A Unified Approach: The Plant-Based Diet

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vegetables2Whether you’re from a red state, blue state or swing state, we can all agree we need a unified diet to combat obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, our nation’s top killers.

Politics aside, science shows that moving vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes into one fell swoop – a plant-based diet – is clinically proven to wipe out the early formation of most health threats. This prescription increases our nutrient profile, giving us the vitamins and minerals we need, while stabilizing blood sugar.

Here are four ways to get started.

1. Add bulk and texture to meals with beans. This inexpensive, nutrient-dense staple adds protein to plant-based meals, like salads and stews, and provides extra bulk – fiber – without extra calories. This volumetric-based approach to eating is one way to trick your mind into thinking you’re full. Outside of psychological warfare, changes start on a cellular level: studies show lentils, beans and peas stabilize blood glucose after every meal. This is one reason a plant-based vegan diet reduces diabetes risk by 62%.
Rx: Consume at least 40 grams of daily fiber.

2. Load up with fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens fare particularly well: eat an extra 1.5 cups each day to slash diabetes risk by 14%. Start by adding a handful of leafy greens to each meal, which makes it easy to supersede your daily quota for diabetes-fighting foods.
Rx: In addition to consuming at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, aim to eat seven colors of the nutrition rainbow each day.

3. Incorporate whole grains into meals. Like our Founding Fathers, whole grains provide a template we can work with to create a new vision for the future. Starting in our gut, whole grains – natural prebiotics – feed probiotics, our gut bugs, which assemble into microbial teams to fight inflammation and chronic disease. If there’s anything to leave behind on January 21, 2017, it’s a no-carb or low-carb diet. Instead of eliminating grains, opt for the best varieties: steel-cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, millet and buckwheat pasta.
Rx: When it comes to grains, opt for ancient and low-glycemic versions.

4. Water is a beverage of champions. Swap sugar-sweetened beverages for water – tap, filtered or bottled – to stay hydrated throughout the day. Build meals and snacks around water-packed fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots and red pepper sticks, to create a natural defense against dehydration and hunger pains, which can take even the most dedicated president out of the Oval Office in a search for a late-night snack.
Rx: Ditch soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. Hydrate with plant-based foods and water.

What can be more patriotic than terminating archaic eating patterns, also known as a Western-style diet, while creating a new legacy for our next generation to follow?

We’re not sure, but this nonpartisan prescription for optimal health starts and ends with plant-based foods!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023