The world of plant-based diets
It’s an interesting time for anyone thinking about entering the world of plant-based diets.
Since the documentary, “Food Inc.” pierced the veil and traumatically reconnected us to the horrors of the industrialized food chain in 2009, we started asking some important questions. Questions we had become so complacent with, like who produces our food?, or how is our food made? and what the hell is butylated hydroxyanisole, and why is it in my cereal?. Recently a flood of similar films like “What the Health”, “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”, “Fed Up,” and “Forks Over Knives” that have tasked themselves with going even further, onto elucidating the complex web of connections between nutrition and health. Together they represent a massive natural foods movement with an underlying theme that everyone, vegetarian or otherwise, can get behind: we need to be eating a lot more whole foods, and the vast majority of these foods need to be plants. This natural foods movement has a lot of people looking into the extreme end of plant consumption, something that was once only on the very fringes has found its way into the mainlight; the 100% plant-based, vegan diet.
Enter plant-based athletes like Rich Roll, Scott Jurek, Alex Dargatz, Brendan Brazier, and countless others, putting out world-class performances in everything from ultramarathons and ironmans, to bodybuilding and strong man competitions; all on nothing but plants. On another front, vegan and vegetarian celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Woody Harrelson, Brad Pitt, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Degeneres, and so many others not only follow this diet but have brought the necessary, critical-mass attention to the most pressing issues of our time, like environmental decline from animal agriculture, the ever declining health of the nation, and rapant animal cruelty. The plant-based movement certainly has momentum on its side.
In the world of nutrition, the plant-based diet has been getting a lot of favorable attention. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a collection of 100,000 dietitians and nutritionist with heavy influence over government nutrition policy, has jumped on board stating that, “Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity”. With the exception of Alzheimer’s, this is virtually every nutrition-related chronic disease on the list of the CDC’s leading causes of death; all prevented by simply eating plants. They go on to say that, “ appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful (and) nutritionally adequate”.
Despite all the momentum toward plant-based diets, people can feel a great amount of unease when they consider taking the plunge. They might fear lower intakes of nutrients like B-12, omega 3’s, calcium, or iron. And of course there’s th
e largest fear of all, PROTEIN. People really freak out about protein. This is the primary reason I’ve decided to start up this blog, because I get it, and I want to put those concerns at ease and help as many people as possible experience the life-changing benefits of a plant-based diet. I have a traditional 4-year degree in dietetics, much of the time I studied I ate meat and cheese and all the other junk that makes up the Standard American Diet. I was overweight, undernourished, hardly exercised, and I was tired all the goddamned time. I don’t want to sound contrived and say that a plant-based diet turned all that around for me… but it absolutely did. Six months after adopting a plant-based diet I ran a 3:29 mountain marathon, dramatically improved my body composition, and I continue to see my energy levels soar. And best of all I felt a new-found connection to the world around me and the friendly animals that inhabit it.
In partnership with Rescued Friends, an amazing Fort Collins CO based animal rescue, I’ll help you explore the ins and outs of a plant-based diet with an evidenced-based, science heavy approach that will always show both sides. Come back every Tuesday, we’ll cover topics like the effects of dairy consumption, nitrates in food, how to get omega 3s, and yes, we’ll talk about the mountain of benefits a plant-based diet confers.
See you next Tuesday,