Plant Based Mindset
Plant Based Mindset
My version of a plant based diet..
More often than not diets are a short term trend that you commit to for 30days then what? You go back to your normal routine diet that still doesn't meet your standards for being a "healthy eater."
Aiming towards creating better eating habits that will be sustainable in the future is ideal. Everyone has their own relationship with food and reasons why they want to make changes in their diet. Maybe you're tired of feeling drained of energy, struggle with inflammation, have family members with serious health issues, want to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, etc. Finding ways to alter our diet, and be more mindful of what we are putting into our bodies will decrease risk of diseases and prolong healthier living.
In my experience, I've made changes to my diet after battling with reactions to certain foods at a moderate level. Also, people close to me have been fighting diseases and health problems, they have rooted back to a plant "based" diet to give their bodies a fighting chance to recover. Those people have made a big impact on how I look at nutrition today, and have motivated me to make a change in my diet.
My version of a plant based mindset...
I say mindset because I'm not a religious plant base eater. Maybe I will lean towards that in the future, but for now taking small steps have been very beneficial. Growing up in Alaska with a family of hunters and fishers isn't the best environment to be an herbivore. In defense, ideally the best meat you can consume is wild caught, avoiding toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, parasites, injected fatty meats, etc. I still eat salmon and eggs, with low amounts of cheese and yogurt, no beef, and little to no chicken. Instead, double the amount of vegetables, sub milk for coconut milk/almond milk, more black and kidney beans, quinoa grains, fruits, and healthy fats. I wouldn't advise going cold turkey and cutting out all animal products, rather start with consuming more fruits and vegetables. Eventually slowly experiment adding more beans, grains, and seeds, nut milk, and see how your body responds.
Highly processed foods, meats, poultry, cheeses, and other animal products cause inflammation in the body due to the high saturated fat and sodium content, driving the spikes in our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plant based diets are naturally anti-inflammatory because of the high levels of fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. These all play a role in fighting harmful free radicals in your body, gut health, optimal nutrient absorption, and muscle/tissue recovery.
Soluble fiber (fiber that dissolves in water making a gel-like material,) assists with lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fibers are found in foods like oats, flaxseed, beans, chia seeds, carrots, barley, peas, apples, and citrus fruits. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water, they promote the movement of material though your digestive system. Some examples are nuts, vegetables, green beans, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, and potatoes. There are different levels of fiber depending on the food. Some foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, like oats and beans.
A must read book! Tons of short facts about how certain foods are linked to cancer and disease, and why with multiple studies to back it up. Along with food as natural medicine vs. drugs. Highly recommend.
Meat isn't the only food that has protein. Examples of good sources of plant of protein:
- Split Peas
- Beans (e.g. black beans and chickpeas)
- Peanut Butter
- Tree Nuts (e.g. cashews and almonds)
- Leafy Greens (e.g. spinach and kale)
- Green Veggies
- Wild Rice
How to start being a mindful consumer..
- Research the "clean" brands of fish and meat
- choose lean wild caught meat options if any
- limit dairy and eggs (try coconut yogurt)
- try almond, oat, or coconut milk
- buy fresh colorful veggies and leafy greens
- incorporate fiber in diet with flax and chia seeds
- choose healthy fats like coconut/avocados/nuts/seeds over processed fatty foods
Again, if you're looking to change your eating habits do it to your pace and listen to how your body responds. Next post will be in more detail on the steps I took with my nutrition to gain more knowledge on health to reach my personal and athletic goals.