Robert Paugh
Spreaad the Word

What is a Plant-Based Lifestyle?

Note: this post has been updated in December 2020.

Feeling Lousy But Would Like to Feel Healthy and Vibrant Again  - You Can If You Are Willing! 

Are you feeling lousy? By lousy, I mean overweight, tired and taking a number of prescriptions meds and just feel that things are not right with your body. Most likely you are eating the Standard American Diet which is linked to poor Nutrition and health. Maybe you should consider making a transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle! If you are not ready yet, at least you should investigate how the transition could change your life for the better!

Did you ever have one of those “Aha” moments? I have had many over the years, and several affected my life forever. The one I wanted to mention here was profound as it changed the way I looked at living or what I call lifestyle – eating, exercising, sleeping, and taking care of my health. Your lifestyle and life longevity go together, I believe! As I became health conscience, trying to learn all I could about nutrition and health is when I found the whole foods plant-based lifestyle. My definition of plant-based lifestyle means no animal products whatsoever, which means no dairy, and minimally processed foods and no oils. Yes, No Oils. I realized after a time that it was something I knew could help me to live better, live healthier… and this is what I wanted for myself and family. That is why I am following the Plant-Strong lifestyle! This  lifestyle is ofter called whole food plant-based lifestyle.

Why in the world should you give up eating meat?

plant-based lifestyle

After all, the first human beings cut their teeth on a predominantly meat-based diet. Should you really abandon the eating habits of your Paleolithic ancestors and "go green" when you chow down? There is a lot of research, much of it coming to light in the last 10 or 20 years, that shows enjoying all of the wonderful foods from the plant kingdom, and limiting or eliminating meat, may be the healthiest way for humans to eat.

Paleo diet debunked?Research released by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies in 2015 is bound to upset the paleo diet apple cart. Researchers have discovered evidence that humans were eating plant foods as far back as 400,000 years. Anthropological data shows early humans were also eating seeds, starchy root vegetables and consuming other types of starches and polyunsaturated fats. Evidently, your Paleolithic ancestors enjoyed salads just as much as a nice steak. Read more on  the Paleo Diet.

The China Study, the largest study on nutrition ever conducted, shows that you can "turn on" and "turn off" cancer by adding or removing animal protein from a person's diet. When people consistently consume animal-based protein, their incidence rates for developing cancer are much higher than average. When animal protein is removed and replaced with plant-based protein, cancer rates plummet. In many cases, cancer victims actually saw remission after ditching meat, and switching to a totally plant-based diet.

In 2015 the results of a Cleveland Clinic study on obese children were released. Obese children, also suffering from high cholesterol, were switched to a strict vegan diet. By moving from processed food, sugar, fast food and meat to a plant-based diet, those children lost weight and significantly reduced their heart disease risks in just 30 days.

Those are just a few of the many studies that show people are naturally conditioned to eating plants. Both mental and physical rewards are associated with eating fewer processed foods, less meat, less salt and sugar, as well as dairy products, and replacing those foods with nutritious, delicious choices from the "plant" kingdom.

What Is a Plant-Based Diet and Lifestyle?

The term “plant-based diet” has differing specific meanings for different people. At one end are those who believe that a plant-based diet means the total exclusion of animal products, essentially this is veganism and the followers of The Engine 2 Movement. A plant-strong lifestyle does not include any meat or dairy. Plant-strong is the term used by Rip Esselstyn and the followers of theEngine 2 Dietand Rip Esselstyn apparently coined the phase “Plant-Strong.” A person following a plant-strong diet doesn’t eat fake meat or cheese substitutes, or oils, only whole unprocessed foods.

However, for many a broader definition applies. These are people whose diet consists mainly of non-animal food sources, but are happy to have occasional inclusions of meat, fish, dairy or poultry.

In between are a range of dietary options (such as vegetarianism) each with their advocates. There are many claimed health benefits of a plant-based diet, especially in avoiding increasingly common “lifestyle” diseases and conditions.

Generally speaking, for those who follow a plant-based diet, instead of meals being based on meat with supplementary vegetables, the focus is always on the bulk of the diet being provided from non-animal sources.

You may want to review Types of Plant-Based Diets and Understanding Plant-Based Diets for a better overview of plant-based diets in general.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Eating a plant-based diet is not only good for you, but it’s also good for the planet. No one can argue that it’s good for animals too. Obviously, since no one has to kill an animal to eat plants, that’s clear.

While there are many variables and inputs involved in attaining and maintaining ideal health, there is a growing consensus that the biggest single factor affecting human health and wellbeing is diet. Certainly, diet is one area over which most people potentially have a large degree of control.

While some people pursue a plant-based diet for ideological reasons, most do so for the health benefits it provides. One of the major benefits is in disease-proofing your body.

Plant-based diets have been shown to be helpful with reversing type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases and conditions. Those whose intake is mainly plant-based claim that controlling and managing their body weight is also made easier.

 Researchers who have studied the effects of plant-based foods claim that adopting this type of diet can eliminate up to 80% of diseases. Some cancer sufferers say they have achieved remission by following specific plant-based diets.


Transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle

With a rise in concerns over health risks associated with meat and blossoming awareness of the treatment of animals, many people are switching to a vegetarian lifestyle. No matter what your personal reasons for researching a plant-based diet or lifestyle may be, it is clear that cutting back on your meat intake can have a very meaningful impact on your health and other factors. At this point, you might ask yourself, “What’s next?” So the following information is designed to give you a few tips on how to start a plant-based lifestyle.

Ease into the transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle

With any sort of diet or lifestyle change, success is controlled by how much motivation and momentum you are able to keep. Part of this is setting realistic goals, so it might not be advantageous for you to suddenly stop eating everything you’ve been eating and immediately switch to kale salads. Try adding a vegetable to your diet with only a minor reduction in your food regimen. For example, you could try reducing your dairy intake 3 days of the week, and add a smoothie that includes kale for your breakfast or lunch 3-4 times a week. Once this becomes natural for you, try to go 5-7 days without dairy. Eventually, you will notice a difference and your body will tell you that it prefers to go without it.

Take bigger steps into the lifestyle

Try reading about and making the vegetarian versions of your favorite foods. The more familiar the food is, the easier it will be for you to edge over into these new recipes. Begin by adding vegetables to them, and after about 3 weeks, remove the dairy and meat contents. As you reach weeks 4-6 without meat and dairy, many of the withdrawal symptoms will have already vanished.

You are likely to have a noticeable increase in energy, and the thought of going back to eating meat and dairy products will not be as attractive as it once was at week 2.

Go cold turkey into a plant-based Lifestyle?

Sometime it may be difficult to ease into the plant-based lifestyle. It may be easier to just do it. I know in my own cased about 8 years ago, I decided over the fall and particularly the Christmas Holidays that after New Years, I would go just jump in with both feet and become Plant-Strong. For me, it worked! I never have looked back and plan never to change my direction.

Ready to get started? Whatever steps you take will be better than doing nothing!

The bottom line for you to understand is that you – and you alone – are responsible for your health and that may necessitate changing how you eat, drink and live your life. Minute lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to how you behave and feel.

If you are not familiar and curious about the plant-strong movement one of the best sources I know of is the Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet Guide developed by The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. It answers the question “What Do I Eat?”, you eat whole, unrefined plants, how simple is that!

More people now than ever before are making the decision to adopt a plant-based diet as the benefits cannot be overshadowed, they are drastic and life-altering. If you are ready to join the movement you will need the guide Plant-Based Diet For Beginners. This guide will provide you with the insight and motivation you require to start a new positive lifestyle change.

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