Plant-based diets: how a dietary shift can yield healthier results

Moving into the new decade, there have been an abundant amount of alternatives to combat unhealthy eating habits in order to promote a cleaner lifestyle. The widespread internet shaming of the vegan way of life has actually given a lot of insight into the true nature of plant-based diets. After many new plant-based food joints started opening up across the country, and a vegan-centered Netflix original was released, people are starting to notice that vegans may be onto something.

For decades, trusted fitness professionals and health gurus have praised the traditional diet consisting of lean meats like chicken and fish in order to lead a clean lifestyle. While vegetables were still considered important, they were seen as playing more of a supporting role to white meats. People were pushed to look for results in their overall well-being after sticking to said diet and adding exercise. However, although people were led on to believe they were doing the right thing, their bodies weren’t necessarily getting healthier. Their health, such as cholesterol levels still weren’t changing. People were getting restless and began looking for answers which lead to the immense rise in the relevance of the plant-based diet. 

What people don’t realize is that the plant-based diet has been around for a very long time. Although many believe it stemmed from the growing concern for animal treatment, the reality is that its popularity has grown due to marketing strategies. Companies began to rebrand their products from being “vegan” to “plant based.” Foods that were plant based seemed more glamorous than meals that were just vegetarian. As soon as more people began transitioning to a plant-based diet, a great debate began. People had to decide which was healthier: the vegetarian diet or the completely vegan diet. 

Plant-based diets have been proven to benefit the body more than diets that include white meat. Studies have compared the cholesterol levels of those who ingest white meat and those who  ingest plant-based protein. The results show that participants who were assigned the vegan diet had better cholesterol levels than the participants who were allowed to eat white meat. It has been found that both white and red meat raise blood cholesterol and may contribute to heart disease. In fact, by increasing plant protein intake and decreasing meat intake, the chances of heart disease lowers and a longer life is more likely.

It’s time people start recognizing the scientific facts and give up on the chicken breasts and steaks. Most any beloved meat product on the market today has a healthier alternative that tastes the same, looks the same and has the same texture. Beyond Meat products, which are being used in burgers at big fast food chains, are just a few of many meat alternatives that people can try in order to live a cleaner, healthier life. With innovative plant-based products becoming more prevalent today there is no real need or benefit in consuming meat.

Another added bonus in participating in the plant-based diet is that it provides a solution to an ethical problem. The slaying of animals would decrease exponentially. With more media attention on the cruel treatment of animals for our consumption such as dairy cows, people are looking to make a change starting with the things they eat. Organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are reaching out to younger generations on social media platforms such as Twitter in order to spread their message on the negative welfare of dairy cows. These instances help urge more people to switch to plant-based diets, not just for themselves, but for other living things on Earth.

The emergence of different milk substitutes has proven that cows don’t need to be the sole supplier for nutrients. Soy milk lowers bad cholesterol in the body and decreases the risk of heart disease. In regards to calcium, poppy, sesame and chia seeds have proven to contain high amounts of calcium along with other nutrients as a substitute for dairy products. Even with chicken, tofu or gardein has proven to provide the same look, texture and taste in favorite dishes like chicken nuggets and tenders. 

The plant-based wave has been advancing and introducing tasty alternatives into homes, so that people don’t have to feel like they are making a huge sacrifice giving up meat. With new recipes only getting better with time, people can finally start to feel healthy.

 

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