Today there are so many styles of eating and ways that people try to follow, from main stream media suggestions, to actual suggestions by nutrition professionals and more. Recently I was talking with someone about plant-based eating. They came to me with some health issues that really needed attention – extremely effecting their daily living. But one thing they were very proud of was their “plant-based diet” they recently started. Here is what happened…
What is plant based eating?
This depends on who you ask. Most people consider this vegan or vegetarian style of eating, however, it can also mean some types of meats with plants. But at the end of the day what it means is that you would be eating primarily plants (that means real plants like vegetables and fruits, and depending on your definition sometimes it include grains and legumes).
What does this mean in my practice?
I encourage the eating of a variety of animal meats and products if properly sourced. This is ESSENTIAL to getting a complete protein profile, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals needed to properly run all major body systems you have. (The idea you can make complete proteins by combining plants is just that – an idea – we need them together to be complete like in an animal meat). When you eliminate animals/proteins completely you will get break down in the body systems because we were meant to consume some types of animals and their byproducts. BUT my number one recommendation to all people is A LOT of vegetables and a few servings of fruit a day in addition to those meats.
However, HANDS DOWN most people I see do not consume any or hardly any fruits of vegetables daily. Yet even still they will come telling me they are eating a plant-based diet.
How can they be eating plant-based, but not eat plants?
They can’t. So what is going on? This is about PROCESSED FOODS and products. So when people do not really know what way to eat, and they feel lousy, they choose what seems right and in many cases it’s advertised PRODUCTS that promote whatever way they have decided is “the way” to eat. In this particular story what happened is the person decided that maybe it was animals causing the health issues (it wasn’t), so they went vegan product-based eating. In fact, there were only 1-2 actual vegetables and plants a week and those were coming from take out (VERY common). The rest was purchased PROCESSED products labelled as vegan, so assumed they were plant-based due to this.
In fact though the label ingredients confirmed that it was HIGHLY processed with poor oil sources, additives and fillers, and completely wheat-based product (that was the plant in the product). Unfortunately although there is no animal in this – there is no nutritional value to a frozen boxed meal. In fact it was a leading cause of health issue for this person (and nearly every single person I meet).
What does your body really need in food?
BALANCE and WHOLE FOOD. I cannot say it enough times – pulling out individual nutrients and completely depriving yourself of the nutrients is not a good way to go. Yes sometimes individually we need to avoid certain FOODS because our body has rejected those – and that is perfectly and safely FINE! But our bodies need carbs, fat and protein, and need every single vitamin and mineral to function. We get those from our food. That is the ONLY way we get them.
When our body isn’t working properly and we have health symptoms it is because one of those systems in our body is missing KEY NUTRIENTS to run properly, and is being altered/destroyed/disabled by poor foods being put into it. Think car and gas… FOOD is the fuel… if it’s crap gas (processed and lacking whole foods) … car stops running (body breaks down and disease happens). The better the fuel, the better the system works. (Body or car).
How should we eat?
As I mentioned there is a bio individual nature to eating because of tolerance and our food system. But at the same time here are a few quick tips:
1- YOUR PLATE – 50% of your plate should be covered in vegetables or fruits (fruit at one meal vegetables all meals). Another 40% should be a properly sourced meat. Check out what that means here. The remaining small piece can be something like rice or potatoes.
2- WATER – Water is the only beverage we need. When under consumed we develop all types of digestive dysfunction, cellular dysfunction and more! Most people under-consume water daily and in addition then consume other beverages that add to the load of detox or sugar in their body and then create a larger need for MORE water.
3- STOP EATING FROM PACKAGES AND BOXES
If everyone just ate things that were from nature and no boxes, most health issues would start to fade away. It really is that simple. Yes of course as I have mentioned several times, some of us has very specific reactions to whole foods, so we can’t eat THEM ALL, but just getting out of the box is the best way to start.
Plant-based eating means you are eating THE NATURAL plant. It doesn’t mean a box that says they are plants, it means going to the market and buying the plants and eating them. However, you CANNOT neglect the proteins from animals and they do have a place in our body and our cellular structures. Without them you get dysfunction – just like you do when you don’t eat the plants.
Need help determining your ROOT cause of your health issues, and just not even sure where to start with food to fix that? That is where I come in. I would love to help you develop your PERSONAL food plan to help you resolve the annoying health issues that you have. Grab a FREE consult space! Just want to learn more about nutritional therapy first? Check this out. What does working with an NTP look like? Check this out.