The benefits of a plant based diet ... as seen in the Trilogy Magazine, November 2019
Copyright © 2019 Rosie Bank
Dear health seekers - regarding a plant based diet …
The following article appeared in Trilogy Magazine in November 2019. This is the community in which my husband and I live. We are surrounded by age 55+ women and men who are all about living life to the max. You can read in my message how incredible it is to be at this stage in our lives and still enjoy tons of energy, playfulness, and a vision for more vitality-filled decades to come.
I hope you enjoy.
Healing Your Body with Plants
By Rosie Bank
Copyright© Rosie Bank 2019
Here at Trilogy, many of us understand the importance of being active in order to have great health for decades. We want to crush it on the pickleball court, keep up on group bike rides, and boogie in Zumba without restriction.
But it takes more than exercise to stay healthy. What we eat and how we nourish our bodies have a lot to do with living with vitality. As common as they are in America today, diets high in saturated fat, processed and refined flours, commercial fats and oils, an imbalance in macro-nutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein), and an insufficiency in micro-nutrients can seriously hamper our health.
The antioxidants and phytochemicals that are essential to our health come from fruits and vegetables. Eating whole foods in the form of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes ensures that we are taking in an abundance of macro-and-micro nutrients. These foods are like medicine for our heart, brain, gut, weight, kidneys, liver, prostate, breasts… well, all of us.
Doctors like Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, and Caldwell Esselstyn even use plant-based diet and whole foods to help reverse heart disease and diabetes in their patients. The traditional approach to treating these diseases does not address the underlying causes, which are often diet-related. I saw this first-hand with both of my parents. They were treated by top medical specialists, and neither received more than a couple of passing comments from their doctors about the possibility of using food to heal their bodies instead of (or in addition to) medicine.
My dad was morbidly obese, yet none of the experts talked about how he was feeding his body and the adverse impact this was having on his health. My father lived short and died long from heart disease, while making no adjustments to his diet or his weight. I often wonder how his life could have improved if his doctors had been more aligned with the connection between food and health.
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Many doctors today are realizing that the right food is fundamental to good health.
Where does one start?
Are you thinking of improving your health by eating more fruits and vegetables? My first tip for you to move toward eating a more plants based diet is to avoid doing this simply because it’s trendy or fashionable. How you nurture your body and the choices you make are personal. When I decided to eat only whole foods from plants and to eliminate all animal products from my diet, I had a conversation with myself to make sure that this was not just for show or for bragging rights. On the contrary, my choice came from a place deep inside myself – a real desire and a firm commitment to be a good steward of my own health.
There are two schools of thought; a moderate one is to ease into this way of eating gradually. “Meatless Mondays” describes having one day a week when you give up all animal products. You add fruits, veggies, whole grains, seeds, and nuts to your meals. Whole foods like this bathe your cells with powerful plant-based phytochemicals that heal your gut, reduce inflammation, improve your sensitivity to insulin, and help quell some of the lingering cancer biomarkers. Living enzymes from vegetables feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, which supports hormonal health and keeps your body’s hunger signals on track. Leafy greens promote nitrous oxide in your blood vessels, which helps your blood flow, enabling you to get more nutrients to every cell in your body. Blood that flows freely is very good for heart and vascular health.
Let yourself be pleasantly surprised. Although not all of my clients are ready to give up animal products, every one of them noticed how delicious a robust green salad is with lots of tasty fixings. This includes any of the following: cubed tofu, olives, grilled tempeh, toasted nuts and seeds, beans, store-bought or home-grown sprouts, any and all veggies (grilled, steamed, or raw), berries, orange slices, and cooked quinoa or brown rice. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve gotten fantastic reports of improved “bathroom” results from folks who swapped out animal products for more plants.
The other approach is to jump in with both feet. Dr. Neal Barnard, who wrote Program for Reversing Diabetes, encourages his patients to commit to his twenty-one day program. He believes that after three weeks, you’ll feel so much better that you may want to switch from a program mentality to a full-on lifestyle change.
What about Protein and Fiber?
You may be asking, “where do I get my protein and fiber?” And the truth is, plants alone offer plenty of both.
Protein deficiency is rare. In fact, to optimize heart health and to dial back the challenges and risks associated with diabetes, less protein has been proven effective. There is adequate protein in vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and whole grains. Soy-based products like tofu, tempeh, miso, and edamame are also excellent sources of protein.
Fiber is only found in plants; there is none in animal products. Heart health, insulin sensitivity, feeling satisfied after a meal, managing your weight, and promoting gut health are all correlated with plant-based fiber. While you can get some of your fiber from pills, they do not contain the same soluble and insoluble fiber that needs to be chewed and mixed with your saliva in order to do its magic.
I recommend eating more veggies instead of relying on a fiber supplement. Some good options include vegetables in the cruciferous family (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts). They are not only loaded with fiber, but also sulforaphane, a compound associated with reducing cancer, improved digestion, and heart health.
Love Your Body
Approaching what you eat with an attitude of gratitude and respect for your body will be its own reward. If you feel like you want to make the leap toward a plant-based diet and learn more about where most food in our society comes from, I recommend you watch the documentary films Food, Inc. and Food Matters or read The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle. Learn how you can become proactive about your health and reap the benefits.
Giving up all animal products is not for everyone. But hopefully, loving our bodies and getting our bodies to love us back is. Jim Rohn says, “If you don’t have a body, where will you live?” Try eating like this until you have what I love to call a “bump.” A bump of more energy. A bump of better elimination. A bump of clear-headedness. A bump of freedom from craving processed food. When this happens, you will have arrived at a new level of providing your body with optimal nourishment and love. At this point, your body really will love you back.
Sidebar | “Meatless Monday” Meal
Here is a super simple recipe you can try. Begin with a sprouted grain tortilla. A reliable brand is Ezekiel, which I find at my local Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. You can heat it gently in the microwave or at about 250° in your oven. Pile on top some black beans (drained and rinsed), minced scallion, chopped cabbage, chopped red pepper, a handful of chopped leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, or Romaine) and sliced avocado. Add your favorite fresh salsa and you have a delicious and fresh meal. Feel free to add any fresh veggies you want, since you are only limited by your creativity.
For more plant-based recipes, one of my favorites is “The How Not to Die Cookbook” by Dr. Michael Greger.
About Rosie (As described in Trilogy Magazine)
Rosie Bank is a Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is the founder of Health Matters Coaching, is an international speaker, and the author of Health Matters. Rosie has been helping people live more successfully in their bodies since the mid-1970’s. Rosie maintains a practice locally and throughout the US via video conferencing. Rosie leads the Vitality Club in Trilogy at The Vineyards and offers workshops in meditation and mindful eating. For more information on Rosie, visit www.HealthMattersCoaching.com.
Rosie also holds these qualifications:
- Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
- Certification in Plant Based Nutrition by The Center for Nutrition Studies (e-Cornell).
- Nutrition and Wellness Consultant certification through the American Fitness Professionals Association.
- Nutrition Advisor through Sanoviv Medical Institute.
- Advanced Rolfer and Rolf Movement Educator
- Graduate Iyengar Yoga Institute
Rosie founded The Vitality Club in Brentwood, CA in 2018.
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