Plant-based, Whole Food…An Emerging Trend or a Reemergence?

Plant-based, Whole Food…An Emerging Trend or a Reemergence?

Chefs & Experts

Plant-based, Whole Food…An Emerging Trend or a Reemergence?

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Over 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Considering that all things old are made new again, we’re now in the midst of a dietary revolution that’s centered on the realization that we truly are what we eat.

What do we eat? The vast majority of us consume what is known as the Standard American Diet (SAD)—a diet that consists of 35% fat, 17% protein, typically comprised of dairy and other animal products loaded with disease-promoting saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, and 48% carbohydrates, the vast majority of which are classified as simple carbs such as sugar and refined flour. We are severely fiber deficient, as a result spending hundreds of millions each year on laxatives. Chances are you’re aware of the obesity and chronic disease trends in our great nation: one third of all adults are considered obese, as are 17% of our children, and diabetes, heart disease and other chronic and autoimmune disease are on the rise. These statistics are alarming and cause for grave concern.

There is good news. Why? Because we are emerging from our Standard American Diet slumber to recognize that . . . let’s all say it together . . . WE ARE WHAT WE EAT! Just ask former President Bill Clinton. After reading Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, President Clinton, already a patient of Dean Ornish, MD, made the final shift to a plant-based, whole food diet. As a result, Mr. Clinton has a lean physique and has reversed his heart disease.

Contrast the SAD against a plant-based, whole food diet—one that delivers superior nutritional value, comprised of the most health promoting chemicals and nutrients known to man. When shifting to a plant-based diet, your body will be fiber-filled—a finely tuned digestive system is cause for celebration! You’ll benefit from an abundance of the phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

What foods are included in a plant-based, whole foods diet? Veggies, fruit, beans, lentils, whole grains, and raw nuts and seeds. Where veggies and fruit are concerned, make an effort to eat a wide array—every color in the rainbow. Beans and lentils are a tremendous source of fiber. When selecting whole grains, don’t believe what’s on the front of a package—make sure the list of ingredients clearly indicates “whole” grain, and remember that foods in nature’s package are the most healthful option. Veggies, fruit, beans, whole grains: these complex carbohydrates, as opposed to simple, processed carbs, help to stabilize your blood sugar and give your body the energy and nutrients it needs. Raw nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flax seed, are also packed with nutritional punch.

You may be wondering: Is this vegetarian or vegan? No! The “V” words only speak to what one does not eat, rather than what one should eat. You could consume nothing but chips and soda and call yourself vegan. What should one eat for optimal health? A plant-based, whole foods diet.

What about protein and calcium? Consider this: Have you ever seen an elephant or gorilla that was lacking in muscle mass? These are plant-based eaters. All of the foods in nature’s package—beans, veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds—contain varying levels of protein, fat, calcium, and all of the other health-promoting chemicals and nutrients our bodies need. Cornell professor and author, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, refers to the “symphony” that takes place in our bodies when we consume these foods—they work together to give our bodies what’s required to provide vibrant health.

Rediscover what Hippocrates knew so long ago. Let’s uncover the wonderful world of delicious and nutritious, health-promoting plant-based, whole foods nutrition.

 

Opinions are those of our columnists.

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