The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.
If I could make a single dietary recommendation to people looking to establish vibrant living, it would be to eat more plants! Most people I talk to desire more energy, better sleep, clearer thinking and brighter moods. What we eat significantly impacts how healthy and happy we are, and moving towards a plant-based diet is one of the simplest ways to radically improve your health, your sleep and your mood.
Over the past few years, I’ve done of a lot of experimenting with what, when and how I eat, in hopes of optimizing what feeds my body, mind and Spirit. As a result, I’ve made some pretty big changes: I quit caffeine, stopped drinking alcohol, cut out processed sugars and other processed foods and most importantly seriously boosted the amount and variety of plants I eat.
What’s a Plant-Based Diet?
The simple answer is that you eat a heck of a lot more plants and you reduce or eliminate meat and animal products like dairy and eggs. There is an abundance of plant foods that most people never eat, and eating a plant-based diet means you diversify the types of foods you eat. Does this mean you have to become a vegetarian? No, but it does require reducing animal products and significantly increasing the amount of greens, veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds you eat. It’s empowering and exciting to explore all the amazing plant-based foods out there.
Five Powerful Reasons to Eat More Plants
1. Health - Documentaries like “Forks over Knives” and books like "In Defense of Food" have awakened many people to the science behind eating a plant-based diet. It’s a fact that people who switch to eating more plants and reduce their consumption of meat and animals products lose weight, improve their heart health, stay healthy as they age, improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer. And maybe the most powerful scientific evidence in support of a plant-based diet was Dr. Dean Ornish’s research, which showed that eating a plant-based, vegetarian diet in conjunction with other lifestyle changes could, in fact, reverse heart disease.
2. Ahimsa - Ahimsa is a founding principle of yoga and means to do no harm. In this context by eating a plant-based diet we are practicing ahimsa for the environment and for all the animals in the food industry. When I was in high school my mom bought me an eye-opening book, called Old McDonald Had a Factory Farm. That book forever changed the way I viewed what was on my plate. We have a great responsibility to tread lightly on this planet and by switching to a plant-based diet you are helping to support a sustainable future and to lessen the cruelty that often occurs to millions of animals.
3. Get Regular - Yup. I’m talking poop. I see so many people who do not have regular movements. Either they are not going at all or their unpredictable movements prevent them from traveling too far from away a bathroom at any given time. This is a worthwhile benefit of eating more plants. If you think it’s normal to not go for days at a time, you’re wrong. Can this be reversed simply by changing your diet? Yes. When you eat a healthy plant-based diet, your challenges with constipation or an overactive system will evaporate.
4. Radiant Skin - Your skin will literally glow and any acne will most likely vanish. Plant-based meals, vegetables, and fruits are incredibly hydrating. Your skin will radiate vibrant health.
5. Walk in the Footsteps of Greats - There is a very long list of famous, intelligent and influential people who have chosen a plant-based diet including, Betty White, Denzel Washington, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jane Goodall, Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, and Rosa Parks (my favorite on the list) to name a few.
Remember when making any change to start slow, set realistic goals and get the support you need. For recipe ideas check out my free Eat Green Guide. Perhaps Michael Pollan summarized it best in his book In Defense of Food: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Wishing You Vibrant Living!
In my practice I support busy folks to create a life they love through the everyday wisdom of Ayurveda. By exploring food and lifestyle choices in a holistic way I guide you on a practical and personal journey into what it takes to create vibrant living; mind, body and Spirit.