Plant-Based Diet And Its Benefits
A plant-based diet is mainly packed with nutrients that humans need everyday. People are initially skeptical about whether a plant-based diet fulfills our daily nutritional requirement. However, experts like my guest today assures us that it does. In this episode, Nutrition expert Sharon Palmer will explain how shifting to a plant-based diet is one of the best decisions you will ever make.
Sharon Palmer grew up in a very natural environment for as long as she can remember. Her mom grew up on a farm in Arkansas, and her father lived the farm life in Minnesota. Both her parents met when they became neighbors in Idaho.
Her family believes that wellness begins in the soil, and a plant-based diet and nutrition has always been their lifestyle. So even if Sharon Palmer was born in the suburbs in the Northwest, she grew up in a house with a large vegetable garden. That’s why she was very connected to the concept of growing food and eating real food through a plant-based diet.
Given her family background, it was not surprising that Sharon Palmer decided to pursue a career in Nutrition when she moved to California. She was likewise able to hone her journalistic writing skills and talking about the world of Nutrition.
“I’m a huge advocate of growing your food. When we are connected with our food, there are rewards. We feel better,” said Sharon Palmer. “There are more benefits to eating a plant-based diet because it is filled with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. You’re never too old to eat better.”
Sharon Palmer stresses that her philosophy is all about making more people realize that they can benefit from eating more whole plants foods through a plant-based diet. She does this by encouraging people to get on that spectrum of consuming whole plant foods and fewer animal foods.
You’ve heard that fast food is bad, right? Reaching out for those French Fries indeed is tempting! Some may argue that potatoes are considered vegetables but when it is deep fried in unhealthy oil, it’s not considered a healthy diet at all.
Sharon Palmer affirms this by saying that generally speaking, what most people eat today can be junk foods. Yes, things like French Fries and colas are made from plants, but an excellent plant-based diet is about consuming less processed foods. Real food is whole plant foods, grown close to Mother Earth and minimally processed.
“A lot of people who eat a plant-based just think that it’s all about eliminating meat. However, the benefit of a plant-based diet comes mostly from what you are eating. That would be all these whole foods like beans and lentils, whole grains like oats and quinoa, barley, fruits, veggies, spices, herbs, nuts, and seeds.” Sharon Palmer explained.
Eating According To Your Blood Type
There’s a particular type of diet that called blood type diet. The concept of this diet plan revolves around the belief that because blood types have different characteristics, it is best that people embrace a diet by their blood type.
However, Sharon Palmer doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to link our blood type to what diet we should be on. She says research points that a healthy diet would fit everybody’s genetic profile.
“By healthy diet, I mean a healthy plant-based diet. Although we are learning more about personal nutrition or nutrigenomics where we recognize that certain genetic profiles might benefit from slightly tweaking their diet. But at this point, I think we can safely say that these overall diet patterns are healthy for most of us,” said Sharon Palmer.
Obesity and Diabetes
Sharon Palmer singles out obesity and diabetes because she said there are epidemics of these health conditions in certain countries with a significant ethnic population. This is because people from those countries are following a Western diet which unfortunately has been linked to many diseases.
Studies show that obesity has numerous physical and mental risks. Aside from heart diseases and sleep issues, it can also prove fatal by developing into some types of cancer and reduce life expectancy.
Diabetes is just as severe. Initially, symptoms like headaches and itchy skin may seem minor, but if left undiagnosed, it could escalate into something more dangerous.
Studies have shown that a considerable percentage of people who have diabetes die of coronary artery disease. Sharon Palmer says a severe complication of obesity and diabetes are caused by having a processed food diet. It is therefore vital that we alter our eating habits while it is not too late.
Importance of Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12
Anemia indicates that a person suffering from this condition has an iron deficiency. That is why Sharon Palmer firmly advises people to make sure to get good sources of plant-based iron in their diet.
“Another thing is by taking Vitamin C. It can increase the absorption of iron significantly,” said Sharon Palmer. “There is iron in red meat, poultry, and fish. I think when it comes to a plant-based diet, the diet preference is an individual choice.”
Vitamin B- 12 is essential for cognition and many other issues. However, Sharon Palmer says that Vitamin B-12 can’t be found in a plant-based diet. That is why you have to take supplements to fulfill your daily nutritional requirement, and it is also essential that you choose a good brand of supplements.
The Truth About Carbohydrates
Sharon Palmer shares the fact that people on a plant-based diet usually remove a lot of carbs. Although carbohydrates are not all bad still, people have an unjustified fear of carbohydrates.
“When you look at healthy diet patterns of people who live longer, they tend to consume a high ratio of carbohydrates. So you can’t just assume that carbohydrates are bad,” said Sharon Palmer. “However, pay attention to the quality of carbohydrates. Instead of refined flour, eat whole grains especially in their intact form.”
Sharon Palmer also recommends that consuming quinoa and brown rice is the best response to the body. On the other hand, beans, nuts, seeds, lentil, and tofu are fantastic sources of protein that can take the place of animal foods.
There is a specific relationship between colon cancer and diet. According to Sharon Palmer, a high red meat diet has a significant colon cancer risk. That is why it is essential to include a substantial amount of fiber in your diet because fiber reduces toxins that can come in contact with the colon.
Sticking to a plant-based diet not only reduces the risk of colon cancer but also prevents many types of cancer as well. Sharon Palmer explains that generally speaking, cancer is an inflammatory disease. So when we eat foods high in anti-inflammatory compounds and reduce red meat in our diet, we are suppressing that chronic inflammation.
“Make sure you are also getting good sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Americans eat so much meat. Eating whole foods would help our environment, as well as animal welfare and our health. Because the Western diet has been linked to many health risks,” explained Sharon Palmer.
How To Transition To A Plant-Based Diet
So, you’re ready to start a plant-based diet? Great! Once you commit yourself, Sharon Palmer advises starting with plants rather than animal food. Eat salads using whole fruits and vegetables. This is because the fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value once they are processed. According to Sharon Palmer, Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables are better eaten fresh. The same goes for bell peppers, broccoli, berries, and tomatoes.
However, let’s face it. We’re human. And like Sharon Palmer earlier said, we are born omnivores. It is natural to have meat cravings. But that doesn’t mean following a plant-based diet is hopeless because it’s all about understanding the underlying cause of your cravings.
“If your diet is not balanced, you will crave it. If you are short on fat or calories, you will feel hungry. Usually, people who quit eating meat cold turkey experience cravings,” Sharon Palmer said. “This is because the plant-based diet has a different composition. Humans evolved to eat animal food and plants. That’s why a plant-based diet is a personal choice.”
Plan-Powered Diet Book
Sharon Palmer has two excellent books that are good references for explaining the whole concept behind a plant-based diet. The Plant-Powered Diet book contains incredible recipes and a two-week plan to help you get started on eating your way to health!
On the other hand, the Plant-Powered For Life book is primarily a cookbook jampacked with 125 delicious recipes. You’ll be amazed how veggies can taste so good! Both books are available on Sharon Palmer’s website.
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Food Rules – Michael Pollan