A Plant-based diet., is that a good idea?
This month Veganism is in the spotlights at Yamba.
Veganism is trending. Vegan tags in the supermarket for all plant-based products, more Vegan meals on the menu, many articles everywhere and even the news is now focussing on plant based diets. But what is a plant-based diet exactly? What are the pro's and cons? Is it tenable?
Let us start with what a plant-based diet is all about. It is all included in the name. You eat no animal products. Not only no meat and fish, but also no eggs, milk, butter or other dairy products.
First question we always get is: " So how do you make sure you get enough Protein?" The answer is: You get your daily portion of Protein from Beans, Veggies and other Legumes. Also you may find many meat substitutes on separate shelves at the supermarket.
The Pro's (Benefits):
1. Bigger variations in Nutrients. When you decide to quit eating meat/fish/dairy, you will start your journey by finding new recipes which will direct you to other meals than the traditional western world diet. You discover more different types of Vegetables, Fruits and Legumes. It is scientifically proven that people who consume plant-based food only, get more nutrients. Try the coming week to eat 30 different types of products and you will see that it is not only beneficial to your nutrients, but you will also discover deliciously tasting new foodies.
2. A plant based diet contains less fat. Cholesterol, we all have heard the word, but what is the actual function of it? There are 2 different types of Cholesterol: the good type and the bad one. When you eat too many bad cholesterol, your chance of getting clogged blood vessels and heart and vain diseases increases substantially. You will find lots of bad cholesterol in animal products like meat, dairy, butter etc. Good cholesterol you will find in plants and legumes like nuts, seeds and plant based oil. Another benefit of Plant-based food is that it does not only increases the good cholesterol, but also decreases the bad type.
3. A plant-based diet can lower your blood pressure. No Joke! During an eight day challenge with my father we experienced this ourselves. And my father is not the only one. Browsing the internet you will find many similar experiences from people who also see much lower and healthier blood pressure levels after changing to a vegan diet. With a Vegan diet you get more blood pressure lowering nutrients in your food, like Kalium for instance.
4. It is super healthy for your skin. Vegetables, fruits and legumes are chockablock full with antioxidants, fibers and vitamines like Vitamin C and that is great for your skin. Research shows that dairy products like milk play an important role by development of skin diseases like for instance Acne. . If you do not eat those products anymore you will decrease substantially the risks for an unhealthy skin.
5. Less bad fats = less FAT! A plant based diet can support you when you intend to loose weight. Vegan products contain less bad fats and hence the body does not have to store those. Try to eat as many raw products as possible. When food is cooked it often contains more sugar and vegetal bad fats. I am trying to eat as many products possible like they have been harvested !
6. Good for the Environment. Consuming less animal products is better for the environment. The Bio-industry produces 50% of all emissions worldwide. That is HUGE. For 1 steak one is using 3000 liters of water. And part of that water needs to be cleaned or purified afterwards. Eating meat and dairy products has horrible consequences for the environment. So decreasing eating animal products contributes to a better environment.
1. Make sure you get your daily dose of Nutrients. Vegan eating is delicious but you have to make sure you get enough intake of nutrients. Especially Protein and Vitamin B12 are a challenge. In the beginning I kept track of my B12 and Protein in an app. I quickly learned that almost every day I got enough. For vitamin B12 it is also possible to take a supplement. Nowadays you also find it in many meat substitutes
2. What's on the Menu? Not every restaurant understands that more and more people are following a plant based diet. This implies that sometimes you have less choice on the menu. However vegan meals are in upswing and menu's are rapidly changing. Go to the internet and see if the restaurant of your choice serves different vegan meals. We already found a great restaurant in Amsterdam. They only serve vegan dishes. The name of the restaurant is: YERBA
Going completely vegan might be a too big step to start with in the the beginning. That was the same for me. But being conscious of eating less animal products and more often using plant based products is already a great start. Maybe you will accept the challenge and try it for a week. See what it does to your body and your tast pupils. Believe me it is worth it !!