Embracing Your ‘Roots’ and Plant-based Diets

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by Briana Lerner, Lifestyle Staff Writer

Lately, plant-based diets have become all the rage amongst many. This strict, fruit-and-veggies-only diet is not to be confused with veganism, a complete lifestyle change that encompasses diet, clothing and personal care items. Veganism is based on ethics along with health. A plant-based diet, however, means eliminating meat or animal products from your meals, including eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, honey, gelatin and more.

This may sound like a cheeseburger-lover’s worst nightmare, but experts say that the health benefits are impressive. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegetarians and vegans are more likely to have lower cholesterol, lower BMI and lower blood pressure. There is even evidence that a plant-based diet lowers the risk of obesity, leading to a lower risk for illnesses including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Those with a plant-based diet also consume more foods that protect against cancer, including foods high in fiber and vitamin C.

On the more external side of bodily benefits, cutting out dairy is also great for your skin. The hormones in milk can affect your own body’s hormone levels. This can cause inflammation, thus emphasizing your acne. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found a correlation between consumption of milk and an increased amount of acne in teenaged boys.

However, this diet can cause some deficiencies, such as vitamin B-12, vitamin D and calcium. Those considering a plant-based diet should consider taking additional supplements or finding fortified foods. Also, contrary to popular belief, foods high in protein are not hard to come by in plants. Beans, tofu, tempeh and lentils are all wonderful plant-based sources of proteins.

All these benefits may sound appealing, but avoiding animal products may come as a challenge to those who love a good grilled cheese. You don’t have to start by cutting out all animal products, but you can be more cognizant about how much fruits and veggies you are getting and how certain foods make you feel. Tailor this diet to your needs, as no diet plan is a once-size-fits-all. Choose what’s right for you!

For anyone considering this diet change, there are tons of blogs and websites with delicious plant-based recipes to try. The multitude of benefits offered by eating only plants could change how you think about food and nourishing your body.

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