AND SUPPLEMENT
Some assume that you can’t get all of the vitamins you need from a plant based diet. However, that is not true. It is highly suggested to get your blood work done to find out what vitamins you are lacking and try to incorporate more plant based foods that are enriched with those nutrients. This will point out some important nutrients you can derive from plant-based diet. Explained below are some major ones:
Vitamin D: a fat soluble vitamin that helps in the absorption of phosphorus and calcium in the digestive system. Apart from the little amount derived from diet, you can also derive Vitamin D from exposure to the sun.
Iodine: receiving enough iodine is necessary for a healthy thyroid function. Inadequate iodine consumption in an adult can lead to hypothyroidism; causing symptoms like dry skin, forgetfulness, depression and weight gain. Also, an iodine deficiency during the period of pregnancy and early stage of infancy can result in irreversible mental retardation.
Iron: low consumption of iron can lead to anemia causing symptoms like fatigue and reduced immune function. You can derive iron from food like beans, peas, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Calcium: this nutrient is necessary for the bone and teeth. Sources of calcium from plants include broccoli, mustard greens, and chick peas.
Zinc: they are required for the repair of body cells, crucial for metabolism and immune function. Deficiency in zinc intake can lead to hair loss, delays in wound healing and diarrhea. Eat zinc-rich food like tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains.
Vitamin B12: it plays an important role in the health of your nervous system. It improves protein metabolism, formation of oxygen-transporting red-blood cells. Too little Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, bone diseases, heart diseases and infertility.
Protein: it provides important nutrient needed by the human body for maintenance and growth. E.g. Tofu, chickpeas, almond, hemp seeds, potatoes, lentils, broccoli.
In short you can get all the nutrients you need with plant based living. However, you can also visit placed like Sankofa Kitchen if you want to mix it up a bit which is a good option for overall health as well. The goal is to help you develop a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy and benefit from to prolong your life. This is a lifestyle that encourages healthy living choices in all aspects of life, reaching for results of optimal health and well-being.