Why go plant based?
Eat loads of plants!
Eating a mostly plant-based diet has been shown repeatedly in the research to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease, as well as improves life expectancy and quality of life. Not a bad wrap for food that just grows naturally out of the Earth!
A variety of different plants contain a large variety of different essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Keeping a high intake of different plant foods will help to ensure you are getting ALL the essential nutrients your body requires to function.
When we talk about plant-based foods we are talking fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, beans and other legumes, unrefined whole grains, lean meats and seafood. There is so much variety to choose from.
Here’s the thing, nutrients are called essential because they are necessary for the body to work, however the body does not make them. So, this means that it is Essential for us to consume them through our food intake. It sounds simple hey! Basically if we don't consume ALL of the vitamins and minerals our body needs to function each day, it simply can't and we start to feel low energy, can't sleep, stressed, moody, bloated, gaining weight from not eating, easily catching colds and flu's, can't think properly and the list goes on and on......
The fact is though that majority of us do not get all the essential nutrients our body needs and the statistics show that 90% of us aren’t consuming the minimum 5 serves of vegetables each day. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why so many of us become to develop ill health!
I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty here, I’m just hoping too to highlight some of the most effective ways we can all quite easily improve our health and be able to enjoy life long term.
The Australian dietary guidelines suggest that we need at least five serves of vegetables each day to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. One serve is only half a cup of vegetables or 1 cup of salad leaves, with a measured cup being only a teacup size or 250mL.
It is not that difficult to achieve this mark if you are thinking about where you can fit these in and replace some of the higher calorie and low nutrition, side dishes with our meals, like breads, pasta, white rice and also too much meat. The recommendation using the more recent plate model is that 1/3 of the plate be vegetables, 1/3 protein and 1/3 wholegrains, to give you a good visual picture. I personally consuming around 1/2 the plate of vegetables to really optimise my nutritional quality 😉
There is a false rumour getting around that fresh food is expensive and unaffordable for some people. A large research study was conducted last year, here in Australia at the University of Wollongong, that showed that it was in fact cheaper for families to stick to the dietary guidelines rather than relying on fast and convenience, junkie type foods.
So now there is no excuse! You can buy produce in season and from local growers at a fraction of the cost of those that usually come from the supermarkets. Get to know your local area and find out where you can get fresh local produce. You will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is and best of all, how well you will feel eating more fresh food.