Michael Pollan puts it best in his novel In Defense of Food, when he writes, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. It truly is that simple.
Many people today have an unhealthy obsession with food. I am one of those people, which is probably why I decided to spend my Friday night writing this. I have always used the phrase ‘food for fuel’ when choosing what to put into my body. Since age 16 a quick nutrient assessment runs through my head prior to making any decision about what to eat. But, do I really understand what it means to eat healthy?, or like many others, am I still confused with all the contradictory information being published and marketed?
My food decisions have changed drastically over the last 15 years. I went from low fat/no carbs to high ‘good’ fats, and from no meats to lots of lean meat, and circling back to only eggs and the odd bit of fish. Along with all of those changes I jumped on the various diet band wagons to try and keep my weight in check. More recently after a visit to a Naturopath, I eliminated dairy and wheat from my diet to help deal with IBS- that one I have never looked back on. The jury is still out on whether I truly have a wheat sensitivity, but I do know it makes me bloated, so I avoid it. Most people have no problem avoiding foods that makes them feel less than optimal, but the trick is figuring out what those foods are.
What biochemist, Dr. T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study is suggesting is a simple solution to the ever confusing, ever changing issue of- ‘what constitutes a healthy diet?’. As an individual, whose personal philosophy centers around simplicity and minimalism, the whole foods plant based diet sounded like the perfect solution. The China Study is considered the most comprehensive study in nutrition and I was able to get the facts I needed from that book. Many doctors and researchers have been suggesting a plant based diet for years now, and after watching the documentary Food Choices, I was hooked. There was no turning back, I adopted a plant based diet overnight. The main premise to the new diet I adopted is simple: eat foods that are found in nature. This statement eliminates 80% of the products found at the local grocery store and has therefore made the daunting task of grocery shopping for healthy food that much easier!
The facts are in. We have huge control over our health simply by what we eat. We must not think of nutrients as single components, but foods as a whole. No one would disagree with you if you said that vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods, so it makes sense that these should make us the bulk the fuel for your body. We can’t outsmart nature with vitamins and supplements in pill form.
Some of the main concerns people have when told about this simple solution are the following:
A person’s recommend dietary allowance for protein is based on body weight; the formula is: 0.8 x kg of body weight (to find out your weight in kg’s divide pounds by 2.2).
So, for myself for example :125 lbs./2.2 = 56.82kg x 0.8 grams= 45.45 grams
Many people today consume double their daily recommended allowance of protein.
So much money is wasted on nutrient deficient foods. A handful of crackers, or a sugar filled granola bar are providing you with calories, but not much else. Once you replace your meals with heaping plates full of nutrient dense food, you will no longer crave those empty calories, because your body will be full up of everything it needs to fuel your day!
Who doesn’t want to help save the planet and feel better physically while doing it. Some of the benefits from adopting this diet according to Colin Campbell in his book The China Study, are as follows:
I’m only on week three of this new diet, but I will post a follow up to outline my progress in eating a totally plant based diet. Part 2 will focus more on logistics and how I am feeling on this newly adopted way of eating.