Thinking about a plant-based diet? Read this first.
There are many reasons why you might consider a plant-based diet, one of which is probably to improve your health.
Going plant-based for the sake of improving your health, for many, is a huge leap. But it’s important to point out that just because something is vegan or plant-based, doesn’t necessarily make it healthy or good for you. I mean, french fries and Oreos are both vegan.
The truth is, many vegan foods are highly processed. And when they are, it’s hard to know exactly what is in them.
I was recently reminded of this when I read some disturbing news about the Impossible Burger. If you haven’t heard of it, the Impossible Burger is a 100% plant-based burger developed by Impossible Foods that is engineered to taste exactly like meat. Because animal agriculture occupies almost half the land on earth, consumes a quarter of our fresh water and destroys our ecosystem, Impossible Foods is on a mission to eliminate it and instead make meat using only plants so that we can eat all the meat we want without destroying our planet.
While I applaud their mission, it’s important to point out that they are producing a genetically modified food, which means that it’s unnatural and has been genetically engineered or artificially altered in order to produce a meat-like taste or characteristic
Before I go any further, let me say that I am all for a company with a bold mission to save the earth and our animals. Furthermore, living in Los Angeles, I have had the pleasure of being among some of the first in the country to try the Impossible Burger and I will be the first to admit that it is delicious and incredibly meat-like in flavor.
This is by no means a take down piece on Impossible Foods. I’ve been following their journey for a couple of years, and the fact that they’re already on the second iteration of the burger (Impossible 2.0), shows that they’re a company interested in evolving and offering better ingredients (the second version contains 30% less sodium and 40% less saturated fat than the first, and just as much protein as 80/20 ground beef from cow. It’s also gluten-free).
The only point that I am trying to make here, is that if you’ve chosen a plant-based diet for yourself in order to improve your health, then you should probably stick to one that is made up of predominantly whole foods.
The basic principles of a plant-based whole foods diet emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods; avoiding animal products and by-products; and focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The fact of the matter is that research continues to suggest that this way of eating is exceptional for heart health; may reduce your risk for certain types of cancer and diabetes; and may slow or prevent cognitive decline. It’s also preferred if your main motivation is to lose weight and improve your immune system.
If your main motivation for rethinking how you eat has more to do with the ethical treatment of animals or environmental impact, then a simple vegan diet may be perfect for you. But if your health is your number one priority, then there’s no question that a plant-based whole foods diet is the way to go.