Almost every healthy diet on the planet has one thing in common: they are plant-based. From veganism and vegetarianism to paleo and low carb diets, almost every diet designed for optimal health entails eating more plants – vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and legumes included.
We’ve got nothing against good, clean animal products (in fact, ask us more and we’ll tell you they’re crucial!), but we embrace the idea of a plant-based diet that’s loaded with a rainbow of veggies. We asked the pros from the wellness culinary school, PLANTLAB to break down the basics of the plant-based diet for us.
What is A Plant-Based Diet?
The popularity of plant-based diet has exploded in recent years, but what does it actually mean? As one of the only 100% plant-based culinary schools in the world, we at PLANTLAB Culinary Academy are rooted in it, and we’re here to provide a clear understanding.
plant-based and vegan are not the same. The beauty of plant-based is that plants are – like the name says – simply the base of your diet and lifestyle. At its core, a plant-based diet simply consists of minimally-processed, non-animal ingredients that are often organic and local — and thus more in season in your particular area. It is designed solely to link you more personally and healthily with the fuel you put in your body.
it’s flexible. There is an inherent flexibility to plant-based that allows for a more unique, individualized diet. Plant-based can be more approachable than veganism, which is more of a mandate.
Veganism requires that its followers never use animal products of any kind, which extends into areas like fashion and beauty. Also, despite its rigidness, it is not necessarily healthier. There are many processed foods, like Oreos for example, which are vegan but definitely neither healthy nor comprised of plants.
But being plant-based isn’t just about a diet; the motives behind being plant-based can extend into other areas of daily life. As subscribers begin being more conscious about – and seeing the benefits of – what they put inside their body, the great majority of those who embrace these foodstuffs naturally start looking at the products they use on and around their body as well. It becomes more of an overall lifestyle, which allows those benefits to both grow and compound.
A plant-based lifestyle should be one where you are mindful of how food is affecting your body, mind and overall health. That’s it.
What Are the Benefits?
A plant-based diet includes foods that are nutrient-rich, containing minerals, vitamins, fats, fiber, antioxidants and protein that help the body thrive. When you eat a food in its whole form, where it has not been manipulated or processed, you are also getting it in its most nourishing form. Nature knows better than we do, after all. When you process a food, not only are you are often stripping it of its inherent nutrition, but you are also likely adding in salt, sugars and other chemicals to replace what was taken.
Simply put: Eating plant food in its natural form – or close to it – helps the body function properly, boosts the immune system, provides antioxidants and is extremely anti-inflammatory. You are no longer antagonizing your body’s system with foreign substances it neither needs nor wants, forcing it to unnecessarily work harder to process what you put in. As such, a plant-based diet has also been shown to stabilize blood sugar, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent diabetes, help protect from chronic disease and autoimmune disorders and help with weight loss.
Our bodies know what they want — this capacity is built in. Our bodies need and crave the foodstuffs that come from that natural world, with as little doctoring as possible. It’s worthwhile to start from this natural, basic point, not because this article you’re reading is now saying so, but rather because your biology does.
Are you on a plant-based diet? How do you label the way you eat clean?
Just wondering why you consider (clean) meat essential?
Outside of B12 (which can easily be obtained from either fortified foods or a simple supplement), you can get all nutrients from plants, which is where all animals get it from as well.
As much as I agree with you and follow the same philosophy, if we are trying to have the greatest impact on the world, we need to accept people who for whatever reason will not give up ALL meat in their diet. If they reduce total meat consumption, only support local organic production and have the rest of their diet plant based… it will still be a net benefit for both them and the environment. Also, I believe that for many this might allow them to slowly step into a plant based diet, when they might dismiss it out of hand otherwise. We need to make sure we are inclusionary for all people who want to make a positive impact, and not chase them away.
My concern is that the government will double down on their subsidies to animal agriculture, keeping the prices artificially low and driving the narrative of the producers & not the scientific community.
This is was an excellent question and response. I absolutely see where both of you are coming from–the dance of wanting to save the animals (and planet) immediately vs. not wanting to turn people off to plant-based eating (and perhaps eventually, veganism). I appreciate the perspective #plantpower
Love the last question: I eat clean by replacing all of the animal products in my favorite meals with plant-based ingredients. I know that, for me, if someone wasn’t killing the animals and harvesting the meat for me, I would have never eaten meat in the first place, and I would’ve felt the health benefits a long time ago. Love the flexibility of this diet! I’m an alkaline vegan <3
The plant based lifestyle is my ultimate love. I feel it in my whole body, mind and soul. That is the answer for me that I was looking for. It changed my life and now I am helping others by preparing food right in my own kitchen. Thie plant based life style is the ultimate answer for a healthier planet!
Vegan through and through, BUT, in a whole foods plant based way. I enjoy my vegan treats like cashew ice creams and beyond meat burgers. I have also really learned to listen to my body in all of this, and my body wants and feels best with REAL food like plants!
I am a meat eater and completely believe in eating meat. I do hear what the benefits are in terms of a plant based lifestyle and I believe they are true. My family and I experienced those health benefits, unfortunately it happened because we were poor and could only afford cabbage or potatoes at the time. What I also believe is that the physical body also thrives off spirituality and can even be destroyed by it. And when eating food that feels good to the soul, your body will love you but of course that connection between what’s healthy and what the soul wants should be a harmonious one, they should work together. Unfortunately in the western world, they don’t know how to harvest and kill for food in a respectful and spiritual way. If you analyse animal predators, they are never happy or excited about killing but they do it because they have to live and the prey are never afraid of the predator which is why they can all drink and rest at the same waterhole. They understand the complexities and non control we have in life. Where I am from, when we kill an animal, you speak to it and thank it for its contribution, wish it a safe and easy transition into death and the afterlife, you give it a piece of your soul because they gave you their life. You make sure that the kill is quick and as painless as possible. You share the meat with everyone and make merry. We make sure that the animal’s contribution to our health and life is not in vain. Which is what I feel white people and the western world got wrong and so it pushed people to a plant based lifestyle. And on a bio scientific note, if all beings eat plants, we will overpopulate and plants will be extinct leading to all beings to be extinct because we will all starve refusing to eat meat