I know many meat-eating enthusiasts would find it nigh on impossible to convert to a plant-based diet, but what's the harm in giving it a trial run for 2-3 months? After all, if you're after optimal energy, disease prevention or weight loss, a plant-based food plan will likely boost your chances. Many of our chronic ailments and so-called incurable diseases can be avoided by simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Here are 5 reasons to switch over to a plant-based diet:
Fruits, vegetables, beans and grains (preferably the gluten-free range) are less caloric and nutrient dense, making them ideal for weight loss diets. Contrary to popular belief, you'll never go hungry eating this way because over time your digestive system will feel fuller and less clogged up.
Did you realise that our insatiable appetite for meat contributed to over 50% more greenhouse gases than trains, cars, planes and ships? That's a pretty large number. The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop eating animals. Without trying to turn this into an anti-meat rant, the animals we raise for food production use a ton of resources, such as eating more plants than we do and giving off huge amounts of planet-warming methane. Basically, they create a lot of pollution.
If you eat beans, legumes, whole grains and vegetables for most of your meals, you'll save a lot of money. Everyone is aware about the sky-high prices for meat and poultry these days. Big packs of lentils, which are relatively cheap to buy, make a lot of soup and potatoes aren't too expensive either. With all those added savings, you can splash out on organic produce for even better plant-based ingredients.
Not only are they easier to prepare and consume than your usual high-calorie breakfast, but what other drinks provide fibre, protein, antioxidants and healthy fats in one meal? Don't answer me with a generic protein shake.
Here's one combination that works wonders on your health and energy levels: blend a cup of chopped bananas with any other fruit (strawberries and coconut are a good choice) and fill with apple juice and almond milk. Throw in a handful of kale, a tablespoon of almond butter and one teaspoon of hemp protein. After blending, you'll be left with a delicious green smoothie. For added sweetness, include a spoon of natural honey or dry dates.
If you haven't heard about legumes, you need to wake up and take notice. Firstly, they're high in fibre, protein and carbs, and secondly, they're feel-good foods for satiety and balancing blood sugar levels.
Here's a popular, easy to prepare example: spread hummus on wholemeal brown bread and layer it with cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach leaves. Rather than choosing the same old packets of hummus at your local supermarket, look for flavoured varieties like mint or cilantro down at the farmer's market.
Lentils, which are high in iron and protein, are also simple to cook. If you've disliked lentils in the past, that's because you haven't tried authentic Punjabi lentils. Make sure to learn the recipe at home otherwise you'll end up eating a big bowl of buttered lentils in most restaurants.If you asked me to a make a single dietary recommendation to people looking to improve their health, it would be to move to a plant-based diet. For those who aren't yet ready to dive straight in, try including more plant-based ingredients during meal times. They'll make you slimmer, stronger, healthier and more energetic. You only need to look at Popeye for proof.