WTF is “plant based” anyway?
I will admit it. It is a buzz word and I use it ALL the time. It’s kind of a cop out. Look at my social media platforms. I use the phrase “plant based lifestyle” like it is going out of style. I proclaim that it will change your life. You will have “optimal health and vitality” and on and on. Seriously though, I honestly, truly, believe that you will experience all that and more….but first you have to know what a “plant based lifestyle” means.
Is it a code name for vegan? Is it a secret society like stone cutters? Are you going to end up like a scientology evangelist Tom Cruise? No, there is no secret meeting in a high tower with blacked out windows. Whew!! It is simply a term used to describe a diet style where MOST of your calories would come from nutritious plant sources…and that means YES!! you CAN eat meat on a “plant based” diet. WHAT?? (vegans do not freak out!) This is the greatest part of being identified with a plant based diet. It’s a diet ideology that can include everyone, vegans, vegetarians and carnivores!
Lets try a visual exercise. You have an empty plate in front of you, and I ask you to fill it with food. Since we are visualizing, lets say, we are at a 5 star, all inclusive resort, some place hot and amazing with white sand beaches and blue crystal water….because why wouldn’t we? Also because these places always have a wide variety of food stations set up to feed the masses. Ok! Sooo you are standing in the dining area with an empty plate. If you fill two thirds or even three fourths of your plate with foods that come from plant sources, like sprouted grains, beans, vegetables, plant fats (avocado, nuts seeds, olive oil, coconut oil) and you fill the last bit of space on your plate with an animal source, something, like fish or shrimp, or a couple of hard boiled eggs or whatever…..what do you have? You have a meal where 75% of it is derived from plant sources and that means the majority WINS. TA-DA! That is a plant based diet. MOST of your calories are coming from plant based foods. I should put a disclaimer in here…technically Oreo cookies, pop, and chips are not animal products, and thus are vegan. But these are not the foods that fit well into the plant based philosophy. We want to aim for foods that nourish the body and do not steal nutrients from it. It is not that you can never eat these foods..but they will not help to make you feel vibrant or reduce inflammation. Processed foods for the general population, will make you feel sluggish, and tired.
A WHOLE foods vegan diet, and a WHOLE foods carnivore diet are more closely related than you may think. The source of the protein may be on opposites sides of the spectrum, but the theory is identical.