- Make Vegetables the Main Attraction: Fitting in just one additional portion per day can slash your risk of heart disease by as much as 11%, and making veggies the star of your plate can lead to a myriad of benefits like beautiful skin. Are you following my Beauty Food of the Week in the ‘Gleam’ section of this blog? From today on, when choosing what’s for lunch or dinner, select your veggies to start, then add lean protein, good fat, and healthy starch to round out your meal.
- Choose Plant Based Fats Over Animal Fats: Plant-based fats have been shown to reduce inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and diseases, including obesity, and even help boost weight control. We all love creamy sauces that are usually laden with dairy and butter but maybe this can be a treat vs. an everyday cooking approach. Vegetarians saute vegetables in olive oil and dress veggies with balsamic vinegar. They use avocado and guacamole instead of sour cream and use tahini ( sesame seed paste) and nut butters for many of their dishes. I can personally tell you there are endless things you can do with an avocado and it’s always yummy!
- Spice Up Your Cooking: Don’t forget to play with your spices! That fabulous Thai restaurant you treat yourself to is all about the spices! Make spices a ‘staple’ in your kitchen. One of my favorite ‘healthy epicurean’ chefs is Shelley Alexander of Harmony Healing and she always has fun with spices! And if you really want to explore the world of spices, the spice bible I highly recommend is ‘Healing Spices’ How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease by BharatB. Aggarwal, PhD. I refer to this book all the time and I love learning about the healing aspects of the spices I use!
- Make ‘Pulses’ Your Protein: Yes that would be your beans, peas and lentils! And the best part is that numerous research studies have determined that eating more of them will help you drop the pounds! In addition to providing protein, pulses are rich in filling, blood-sugar regulating fiber, as well as resistant starch, a unique kind of carb that’s been shown to naturally up your body’s fat-burning furnace. Pulses also pack antioxidant levels that rival berries, and they’re satisfying without making you feel sluggish. Try serving up a Mexican dish or Mediterranean dish on Fridays. For great recipes I love the Healthy Voyager’s website because I feel like I travel the world perusing all the delicious recipes.
- Snack on Plants! Many vegetarians make whole, plant-based foods their focus at snack time. Great options are raw veggies with hummus or guacamole, fresh fruit with nuts, seeds or nut/seed butter, or a smoothie made with a plant-based “milk” (like almond or coconut) with fruit, leafy greens, and a plant-derived protein powder, such as pea or hemp. Even choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate boosts your antioxidant intake!
Last month, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issued its newest recommendations on what Americans should be eating. For the first time, the committee concluded that a diet higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is both healthier and better for the environment. Their official recommendations stated that a healthy dietary pattern is “higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains” and “lower in red and processed meats.”
The 571-page report provides an in-depth look at what Americans are eating, and states that “the quality of the diets currently consumed by the U.S. population is suboptimal overall and has major adverse health consequences.”
The committee found a large gap between a healthy diet and the standard American diet: “On average, the U.S. diet is low in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and high in sodium, calories, saturated fat, refined grains, and added sugars.”
The Committee’s Findings on the Standard American Diet:
- Roughly half of American adults have one or more chronic diseases related to poor diet and inactivity
- Preventable diseases include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
- More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese
- Nearly one-third of children are overweight or obese
- Chronic diseases disproportionately affect low-income communities
- Focus on disease treatment rather than prevention increases and strains health care costs and reduces overall health
For the first time, the committee also included environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They mentioned that a diet lower in animal foods is not only healthier, but is also better for the environment:
“Quantitative modeling research showed how healthy dietary patterns relate to positive environmental outcomes that improve population food security. Moderate to strong evidence demonstrates that healthy dietary patterns that are higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods are associated with more favorable environmental outcomes (lower greenhouse gas emissions and more favorable land, water, and energy use) than are current U.S. dietary patterns.”
The Meat Industry Is Unhappy
The beef and animal agriculture industries are upset, saying that an environmental agenda has no place in nutritional guidelines. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) says the meat advice is “flawed” and “nonsensical,”and it even launched a change.org petition to urge people to protest the new dietary guidelines. The petition states, “Hot dog, sausage, bacon and salami lovers throughout the land stand together as Americans in favor of a balanced diet that includes meat and poultry of all kinds.”
The Panel Welcomes Public Comments
The federally appointed panel is made up of nutritional experts, and their recommendations help to put policies in place that will help Americans eat healthier. They help set standards for school lunches, food stamp programs, and other programs for children and pregnant women.
They invite the public to submit written comments until May 8, 2015.
One thought on “WWB WATCH: Federal Report Finds Plant Based Diet is Best and 5 Habits You Can Learn From a Vegetarian”
I love fruits and nuts combo for snacking. Maybe I’ll have to think again about turning into vegan. Lesser meat products is better but remember to exercise regularly as well. Thanks for the share!
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