4 Reasons I Advocate For Plant- Based Eating

As you may know, one of my favourite expressions is to eat veggies like it’s your job!

In many respects, that’s a cornerstone of good nutrition! No matter what else you eat – or don’t eat – you can’t go wrong by loading up your plate with an abundance of colourful and nutritious vegetables.

I’ve long had an interest in plant-based eating and nutrition; I completed the certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University in 2011. As such, one event that I try to never miss is Ottawa Veg Fest – and it is happening this coming weekend!

Now in its 8th year, Ottawa Veg Fest brings out thousands of people and teaches them about the products and services that support the vegan and plant based lifestyle. There are exhibitors, cooking demos and speakers. It’s so much fun, and a great way to learn about the benefits of plant based eating in a laid back environment.

I also love to check out the innovative businesses that are doing amazing things to replicate the animal-based products that we all love – but in a way that is healthier, and kinder to animals and the environment.

Kale Yeah Veggie Juice!

Serves 2

1 large bunch of kale

3 apples

4 large carrots

3 inches of ginger

1 lime and lemon

Juice all the above.

I love using this combination mid afternoon when I need a quick pick me up. Kale is great to help detoxify and purify from toxins.

Pass the kale, please!

Here are four reasons why plant-based diets can be a great choice for your health~

1.Eating more plants lowers your risk of heart disease
Research shows that people who follow a plant-based diet have a lower risk of diseases like heart disease and cancer. Some research has suggested that eating a very low-fat, plant-based diet and other lifestyle changes could, in fact, reverse heart disease in some patients.

The Adventist Health Study-2 found that vegetarians had a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure than non-vegetarians. While about 50 percent of people in the United States will develop high blood pressure by the age of 60, research shows that populations that consume a diet comprised mostly of vegetables have virtually no increase in hypertension as they age.

2.Plants are high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are protective compounds that prevent cells and tissues from being damaged by clearing our bodies of free radicals. Free radicals are chemically unstable oxygen atoms that have one or more unpaired electrons; they then steal electrons from other atoms in your body, causing damage to cells, proteins, and DNA.

Some antioxidants include flavonoids, tannins, phenols and lignans. Plant-based foods are the best sources, including fruits, vegetables and their juices, whole-grain products, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and even cocoa.

3.Plants are a great source of dietary fiber
Plant foods like legumes have plenty of dietary fiber, which promotes regularity and normal cholesterol levels. Eating a plant-based diet means eating loads of fruits and veggies that are packed with fiber, which helps to keep us feeling full.
Dietary fibre is actually a form of carbohydrate that does not get digested by enzymes in our small intestine, so is therefore known as non glycemic.
It has a range of valuable health effects, including providing fuel for our large intestine’s good bacteria, speeds up transit through intestines to remove bodily waste and toxins, and regulates bowel action, which reduces cancer risk.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women consume at least 21 grams of fiber a day while men should shoot for at least 30 grams. A single cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber while a cup of lentils has a whopping 15.6 grams!
4. Plants are low in “bad” fats
Fats are good for us, and an important part of a healthy diet. But all fats are not created equally! our understanding about the role of fat in the diet has changed a lot and the situation is far more complex than we originally thought.

The idea that we need to avoid all dietary fats, including healthful plant ones, is outdated and even harmful. Foods like avocado, nuts and nut butters, olives, tofu, dressings and sauces are healthy ways to consume good fats, and add flavour and substance to plant based diets. Plants are naturally low in trans-fat, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

So go ahead – eat all of the veggies that you can fit on your plate! And visit Ottawa Veg Fest this coming weekend at the RA Centre, June 3-4. www.vegfest.ca!