Plant-Powered Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and is preventable.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and is preventable. The rising prevalence of heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol are driven by the modern American lifestyle.Thgisdoes not mean that adopting a primitive paleolithic diet is the answer. Our food chain is far more polluted than our paleolithic ancestors. To effectively decrease the risk for heart disease we must adopt a clean diet.

The primary driver for heart disease and many other chronic conditions is inflammation. Americans largely (pun intended) need to clean up their diet, which is made up mostly of convenience processed foods and animal sources of food that tend to be calorically dense, nutrient deficient and pro-inflammatory. However, there is a simple solution,  Plant-based eating, which is both anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense.

However, there is a simple solution,  Plant-based eating, which is both anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense.

Shifting to a plant-based diet is a cleaner way to eat, especially if your able to obtain organic , non-GMO produce. The anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and slowly digestible carbohydrates make plant-based foods optimal for promoting health and wellbeing. These foods improve digestion, metabolism and slow the aging process. When this is understood, then it makes sense how plant-based foods can prevent and reverse many diseases.

plant-based foods can prevent and reverse many diseases.

There is no need for calorie counting when eating a plant-based diet and you will need to eat more frequently. Biologically, we were not intended for the current 1 to 3 meals per day that is custom for many Americans. Smaller portions and more frequent eating has been associated with improved health.

Eating plants from a full color spectrum is essential to get all the nutrients your body needs. Diversity of food choices is available and we should indulge in the variety of plant-based foods available. Remember, processed plant-based foods are not really much different from the current processed foods on the market so don’t be fooled by labels. The intent is to eat most of your food choices from a whole food plant-based diet; the only processing typically occurs at harvest and in your kitchen as you assemble your meals.

The new food plate contains vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Aim to eat 4-6 times daily. You can still enjoy a typical lunch or dinner of larger size.

The new food plate contains vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Moving away from the “normal” standard American diet, also referred to as SAD, can be challenging. Anytime one chooses to go against the grain of society there will be social and emotional challenges. For this reason, you must garner support for your decision. You should find friends, colleagues or family who want to share the experience. Find meaning in your choice, such as improved health, cleaner for the environment, less expensive longterm food and health care costs, or even for the sake of animals and animal welfare. The food industry, whether it be industrial or local, is a brutal killing process of animals that we do not accept for our pets. Consider watching the video, below, from Beyond Carnism to learn more about our distorted reason for eating meat.

 

 

So, whether your primarily interested in improving your health, the health of the environment , or animal welfare you can find many reasons along with ample support for you to adopt  a plant-based lifestyle. Some of my favorite resources include:

▪The Plant-Based Diet Guide, Kaiser Permanente, http://share.kaiserpermanente.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-Plant-Based-Diet-booklet.pdf

▪21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

▪Engine 2 Diet, 28-Day Challenge, http://engine2diet.com/28-day-challenge/

▪UC Davis Integrative Medicine, Plant-based Living Blog and Ultimate Resource Guide, http://www.ucdintegrativemedicine.com/2015/03/the-ultimate-resource-guide-for-plant-based-living-2/