What is a plant-based diet, and why does it matter?

By Ingrid Steinberg   SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

For most Americans, transitioning to a plantbased diet is the single most impactful change we can make to reduce our environmental footprint. Transitioning to a whole-food plant-based diet, may also be the biggest positive change we can make for our health, vitality, and longevity.

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like. It involves eating mostly or exclusively plant foods. (Fungi, even though they aren’t technically plants, are included.) Animal products, including red meat, dairy, poultry, eggs and fish are to be excluded or minimized. In a pithy phrase introduced by Michael Pollan, a recipe for good health for yourself, your community, and the planet is this: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” By “food” Pollan has in mind unprocessed or minimally processed foods – the kind of foods your grandmother or perhaps these days, great-grandmother would recognize as food. In other words, whole foods rather than industrially processed foods. Highly processed substances that provide poor nutrition and harm our health and the environment are, according to Pollan, not actually food. We should think of them instead as “edible food-like substances.”

 

 Many people do not realize just how damaging our industrial meat system is to workers, surrounding communities, consumers, animals, and the planet itself. Industrial animal farming and our excessive consumption of animal products is harming our world in a number of different ways:

 

 

At a time when there is so much bad news, it is encouraging to learn that with one simple and often delicious change in habits — a change that can be undertaken from the socially distanced safety of our homes — we can resist the damage inflicted on our environment, on our fellow creatures, and on each other by a flawed and increasingly fragile food system.

 

Eating a whole food, plant based diet is associated with a lower incidence of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, hypertension, and obesity. It has been shown to arrest, and in some cases even reverse some of these disorders. At a time when chronic and pre-existing conditions are associated with higher mortality rates from Covid-19 infection, when the supply of animal products is unreliable, and when workers are being put at even higher risk in meat processing plants, now seems a perfect time to give this new way of eating a try.

2 Comments

  • Alicia Albek says:

    Awesome article on the importance of a plant based diet and lifestyle!! Thank you Ingrid for educating the community on this imperative knowledge that must change the world we live in today. We are here to support you and the community in any way possible, to transition to a plant based/vegan existence. Live Cruelty free!

  • Alicia Albek says:

    VAMOS VEGAN! I’m available for socially distanced vegan tours of our local markets or any other info I can help you with !

    vamosvegan@gmail.com , Alicia Albek 310-420-2562

    Find us also on our group in Facebook and Instagram!

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