Get Leaner, Stronger, and Healthier with a Plant-Based Diet
Each year, more and more people are switching to plant-based diets. The number of vegans in the U.S. has grown by a staggering 500 percent since 2014. This trend is gaining popularity worldwide. About 44 percent of Germans follow a low-meat diet. Thousands of studies confirm that veganism and vegetarianism could be the key to a longer, healthier life.
The question is: what makes plant-based nutrition so great? Is it necessary to give up meat completely? And what can you expect once you take this step? Let’s see what plant-based diets are all about and how to make them work for you!
Plant-Based Nutrition at a Glance
The U.S. vegan market is steadily increasing. In 2016, it generated over $2.22 billion. In the U.K., plant-based food sales increased by 1,500 percent in less than one year. Some people embrace this trend to lose weight or prevent chronic illnesses. Some want to reduce their carbon footprint and preserve natural resources. Others simply wish to enjoy better health.
One thing is for sure: plant-based diets are here to stay. They’re not just a passing fad. Researchers keep discovering exciting new benefits associated with this lifestyle. From increased energy and better sleep to a longer life, plant-based nutrition can boost your health on every level.
Now you might wonder whether it’s necessary to give up meat and dairy altogether, or just consume them less often. This depends entirely on you. Most people make this transition gradually. They limit animal foods to one or two servings per week, or replace them with fish. As they discover new vegan recipes and start to feel better, they decide to give up meat completely.
As its name suggests, plant-based nutrition is based on vegetable foods, such as fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens. Most foods are consumed raw or minimally processed. Steaming, dehydration, and juicing help preserve their nutritional value.
Green smoothies and fresh juices are an integral part of plant-based diets. These healthful concoctions make it easier to get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. On top of that, they’re a convenient option for those with a busy lifestyle. The wide range of recipes available helps ward off boredom and keeps your diet varied.
Getting started is the hardest part. Most dieters feel confused on what to eat once they switch to a plant-based diet. They don’t really know how to get enough protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and other nutrients that are required for optimal health. This increases their risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Luckily, supplements can help. Nowadays, there are plenty of quality products that balance gut flora, strengthen your bones, and boost immune function. Moringa oleifera, for instance, fights inflammation, regulates blood sugar levels, and slows down aging. It’s a perfect addition to plant-based diets.
Why Switch to Plant-Based Foods?
The modern diet is a contributing factor to the epidemic of chronic diseases. Based on sugar, trans fats, and chemicals, it impairs your immune function and hormonal balance. Scientists blame it for inflammatory diseases, such as obesity and osteoporosis. British researchers have found that rickets and scurvy are on the rise among children as a result of junk food consumption.
According to research, processed foods are the culprit behind heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, weight gain, and gain. Not too long ago, produce was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, it’s treated with herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Additionally, most fruits and vegetables lose valuable nutrients during transportation.
Statistics show that over 70 percent of the foods available in stores are highly processed. They contain a whopping 5,000 different additives, from synthetic dyes and flavorings to artificial sweeteners. These chemicals have been shown to affect human health.
Sodium benzoate, for example, is a common preservative in soda and fatty foods, and may cause ADHD. Monosodium glutamate, which is widely used in frozen meals, chips, and salad dressings, raises blood pressure and triggers headaches. Fish, meat, and other animal foods contain sodium nitrites and nitrates. In the long run, these compounds may lead to thyroid cancer.
Ditching the sugar may seem a great choice – just as long as you don’t replace it with artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, sucralose, high-fructose corn syrup, and other additives are just as bad as and even worse than sugar. These chemicals have allergenic, neurotoxic, and carcinogenic properties. They have been linked to higher rates of brain damage, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, dementia, hearing loss, and hormonal disorders.
What about meat and dairy? After all, our ancestors consumed these foods and yet, they were healthy. Today’s animal foods are completely different than those available centuries ago. Farmers use antibiotics, growth hormones, and preservatives with harmful side effects.
The antibiotics in meat, for instance, promote the growth of drug-resistant superbugs, such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli. Moreover, meat and dairy are often contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
According to the FDA, about 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in livestock feeds. Plus, most animals are treated with hormones to help them gain weight faster. The same hormones may cause obesity in humans upon consumption.
Over time, the chemicals in processed foods accumulate in your system, causing toxicity. Many times, toxin buildup is the culprit behind joint pain, muscle aches, migraines, weight gain, sluggish digestion, food cravings, and even cancer. Research shows that toxins contribute to skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and chronic fatigue. They also weaken your natural defenses, leaving you vulnerable to diseases.
These harmful substances are passed from the mother to the fetus, causing birth defects, autism, ADHD, and metabolic disorders. Scientists have identified over 287 toxins in the umbilical cord blood of the average newborn baby. Sure, the human body has its own detox mechanisms, such as the liver, colon, and kidneys. However, if your diet is based on processed foods, your body becomes less effective at flushing out toxins.
Considering these facts, it makes sense to limit meat and processed foods. Once you embrace a plant-based diet, your life will change for the better. You’ll think clearer, get leaner, and have greater energy.
On top of that, your digestion will improve and you’ll no longer feel bloated after every meal. Your body will naturally get rid of excess fat and become healthier overall. At the same time, your skin will look younger and smoother.
The Life-Changing Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition
The health benefits of plant-based nutrition are backed up by research. From athletes to nutritionists and celebrities, millions of people have embraced veganism and vegetarianism.
For example, Scott Jurek, an award-winning ultra marathon runner, has become a vegan since 1997. Patrik Baboumian, the strongest man in Germany, has gone vegan in 2006.
Studies indicate that plant-based diets may lower blood pressure, reduce body fat, and decreases cholesterol levels. This leads to improved cardiovascular health and enhanced quality of life. Mediterranean populations have lower rates of cancer compared to the U.S. due to their dietary habits, which are largely based on vegetable foods.
If you have diabetes, switching to plant-based nutrition can help improve or reverse the disease. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds improve glycemic control and insulin response, which in turn, may prevent and relieve diabetes symptoms. Other studies have found that vegetarian diets can lower the risk of chronic diseases and reduce heart disease risk by as much as one-third.
Struggling with depression, anxiety, or mood swings? A plant-based diet can help! According to science, this dietary pattern improves mood and happiness levels. In a clinical trial, employees who consumed plant-based foods for 18 weeks experienced a reduction in fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, their work productivity has increased.
Whole, natural foods are rich in phytochemicals, vitamins, and antioxidants that support mental health. These nutrients prevent and reduce inflammation in the brain, which helps lift your mood and improves your ability to cope with stress. Eating more fruits and vegetables for just two years yields the same psychological benefits as switching from unemployment to employment.
A plant-based diet can also help you shed those pesky pounds and keep them off. In clinical trials, subjects who switched to vegetarianism dropped about 7.48 pounds on average. The explanation is simple. Whole foods are high in water and fiber, keeping you full longer. They also contain fewer calories and sugars compared to processed products.
Fruits, for instance, are high in fructose, a natural sugar. However, they also boast large amounts of fiber. This nutrient slows sugar absorption into your bloodstream and prevents insulin spikes.
Energy bars, soft drinks, store-bought cookies, and other processed foods may contain fructose too, but they lack fiber. Upon ingestion, fructose goes straight to your liver where it’s stored as fat. Your body can not use this sugar for energy. But if you eat whole fruits or drink smoothies, the fiber helps reduce sugar absorption into your system.
Plant-Based Nutrition Made Easy
So, are you ready to harness the power of plant-based nutrition? In this case, there are a few things you should know before getting started. First of all, it’s important to make sure you’re getting optimum doses of micro and macronutrients in your diet. Secondly, you must a way to keep your meals varied. Your daily menu should include a wide range of fruits and vegetables, cold-pressed oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
According to health experts, the primary risks associated with plant-based diets are a low protein intake and micronutrient deficiencies. Vegans and vegetarians are often at risk for vitamin B12, vitamin D3, DHA, heme-iron, creatine, and taurine deficiencies. These nutrients are only found in animal foods.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 may lead to impaired brain function, memory loss, fatigue, and poor mental focus. Creatine deficiency can affect muscle growth and brain health. If your diet lacks vitamin D3, you may have a hard time absorbing calcium from food. This can increase your risk of osteoporosis and fractures. A diet low in heme-iron may result in anemia.
One of the best ways to prevent nutrient deficiencies is to take dietary supplements. Moringa can make all the difference. The best brand we have found is made from hand-harvested, fresh Moringa leaves that boast four times more calcium than milk, two times more protein than yogurt, and seven times more vitamin C than oranges. Additionally, they provide all nine essential amino acids that support muscle function and overall health. This product is one of very few (if any) that has a blend of Moringa Leaves, Moringa Fruit and Seed, that gives you the balance and full nutritional benefits of this amazing plant.
You can also take a natural Moringa Olifera supplement that contains prebiotic ingredients to help your body absorb and process nutrients more efficiency. These products help feed and balance gut flora and improve digestion health. They come in an easy to drink once a day powder form, to add to water first thing in the morning or thought the day. You can take them with a glass of water or add them to nutrient-dense smoothies.
Another way to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies is to drink smoothies and homemade fresh juices. These natural concoctions preserve the nutrients in produce while giving your digestive system a well-deserved break. The healthiest smoothie recipes taste delicious and take just a few minutes to prepare. Here is an example:
Vitamin-Rich Strawberry Mango Smoothie
- 5 strawberries, cut into pieces
- 1 mango, cut into chunk
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup coconut or almond milk
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Fresh juices and smoothies make plant-based nutrition easier. They not only boast a high nutritional value but also reduce the need for cooking and free up your time. On top of that, they’re perfect for those who want to get leaner and keep hunger at bay. These beverages are filling and low in calories, so can replace one or more meals.
I personally add a satchet (or even half) of Moringa based plant protein to my smoothies either Moringa Plant protein in vanilla for a recipe like this, or even chocolate Complete plant protein for a change, you can find them here.
The healthiest smoothies for weight loss are usually made with vegetables. Fruits should only be used sparingly. Let’s see a recipe that you can try right now:
Detox Green Smoothie
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 kale leaf
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 1 cup matcha or green tea (chilled)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
As you see, nutrient-dense smoothies and juices are a delicious way to add more fruit and veggies to your diet. There are literally thousands of recipes available, so you’ll never get bored. Depending on your health goals, you can our recommended Moringa plant protein or add hemp or pea protein powder, coconut oil, oat bran, and other ingredients.
Switching to a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be a chore. Start by adding smoothie to your daily menu. Replace your go-to snacks with fresh juices, almonds, and homemade trail mixes. Recreate your favorite recipes using new foods and ingredients. Once you get the ball rolling, everything will become a lot easier!