With so many diets circling around the web, it may be hard to decide what is right for you. We all know now that what you put in your mouth is more than just for flavor or preference, but can affect your entire body, mind, and soul. Before we get deep into the topic, let’s just say that whatever you decide may be different than your neighbor, and that is perfectly okay. We all have different body types, nutritional needs, health goals, lifestyle and beliefs that affect our dietary decisions.
A plant-based diet simply means that you are eating whole foods that are not processed (such as lunch meats), contain preservatives (such as fast food), or fake (such as artificial colors and flavors). Also considered a vegan diet which excludes animal products, meat, dairy, eggs, etc. or vegetarian which excludes meat, eating a plant-based diet can be summarized by only eating things that are derived from plants which include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens.
If you’ve ever seen Food, Inc., Forks over Knives, What the Health, Cowspiracy, or any other documentary revealing the unfortunate truths of the meat industry, you may have been compelled to go vegetarian, or even vegan for a time. There are also many advocates in your area, depending on where you live, books exposed to you in college, or other ways you have been exposed to vegetarian/veganism.
According to Food Revolution.org, Veganism has grown as the most popular fad in 2018, and reports a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years. A report by research firm GlobalData, only 1% of U.S. consumers claimed to be vegan in 2014. And in 2017, that number rose to 6%. With such a rise in this change to veganism, you may be wondering if switching to a plant-based diet is right for you.
There are many social, environmental, and financial pros and cons to this change in diet, but here are a few health-related pros and cons to consider.
The pros: Plants are high in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, naturally. If food is our fuel, then plant-based foods have all that we need to keep moving healthy and strong. Plants are low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free, rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to, the Cleveland Clinic, Research reveals that following this type of diet will lower your risks of heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and digestive disease.
The cons: According to Medical News Today, “animal products are important sources of protein, nonsaturated fats, iron, vitamins, and minerals in the standard diet of a person in the U.S.A vegan needs to find alternative sources of these nutrients”. Embracing a plant-based diet and avoiding meats has been said to lack essential vitamins such as A, D3, B12, k2, and would call for supplements to be taken to make up for this deficiency.
Embracing a healthy, balanced lifestyle is important for you and those around you, and that may be translated differently from one person to the next. Eating a plant-based diet, may or may not be right for your needs, just remember to pay attention to your body if you try it out. Ensure that your body has all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function properly both short term and long term.