A big part of what I advocate to friends, family, and clients are the benefits of a plant based diet. I’m telling you, eating a plant based diet is the fountain of youth. For anyone that wants to look younger and feel better, it is an easy choice. I have been there, I know the anxiety that comes with completely going cold turkey vegan. Yet, when you start small it seems less daunting. That is why I coach people through transitioning to a plant based diet by slowly “cutting back.” What ends up happening is a two-fold situation. First, people’s eyes are opened to the endless world of plant based options (that taste amazing). Secondly, people realize that they physically feel and look better: their energy increases, mood improve, and they have fewer health issues.
I know it may seem hard to give up some of your animal based favorites, but I want to share with you some of the reasons why you should consider at least limiting your intake. From the experience of my clients, friends, and myself who have switched to a plant based diet, I can attest to the fact that you age better. People are often surprised when I tell them my age. I have no wrinkles, very little grey hair, strong & lean muscles, an even mood, lots of energy, and a healthy sex drive. These are things that begin to deteriorate in your 40’s and 50’s; while a plant based diet balances you out hormonally, emotionally, and physically. With a plant based diets are, you less likely to age in comparison with your peers who eat a predominately animal based diet.
I have three sisters who all eat a diet high in animal based protein. Each of them had hysterectomies, growths, and fibroid cysts on their uterus. They are probably going to be mad when they read this, but we have the same genetics and I am in my 50’s, with no fibroid cysts. In fact, I still get my menstrual period. Animal products do a number on your hormones; one being growths and cysts are extremely more common for women. Another bi-product, of this kind of diet, is the trend in women going through menopause earlier than ever. Today, 80 percent of all antibiotics made in the United States go to animal agriculture. Essentially, you are injecting yourself with hormones and antibiotics, not meant for humans, every time you consume animal protein. Not even mentioning the unnatural amounts of sodium injected into these animals. My mother’s generation went through menopause in their 50’s and the scary reality is that the trend has shifted to woman beginning menopause in their late 30’s and early 40’s. This doesn’t help with the anti-aging process…
A lot of people ask me about protein…”How do you get protein on a plant based diet?” This obsession with protein and the misconception that animal products are the best and only source of protein is thanks to billions of dollars of marketing and lobbying by the meat and dairy industry. Most of the largest and strongest animals are herbivores; elephants, horses, rhinos, gorillas, ox, cows, etc. These creatures get enough protein to build large muscles and maintain good health. They are known as primary consumers because they receive their energy from plants. This works like a pyramid, and the further up humans are, the less energy we receive from the lower tier. As we consume these animals, we only intake about 25 percent of the nutrients and protein they took from their food source (i.e. plants). If we went right to their source of nutrients, plants, we would consume triple the amount of nutrients. What people don’t realize is that all plants, nuts, seeds, and legumes have plenty of protein and a significantly higher quality of nutrient dense protein. The largest study comparing the nutrient intake of meat-eaters with plant-eaters showed that the average plant eaters not only gets enough protein, but 70 percent more than they need. A peanut butter sandwich contains as much protein as three ounces of beef or 3 large eggs. You get more than enough protein on a plant based diet!!
“But.what about carbs?” This is the next question I get. “Don’t carbs make you fat?” It’s a big misconception that “carbs make you fat.” Unrefined carbs like brown rice, oats, potatoes, bananas, etc. are consistently associated with decreased body fat. I have a very low body fat index and I don’t know many vegans that have high body fat. I mean.. if you want to eat Oreos, chips, and every other vegan junk food, this is a different topic. Yet, if you are eating healthy carbs, you are not going to get fat from it. Keto type diets that are built on meat and other animal products can’t produce the energy you need to live your best life; it will simply result in fatigue, brain fog, inflammation, and other negative health effects. Inflammation can prolong healing time from injuries, sickness, and slow recovery time from workouts. Plants on the other hand, are pack with anti-inflammatory agents and powerful antioxidants which help you feel and perform better.
When I began this vegan journey many years ago, there were no “vegan” or “plant-based” options in the grocery store – other than a block of tofu. There was no almond milk, oat milk or plant-based “milks.” I had to make my own vegan milk, cheese, butter, mayonnaise..all of it by scratch. It was not easy being vegan back then and anyone that knew me chalked up my lifestyle to an “eating disorder.” Now, it’s considered “cool” to be vegan and people are waking up to the benefits and the tasty alternatives to animal products. The immense amount of vegan options is causing even non-vegans to consume these products because they taste better than the animal based alternative. My goal with Steph’s FitCulture is to share with you plant based recipes and give you lots of ideas to stay happy, healthy, and youthful! If you chose to eat animal products, at least know where they come from. Buy your meat, diary, and eggs from a local farmer’s market..the chances are better that these animals were treated more humanely and are less likely to be injected with hormones, antibiotics and things you really don’t want to consume.
I leave you with this quote….“The major causes of chronic diseases are known, and if these risk factors were eliminated, at least 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; over 40 percent of cancer would be prevented (World Health Organization).” In other words, while our genes can be a factor, the lifestyle choices we make are usually far more important.