A wholefood plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat! But a diet is not necessarily healthy just because it’s vegetarian or vegan.
I’ve encountered plenty of what I call ‘junk-etarians’ in my practice: people who avoid animal products but replace them with low-nutrient foods like pasta, bread, vegetarian convenience foods and sweets. Understandably, their health suffers from these poor nutritional choices.
You can’t achieve vibrant health just by excluding animal products. You have to include ample amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other unrefined, high-nutrient foods like legumes, nuts and seeds.
Sadly, many of my vegetarian and vegan clients have been told by doctors, dieticians and even other naturopaths, that plant-based diets are intrinsically inadequate, no matter how well-planned they are. They are often advised that plant-based diets lack protein, calcium, iron and other nutrients.
While you should ensure that your diet provides enough nutrients, there is absolutely no evidence to support many of these claims.
Thee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states:
“Scientific data suggests positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for several chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer. Vegetarian diets, like all diets, need to be planned appropriately to be nutritionally adequate… appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
So if you are planning on going vegetarian make sure you do your research and carefully plan your diet. Ensuring you and your family are gaining enough vitamins and nutrients is key to longevity and health for years to come!
For some wonderful recipe ideas get a copy of Hopewood Lifestyle – it has over 100 delicious vegetarian dishes. Check it out here.