Healing your body with plants, without becoming a vegetarian...
This is a good topic if you hear yourself talking or thinking about having a more plant-based diet.
I presented this topic through Club Connect to the Trilogy Community on April 23, 2020 via Zoom.
The link to the slide deck is here.
The link to the video recording is here.
PS: Here is a generous remark from my friend Tina Burns, who attended the presentation.
"You did a very good job on today’s zoom meeting! It was just the right amount of info for a person to research and find for themselves the information and research to make an informed and educated opinion about a plant-based diet. Thank you, again! It was certainly “food” for thought!
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The Acronym "TASTE"
In preparation for the talk about healing our bodies with plants, I created this image. I would like to elaborate on its message.
The acronym is TASTE. The point of the talk and of this post is to inspire you to move toward healthier eating and living.
There are countless individuals who really want to live their best lives health-wise by improving their diet. And you might be in this group. I know this to be true because I hear this from others with my own ears at least weekly.
I am cognizant of the fact that within this group many people believe some of the following statements.
- We are trying to go plant-based, but it is hard.
- We know we should eat more veggies and less meat.
- We want to change our diet, but we don’t know what to eat.
- We are getting there slowly, and we have eliminated (or reduced) red meat.
This is exactly what one would expect, namely that it is a process to change one’s diet. This usually happens over time. For me, choosing a completely plant-based diet came after I had taken several other steps along the way. I describe this process in the talk.
T: Try All-Plant Meals
For those of you who think that a meal is incomplete without some form of animal protein, you might be in for a pleasant surprise. There are some remarkably satisfying foods that come from the plant kingdom. Non-vegetarians sometimes make jokes about not wanting to eat “just rabbit food” while referring to salads for a meal.
Examples of hearty vegan options are beans, hummus, sweet potatoes, sprouted whole grain tortillas, baked sriracha tofu, and of course a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
By adding delicious sauces to your vegetables, you can experience great flavors. A peanut sauce, for example, can jazz up your steamed broccoli-plus-brown rice. If you have a look at www.minimalistbaker.com and search for sauces and dressings, surely you will find some that look tantalizing.
One of my clients loves the taste of ginger but is not wild about broccoli. She wants to eat more broccoli because she believes in the health (anti-cancer) benefits. Adding a sauce with ginger helps her accomplish this.
By deciding to have some meals be free of animal products, you will discover new ways of cooking food that will help you branch out. Meatless Mondays is a popular approach. Going all plant-based for one day of a week can be a new adventure in eating and preparing delicious food.
A: Adjust Your Proportions
This is a simple approach to “upping” the nutrient quality of your meals and snacks. What this means is that when you do include non-plant-food, you keep an eye on having less of it and more fruits and veggies.
A steak dinner could become a huge salad plus a few strips of steak, like a steak salad. You could go from three eggs in the morning with a scant slice of fruit to a huge fruit salad plus one egg. You could add veggies to your pasta and crowd out the cooked meat. A big handful of leafy green veggies added to marinara sauce is beautiful to look at and one of the best things you can do to help your blood flow. I discuss this in the presentation.
When you snack, go for the fruit first, and then if you must, add a strip of cheese and a piece of chicken. The idea is to pile on the health-enhancing plants, with the result of lowering proportionately the animal products.
Speaking of snacking on fruit, here is how I weaned myself off of chips. I deliberately chose a piece of fresh, organic, seasonal, juicy fruit for my afternoon snack. As much as I love fruit, I did not normally snack on just fruit. This experiment worked great. I developed an even greater appreciation for the sweet taste of just fruit. I now enjoy this as much as I used to enjoy chips, while skipping the oil, salt, and empty calories.
S: Select a Do-Not-Eat List
Not all animal products are created equally. Particularly if you have any issues with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and fatty liver there really is no safe level of highly processed meat. This is because the inflammation to your cardiovascular vessels happens immediately following the toxic saturated fat in, for example, bacon and lunch meats.
AGE’s, or advanced glycation end products describe the damage following the fat that you ingest finding its way to your vessels. Although all animal products are potentially harmful, the ones that are the most toxic to your body are processed meats, like sandwich meats, bacon, sausage, and other animal products that have undergone extreme chemicalization.
Highly processed meat is like the perfect storm for you health-wise. It is potentially like taking poison, especially if your body is already at risk. This is also true if you have heart disease lurking in your family’s medical history.
It would be a step in the right direction for you to upgrade the type of animal products you select for consumption. If you are not ready to give up meat, fish, and poultry entirely, perhaps it is time to give up KFC, hotlinks, and beef jerky.
T: Today's Choices Matter
When you speak of making healthy choices, where in time do those choices live? For example, when you talk about your goal for the following week, or what you will do tomorrow, perhaps you can rethink that. What about today?
When you listen in to what you say and on your own thoughts, it is self-empowering to move those good intentions from the future, and relegate them to your immediate situation.
Think of pro-health choices as a snack-by-snack, meal-by-meal opportunity. You can practice bringing mindfulness to your decisions now. What could you possibly be waiting for?
One of my neighbors was preparing for an annual event at which she served fried chicken. She was holding off making pro-health choices until after the event. Her rationale was that why get started when she was just going to go off the wagon? Whether or not she chose to eat the fried chicken, she still had the power to make good choices today.
At the end of your (hopefully) long, healthy, and happy life, the result of your good fortunes will be the result of simple disciplines that you practice over time. Each time you skip the bacon and have a fruit salad; each time you drink water instead of diet soda; each time you asked the server to swap the spaghetti that came with your chicken for some steamed broccoli… and countless other little examples that add up… you are empowering your body to vector toward better health and vitality now rather than later.
Today matters. We really, always, only have today.
E: Eat Your Veggies First
Did you see the entire presentation? Again, here it is. The point is this:
I’d like to emphasize how much your body will appreciate being fed food that gives you the most bang for your buck, the most nutrition for your bite, and the most vitality for the space allocated in your mouth and stomach.
Whole foods that are plant-based meet this criteria more than anything else that you can consume. These foods are nutrient-dense, completely void of empty calories, and contain no harmful toxins or chemicals. They also provide your body with ample plant protein and an abundance of fiber. Fiber is king when it comes to heart health, weight management, satiety, and a healthy gut.
By eating your veggies and fruits first, you ensure to “rent space in your stomach” to the food that is going to provide your body with the most amount of plant protein, fat, and carbohydrates. In addition to these macro-nutrients, Mother Nature’s selections provide the most readily available and varied amounts of micro-nutrients. You probably have heard of antioxidants. These tiny nutrition powerhouses help the cells in your body stay healthy and fight off disease and inflammation.
By eating your veggies first, you will have less room for meat. Although you may still choose to eat an animal-based product, if you feel satisfied from, say, a fresh garden salad, the amount of non-plant-food you require will be less.
Perhaps I saved the best for last.
As you will see and hear in the presentation, plants will fill you up with far fewer calories. One of my clients lost twenty pounds without dieting or giving up meat entirely. I asked her what she thought made the biggest difference. She said, “Having my salad first.”
If you love to eat, what difference would it make to your body, your health, and your life to fall in love with food that is good for you?
Health matters… and so do you.
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