Jun 102020
Whole Food and Plant Based Diet
Share the Love of Healthy Living...

Welcome to my 'Whole Food and Plant Based Diet' post!

First of all, I must congratulate you for taking the time to do your research on this topic of green living. Vegan, plant-based, organic, and whole food diets have significantly increased globally in the last ten years. Such a diet can promote your overall health and wellbeing, and have huge positive impacts on our planet.  

As a qualified teacher, I am passionate about education and the impact it can have on bettering our future. It is down to us individuals to do our research and make small changes to the way we live our lives. 

These small changes are easy to make and can have a big impact on our health, the health of our family and our environment. This website is designed for everyday people looking to make these changes. Here you will learn a legitimate way to go green. 

Let me be completely transparent with you, I am not here to pitch or sell anything to you. I am here to reveal and to assist you on your journey of going green! 

Green Dieting is Healthier...

Research shows that green diets play an important role in a healthy lifestyle, they prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and coronary heart disease and play a key role in your weight loss journey.

Although vegan diets are at higher risk of nutritional deficiencies such as iron, proteins, calcium, iodine, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3, research studies highlight that vegan and vegetarian diets are considered safe for weight loss, pregnancy, lactation, muscle development, and prevention of various health conditions. To avoid deficiencies, it is important to have a solid knowledge of balancing essential nutrients. 

  • Are you looking for sustainable ways to lose weight?
  • Do you want you and your family to feel better?
  • Do you want to enhance, stabilize, or reserve chronic health conditions?
  • Do you want to avoid medications?
  • Are you willing to change your diet regime if it can improve your health and wellbeing?

Experts suggest diets that are plant-based or include organic whole foods are the best for you and your family. Today’s article includes important information to help people follow the whole food, vegan, low-fat, keto, and plant-based diets.

Woman-Measuring-Waist

Diet Types and Definitions..

Vegetarianism...

This diet involves eliminating red and white meat from your diet. However, animal products such as milk and eggs are included. This diet lacks Vitamin B12 which is naturally found in meat and animal products. When conducted correctly, this is one of the best diets for our health, and the health of our planet. 

Veganism...

This diet takes vegetarianism to the next level, it forbids the consumption of all animal products, e.g. red and white meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Vegans only eat plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts. Vegans are at risk of being deficient in iron, B12, calcium, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. In my humble opinion, this is the hardest diet to implement but the most beneficial for supporting the health of the planet. 

Pescatarianism...

People on this diet are very similar to vegetarians, except they consume fish. Although this is considered a healthy diet, overfishing is one of the big global food concerns, which has resulted in depletion, reduced biological growth rates, and low biomass levels. The overfishing of sharks, has led to the upset of entire marine ecosystems.

The Ultimate Fat Burning Diet: Keto!

This is the most effective, healthy diet for weight loss. It involves consuming minimal amounts of carbohydrates which forces the body into a metabolic state of ketosis, which is ideal for burning fat. I have done this in the past, it was delicious and effective.

When you eat food items that are high in carbohydrates, your body will use glucose, converting into energy. This energy is either used or stored. Your body also produces the hormone insulin which is a key aspect of this process, and helps you maintain a healthy blood sugar level. 

The ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, mental focus & concentration, controlled blood sugar, and blood pressure, normalized hunger, boosted energy, good skin health as well as prevention of epilepsy and insulin resistance. 

Maintaining the right levels is important in this diet of high amounts of fat, moderate quantities of proteins, and lower carbs. The formula is 70% healthy fats, 25% proteins, and 5% carbs. Here are some examples of foods to eat and foods to avoid on this diet: 

Foods-for-the-Keto-Diet
Foods-for-the-Keto-Diet2

Heath Benefits 

Plant-based Diets...

Some of the health benefits of a vegan diet include lower incidents of cardiovascular diseases, reduce blood cholesterol levels, decreased blood pressure levels, and the prevention of cancer. Plant-based or vegan-diets are also beneficial to overcome health conditions like diverticula disease and digestive conditions like constipation.

When you consume a vegan diet regularly, you get all the essential nutrients, which help lower the incidence of obesity, diabetes mellitus, as well as strengthen your immune system. For example, oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, and having enough vitamin C in your body means a powerful immune response to the external pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. This means lowering the risk of getting microbial diseases.

Meat Free...

When we think of vegetarians or vegans, the first thing that comes in our minds is “No Meat.” Eating meat provides us with not only high-quality proteins, but also a variety of amino acids, zinc, and iron. Maintaining your health on these diets requires more than just eating a few high-protein nuts. If you are considering a plant-based diet it is important that you source all of these nutrients. 

Consuming red and processed meat is harmful to our personal health, promoting a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death! Meat production is also harmful to our environment and is considered a key factor in the current sixth mass extinction. For example, it causes pollution from fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption.

The Power of Balance...

For plant-based diets such as vegetarianism and veganism it is important to eat a variety of foods which the appropriate intake of essential nutrients. These diets remove one of the main sources of protein making it essential to source protein and other nutrients from plant-based products.

They need to pay close attention to the nutrients they are likely to have deficiencies in - iron, B12, calcium, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Many 'nay-sayers' say that you cannot source these nutrients in plant-based foods, but this is not true...

Lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, cashew nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, kale, dried apricots and figs, raisins, quinoa, and fortified breakfast cereal are all adequate sources of iron. Nori and dulse seaweeds are viable sources of B12 and you do not need to eat much of them because these foods are rich in this nutrient. Some algae (e.g. spirulina), seaweeds, and certain kinds of mushrooms have pseudo-B12, but this does not work in the human body.

Calcium can be found in calcium-fortified soy milk and juice, calcium-set tofu, soybeans and soynuts, bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and okra. Vitamin D can be found in fortified-soy mils, cereals, orange juice, rice milk, almond milk, mushrooms, and of course sunshine! Chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, and walnuts, and vegetable (rapeseed) oil all contain Omega-3 fatty acids. 

Whole Foods...

Whole foods are organic or natural food products. They are free of sweeteners, artificial additives, hydrogenated oils, colorings, and preservatives. Whole foods retain their natural state with no processing. They are nutrient-dense foods filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

Whole-Food-Examples
Whole-Food-Examples2

Environmental Benefits...

The benefits of plant-based diets extend to impact human health and the environment. A recent research study shows that animals are not sufficient for food production. This is because they use significant amounts of water, feed, land space and pollution, and fossil fuels. The alternative solution is plant-based diets which have the lowest environmental impact. 

Various research studies focused on life-cycle assessments to evaluate the impact of human dietary patterns on the environment to confirm the environmental benefits of plant-based diets. For instance, we need 40 kcal of fossil fuels to produce 1 kcal of meat. On the other hand, we only need 2 kcal of fossil fuel to produce 1 kcal from grains. Food sources generate greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions of conventionally produced beef, lamb, pork, cheese, and farmed fish are greater than plant-based food choices like beans and lentils.

Compared to a non-vegetarian diet, a vegan diet produces 49% less greenhouse gas emissions – thus reducing air pollution, which is good for human health and the other species in the biosphere. More specifically, the Ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet reduces these emissions by 28%, Pesco-vegetarian has a 24% reduction, and a partial-vegetarian diet sits around 21% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Promote Sustainability...

Today, for many people including me, sustainability and the environment are our top priorities. Problems like climate change, global temperature rise, water pollution, smog, and oodles of plastic waste material are our main concern. In the U.S and other developed countries, people are questioning the methods used to grow food and asking whether they are conventional or organic. All of us want to know whether or not our food is grown sustainably.

Green diet or organic food offers a long-term, sustainable solution for many reasons. For instance, organic farming can rebuild the health of the soil and stop harmful contaminants from getting into our water supplies. Soil and water are important resources and necessary for growing healthy food. One research study concluded that it takes 1000 years to generate 3cm of topsoil.

We must not rely on pesticides and non-renewable oil-based fertilizers to grow food. Research studies and EPA reports show that 99% of the pesticide compounds end up in water streams and supplies. The balance must be maintained to have a more sustainable ecosystem. 

Green food or agriculture results in substantial biodiversity of animals, plants, insects, and microbes. Organic farms have 30% more species than non-organic farms that use pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides that kill other species.

The food we choose to eat supports the farming method used to create it. Spending money on organic farm produce puts money into that economy and industry, allowing it to grow. The more people support these industries, the more we will see this healthier food in our stores, and the better we will support and sustainable planet. 

Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle as this is an excellent strategy for reducing the impacts of climate change and the natural disasters that accompany it. This requires reducing food waste, shopping in bulk, avoiding single-serve food packaging, and reduce our protein intake.  

Fresh-Vegetables

The Essential Nutrients...

A healthy diet consists of adequate amounts of nutrients that your body needs to perform proper functions. The human body acts like a machine and food is its fuel. There are six types of essential nutrients your body needs. Each type of essential nutrient has a unique purpose and fulfills a specific need in your body. They are:

  • Water
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals

Water...

I know what you are thinking but water is a nutrient because we need more than our body is capable of producing. The human body is mostly composed of water and it is used to carry other essential nutrients to the cells.

Protein...

These are essential nutrients that build, maintain, and repair the body and its structure. It is used by cells, tissues, organs, bones, and muscles. Proteins are major components of your immune system. The majority of hormones in your body are proteins.

Cabohydrates...

They are fuel for your body that comes in the form of glucose. They are the main source of energy required by your cells, tissues, and organs to perform their functions adequately. Carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories.

Vitamins...

These assist all types of chemical reactions in your body. Generally, they come from food because our bodies do n