Ah, dieting. A world of fads, half-truths, and contradictory advice that make eating healthy seem like it requires an advanced degree. With all the claims and information flying at us, it’s no wonder that plant-based diets have become the forerunner in healthy dieting. So, is your plant-based diet really good for you? The short answer is yes. Plant-based diets are generally better for the body and the environment. Recall the Mediterranean Diet we described in Oohvie’s How to Age Gracefully blog. Any diet that consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains reduces cholesterol and limits your risk of heart disease. That being true, there are still some pitfalls to watch out for if you plan to “go veg.” Here’s what you need to know and how you can apply it to your healthy eating practices.
Tailor Your Plant-Based Diets
It was only a decade ago that the top-cited reason for committing to a plant-based diet was ethical concerns. Now it’s simply considered a healthy way to live with much less strict ideals within “veg culture.” Gone are the days where introducing small amounts of meat or fish were considered diet heresy. Most doctors agree that plant-based diets can result in low protein intake, iron deficiency, lack of B12, and decreased bone mineralization because of lower intake of calcium and vitamin D. The answer? Simply introduce foods rich in these elements in moderation. In lieu of that, supplements to replace the nutrients lost will help you decrease your risk of bone fractures, fatigue, and weakness.
Junk Food Vegan “Diets”
This is a pitfall of plant-based diets that we as a culture need to put under a microscope. It’s a mistake to assume that just because you’re shifting to a plant-based diet, you will automatically be healthier. “Junk Food Vegans,” as they are known, are people who subscribe to a plant-based diet but find the food choices limiting or too cumbersome to deal with. As a result, their primary food intake comes from highly processed foods that are technically in line with their diet, but not necessarily what they should be eating. For instance, making a meal out of string cheese, cereal, and chips isn’t going to make you healthier—quite the opposite. When you switch to a plant-based diet, speak to a HealthLynked doctor about creating a meal plan for you to ensure that you’re getting the proper nutrients in the right quantities.