Eat more plants!
I am often asked about my personal dietary preference as well as what my opinion is on various other dietary preferences and here are my thoughts:
Let me start by saying I prefer to not label my personal dietary preference. Instead I prefer to focus my “preference” around certain principles:
- Being flexible, realistic and letting of the pressure to eat perfectly.
- Listening to what my body is OR isn’t feeling like.
- Focusing on energy balance (output versus input).
- Making sure that 70 – 80% of my meals come from natural, unrefined and wholesome sources.
- ALWAYS EAT MORE PLANTS!
I believe that dietary preference is a SUPER personal thing – we are ALL individuals and whether it is for ethical reasons or health you need to find what works for you.
If you haven’t found what works for you yet, then my suggestion would be to start. There is NO such thing as perfect eating, take the pressure off and enjoy the beauty of BECOMING! A little patience, TRUST in yourself and trust in YOUR body together with some good old trial and error goes a LONG way. The only way to figure out what works for you is to keep trying and NEVER GIVE UP!
Here is one of my MANY trial and error stories for you…
I once trialed out going full vegan for a little while… BEYONCE made me do it 😉 I thought that I was going to love it BUT once I got stuck in, I (personally) experienced that being full vegan made me VERY tired and hungry all the time. It just didn’t agree with me, and since then I have found that a small to moderate amount of good quality animal protein coupled with a mostly plant-based diet has worked the best for me. I would never have known this if it wasn’t for a good few years of committing to find what works for me.
No matter your dietary preference, there is no doubt in mind of the following:
- Meat consumption across the world needs to decrease!
- The quality of the food that you eat is important!
- Pay attention to quantity and energy balance (calories in versus calories out)
- Beware of refined and processed foods (vegan or not)
- Take extra care to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to thrive
- Never underestimate the power and impact of a healthy and balanced overall lifestyle!
As a health coach and personal trainer, I prefer to keep a neutral stance when it comes to dietary preference. However, no matter how or what you choose to eat I will FOREVER encourage you to listen to your body, focus on quality and EAT ALLLLL THE PLANTS!
Why You Should Eat More Plants?
Studies show that a diet rich in plants promotes better overall health, is better for our planet AND can help to decrease the risk of developing certain chronic diseases.
What Does a Plant-Based Diet Looks Like?
MORE: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes plus unrefined and minimally processed foods
LESS: Meat, dairy, eggs or processed or refined foods.
What I love the most about the idea of eating more plants is that it doesn’t necessarily mean fully avoiding animal products. Animal proteins can happily fit into a plant-based lifestyle, yet they make up a much smaller role of your overall diet than that of veggies and whole grains etc.
Aside from competing, I generally incorporate 2 portions animal protein into my daily meals, the rest focusing mainly on being plant based. Having said that, somedays I go without meat and others I go with having more meat than usual. This is where the flexibility comes in, listening to my body and doing the best that I can.
The Health Benefits of Eating More Plants
When consuming unprocessed and unrefined plant-based foods, you reap the benefits of their wonderful fiber content.
Eating food rich in fiber helps to promote regular bowel movements and a healthy gut.
Further, when consuming foods which are both fiber and nutrient rich you will not only get fuller faster, but you will be fuller for longer too – helping you to consume less calories.
When it comes to weight loss or healthy weight management, it all comes down to balancing your calories in versus your calories out. By eating nutrient dense, fiber filled plant sources you can help yourself to either loss or maintain a healthy weight.
Energy & Blood Sugar Levels
Eating wholesome plant-based foods can help to sustain your energy. This is largely due to the digestion process. Consuming whole foods means that your food gets broken down slowly in the gut – ultimately resulting in a gradual release of glucose into your blood stream.
NO crazy sugar spikes and crashes leaves room for stable energy and blood sugar levels. By avoiding, limiting or minimizing that constant sugar roller-coaster ride, the chances of your body becoming insulin resistant or developing type 2 diabetes decreases.
Healthy from the Inside Out
Plant based food are packed in all the good stuff – important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats and phytochemicals – all of which play a very important role in helping you to glow and be healthy from the inside out!
Better for the Planet
There is no doubt that decreasing our global meat consumption will not only have a positive effect on our health, but more importantly on our planet too!
My Key Takeaway
No matter what your dietary preference. I always advocate that 70 – 80% of your overall diet needs to come from wholesome, good quality food. The more plants the better!
By being mindful of your meat consumption, eating less processed foods and focusing on incorporating more plant-based foods into your daily diet – your body will thrive! Not only is this way or eating better for the planet but it can also work wonders for your health, digestion, skin and energy!
An Easy Way to Eat More Plants…
Switch up your protein powder although I am not vegan, most of the time my protein powder preference is a plant-based version. Why? Because I love to find the healthy balance between eating more plants while minimizing my meat consumption where possible!
It can be pretty tricky to find a plant based protein powder which is decent in taste and texture however I have recently been trailing out Youthful Living’s Vegan Lean Plant Protein (shop here) and I am SO impressed. I have definitely tried my fair share of plant-based protein powders (both locally plus internationally) and this one stands up with the BEST of them!
EVEN if you just start by switching your protein powder, it’s a start to EATING MORE PLANTS! Let’s all eat more plants together!
BONUS! YOU CAN ALSO EAT MORE PLANTS BY MAKING THIS Scrumptious Vegan Banana Bread Recipe!
- 5 cups oat flour (blend gluten-free oats)
- 1/2 cup Youthful Living Vanilla Vegan Lean Protein Powderor Youthful Living WheyRejuv Protein
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 large eggs or 2 flax eggs
- 5 cups mashed, ripe banana
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
- Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips Or 1/3 cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- Grease (with coconut oil) your bread dish or tin
- Add all the ingredients to your high-speed blender. Scrape the sides and blend until combined.
- Pour mixture into tin & place in and place in oven for 40 – 45 minutes, removing it when a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let it cool down in the tin for 10 minutes. Pace on cooling rack, slice and enjoy.
Youthful Living products are also sold at Dischem stores nationwide.
Written Andene Thomson