I went back and forth on the title for this article for about 30 minutes. I juggled “plant-based living” versus “plant-based dieting.” I decided I can’t appropriately call it plant-based living because I haven’t completely switched to a plant-based lifestyle. Since I started the diet a few months ago, I have cheated here and there and, over the holidays, I all-out backslid LOL! Awww heck, for Christmas, I tore the “roof off the sucka” and “let the dogs out!” Soooo, until I reach that point (and I certainly hope to some day), I am still in the dieting phase. Just being honest here. 🙂
Being this is the end of the year and everyone has made their top 10 lists of this or that for 2012…or maybe their top 10 lists of this or that for 2013, I decided to make a top 10 list myself. Since you’ll be embarking upon this plant-based diet with me, I thought I’d share my top 10 reasons I love the plant-based diet so much – and in no particular order. Maybe this will help you make a decision on plant-based living or dieting as well. 😉
#1 – Plant-based foods are the healthiest way to eat. I have nothing against meat and some animal products (obviously since I still partake here and there). A plant-based diet is high in fiber, high in nutrients, low in fat and low in protein. People often argue that meat and animal products are necessary for protein, but protein can be gained through plant-based foods like tofu, beans, nuts and seeds. Additionally, some studies show high-protein diets can risk heart disease, kidney malfunction and nutritional deficiencies.
#2 – I feel the best I’ve ever felt on this diet. This is not something I can show you because you’re not in my skin. Suffice it to say that if anything can make this foodie want to give up meat, eggs and cheese, it must feel great! I have never felt so alert and energetic in all of my life (well maybe my teen years)! I noticed the change in the way I felt almost immediately!
#3 – I enjoy exploring new ways to cook vegetables. Let’s face it – vegetables can get pretty dang boring. As much as I love to cook, I always struggled with making vegetables interesting. A couple of years ago, I switched from buying frozen to fresh vegetables and even growing my own veggies in a small garden. Yeah, that did nothing but make the vegetables somewhat healthier…still boring. Now, I have explored so many veggie recipes (and have thousands more to try), I consider myself a veggie ambassador! I can tackle meatless Mondays with ease!
#4 – I need the extra energy to keep up with my busy-ness. The energy level while on a plant-based diet is off the charts – seriously! Before I went on the diet, I required a minimum of 2 naps per day. I’d nap on my lunch time at work, then nap after work when I came home. This was seriously impeding progress with checking the kids homework, having dinner ready in a timely manner and having time to regroup and prepare for the next day. I was always tired…even with the naps! When I did the plant-based diet, I was “on 10” from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later and did not skip a bit. Homework was reviewed, dinner was prepared and mommy was refreshed every day…that helped me maintain peace on my job and a happy home!
#5 – My family is intrigued by what yummy, yet healthy dish I’ll come up with next. My husband and kids know I love variety when it comes to food. Most things I cook throughout the year – even new stuff – I only make once or twice the entire year. That’s because I’m constantly on a quest to try something new and different – and they get to join that journey with me…yummy for all of us!
#6 – It’s a diet that doesn’t require math. I’m an accountant by trade, but even I don’t want to have to use math if I don’t have to :D! Most diets require you to carry the one, add four, multiply by ten and subtract eight – too much thinking involved!!! With the plant-based diet, it’s so simple. Just eat your beans and veggies and drink plenty of water daily – no algorithms necessary!
#7 – Plant-based living fights illnesses. My diabetic grandfather had both of his legs amputated. My grandmother had heart issues. My diabetic father is currently on dialysis 3 days per week. I also have a brother that is diabetic and a sister that passed away from cancer at the young age of 34. Needless to say, avoiding illness and living healthy is very important to me. Because of the health issues in my family, I’m consistently looking for healthy food alternatives to avoid the affect of these diseases on myself and my children. Studies show that whole plant-based food dieters have fewer cases of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. If plant-based living gives me and my family even a 1% chance of avoiding these diseases, it’s worth it.
#8 – It helps with regularity. I thought long and hard about sharing this point. I’m pretty private when it comes to body matters. I felt this was important to share, however. It may help someone else with the same problem. I once saw a commercial promoting colonics where a doctor said if you eat 3 meals a day, you should be “flushing” 3 times a day. Even since I was a little girl, I’ve never been a frequent “flusher”. It was not uncommon for me to have 2-3 days at a time without “flushing”. This may have added to my lack of energy but I never knew any different since I’ve always been that way. On every other diet I’ve tried (and I’ve tried most of them), this problem was never resolved. In fact, on a low-carb diet, it worsened. I purchased a huge Sam’s Club pack of fiber pills that sat in my cupboards for years (I hate taking pills of any sort – what a waste of money). After trying plant-based eating, and even after cheating on my diet over the holidays, this problem went away – completely! If you have the problem of irregularity, I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference frequent “flushing” makes…it’s life changing…seriously!
#9 – It’s the diet that beautifies. I had just stopped nursing my newborn when I started the plant-based diet. Normally, my thick hair, long nails and beautiful skin exit stage right after my last breastfeeding session. The first week or so, I was sure it was leaving as my hair started shedding. The following weeks, however, the shedding stopped and my nails and skin remained just as healthy as ever. In fact, I often received compliments on my hair, skin and nails – and that’s in the office where I don’t normally wear makeup. And no matter where I’m going, I close to never wear nail polish. The natural me is very beautiful on this diet…I’m loving that!
#10 – I can eat carbs. I won’t lie to you; I LOVE carbs! If I had to give up bread or sugar completely, I’d say stick a fork in me – I’m done! One of the fastest working diets I’ve tried was the low-carb diet. This diet works like a charm for rapid weight loss. However, you didn’t want to be my friend while I was low-carbing. Heck, I didn’t even want to be my own friend! Without carbs, I’m the meanest, crankiest curmudgeon on the planet – and that’s putting it nicely ;). The truth is our bodies need carbs for energy. That would explain why I was energy-less on a low-carb diet, and the lack of energy made me cantankerous! On a plant-based diet, I can still enjoy my carbs – in moderation of course. That’s a win/win!
Hopefully sharing my thoughts on plant-based eating has helped you make up your mind to give it a try! For more information on plant-based living (note: I am NOT the expert), I recommend the site of my friend and dietitian, Julieanna Hever. Her book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, is phenomenal, informative and chock-full of great plant-based recipes. The PThirty1 30-day plant-based challenge starts January 2 right here at pthirty1.com. Do you have the beans??? 😉