Health Benefits & Considerations of Plant Based & Vegan Diets

What are some of the potential health benefits you will gain when you adopt a properly planned Vegan, plant-based or powered diet?

  • Healthy, glowing and more clear skin
  • Consumption of less saturated fats present in animal products
  • Disease prevention (heart, diabetes, cancers, arthritis, osteoporosis)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • You will avoid negative effects of the Standard American Diet
  • Keep weight down
  • Build strong bones
  • Possibly live longer
  • More energy
  • Ease menopause symptoms
  • Age gracefully and more healthfully
  • Increased fiber intake
  • Increased intake of vitamins
  • Increased intake of disease fighting phytochemicals
  • Dinner plates with a rainbow of colors and deliciousness!
  • The list goes on and on….

If you are interested in incorporating more veggies into your diet or going Vegan all the way, good idea! However you should take some care, do some preparation and research. That’s where Vegan Lifestyle Coaches come in (like me!). There are also many wonderful books and resources available now. I have watched several talks by the Vegan RD, Ginny Messina, who co-wrote the books Vegan for Her and Vegan for Life. She is a lovely women dedicated not only to helping people stay healthy and enjoying the numerous benefits of plant-based lifestyles but also living compassionate and environmentally friendly lifestyles.

I really like the Plant Plate below. It’s clear and simple, easy to follow and just feels right to me. This plate was originally published in the book Vegan For Her (which is a great book, by the way). Unlike the traditional USDA Plant Plate that is confusing, misleading and I believe, just plain wrong (and they keep changing it, they can’t really know what they are doing!).

I do my best to follow this plate daily. I have a printed copy that I keep on my refrigerator and am reminded of what I need and what I am missing daily. The hardest thing to get?? Enough greens…. But, I am trying!

This plate introduces us to the 5 fabulous Vegan Food Groups. They are; Beans aka Legumes (soy, veggie burgers, peanut butter and quinoa fits in here as well), Grains and Starches, Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts and Seeds. It also gives the corresponding serving amounts.

Plant-Plate-Infographic1

The important messages to take from this plate, Obviously, EAT MORE VEGGIES (AND BEANS)!!

  • 3 servings of beans a day provides the essential Amino Acid Lysine (along with other amino acids)
  • Eat your greens for Calcium (kale, mustard greens, broccoli, as well as calcium fortified orange juice)
  • Focus on Veggies and Fruits
  • Vitamin C enhances absorption of Iron
  • Be sure to get adequate Vitamin D, B12 and Iodine, which are the few vitamins that can be lacking in Vegan diets, also found lacking in traditional diets, interestingly enough (this can be in the form of iodized salt, supplements can also be used)
  • Omega 3s come from a few sources and provide healthy fats (flax seeds, avocados, walnuts, etc.)

If you follow this plant plate and eat a variety of colored veggies you will make you body very happy and on the road to great health!

So, now, sharing a recipe that meets many of your daily needs recommended on the Plant Plate. An absolutely delicious Kale Salad!!! I found the recipe here:

http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2013/03/kale-cabbage-goddess-salad/

You could do a lot of experimentation and variations / additions with this salad. I think the thing that makes it the most delicious is the dressing. I will continue, on this blog, to help you with ideas for meals that meet this plate’s requirements.

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And finally… another fun and pretty quick recipe. This last summer I discovered the amazing world of what I will call green wraps! The outer wrap portion can include;  lettuce, collards, any green veggies that can be loaded with vegetable/bean salads or other veggies to make delicious and incredibly healthy dishes. Below is a nice lentil salad that I wrapped in Collard greens from the Farmer’s Market. It was so light, refreshing and absolutely delicious!

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So, there is lots of nutrition information out there…. for Vegans and Omnivores…. It is my feeling that the more Plant-based meals you incorporate into your diet the better. I would also encourage you, whether you are an herbivore or an omni to do some research on your personal health and nutrition and what works and what doesn’t. This will help you live a long, happy, healthy, vibrant life. I’m here to help! 🙂

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