As we become more aware of the impact our diets have on the environment, our health, and the welfare of animals, more and more people are turning to starting to include more plants in their diets- YES!! And by plants, I DON’T just mean vegetables. A plant based diet includes foods like
- Legumes (AKA beans- like kidney, black, chickpeas, pinto, lentils, etc)
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, etc)
- Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, sprouted beans, etc)
- Proteins (tempeh, soy, pea protein, etc)
- Fruits and vegetables (everyone is familiar with this one!)
At the heart of this shift is the realization that we can improve our health while also better protecting the planet by simply including more plant-based foods in our meals.
So why should YOU start including more plant based foods in your diet?
Better for our health
Research shows that diets based on plant-based foods are better for our health than those based on animal products. Plant-based diets tend to be lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories, and higher in fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients like vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and potassium. This can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Additionally, plant based foods are easily digested which leads to better gut health. Worried about protein? There are plenty of plant-based foods packed with protein like chick-peas, almonds and lentils. Plant-based protein powders are also easily accessible in the market. In summary, plant-based foods promote better overall health. And when we FEEL better, we LIVE better.
Better for the environment
Industrial animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, deforestation, and water pollution. By including more plant-based foods in our diets, we can reduce the environmental impact of our food choices. Plant-based foods require less land, water, and other resources to produce, and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions and waste products than animal products.
Better for animals
Unfortunately in the US, the vast majority of animal agriculture involves factory farming in really deplorable conditions. Not only is this bad for the animals, it's bad for the land as well! By choosing plant-based foods, especially those from local and organic farms, we can spare animals from the suffering of factory farming, transport, and inhumane slaughter practices. This isn't to say we eliminate ALL animal based products from our diet (I love my salmon!). But the companies you choose to support can make a difference. Check out resources like Regenerative Mama that list resources for meat, dairy, and home goods that have been regeneratively/beyond organic farmed.
Whether it's for our health, the environment, or animals, plant-based diets offer a host of benefits that are hard to ignore. So next time you sit down to eat, think about how you can incorporate more plant-based foods into your meal and enjoy the benefits of a more mindful and sustainable diet!