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The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 3)

Part 3 of this series continues with “Some unexpected benefits of eating a plant-based diet.”


A lot of people who claim to be vegetarian eat more than simple plant-based foods and a little research will show that there are many different types of vegetarian diets and the four most common ones are:

1.    Vegan – Strictly plant based: No animal flesh, no eggs, and no dairy products are allowed.

2.    Lacto-vegetarian – Mostly plant-based: No animal flesh or eggs, but dairy products are OK.

3.    Lacto-ovo-vegetarian – Partly plant-based: No animal flesh but dairy products and eggs are OK.

4.     Pescatarian – Questionably whether vegetarian (The Vegetarian Society, does not recognize pescatarians as true vegetarians): Pescatarians eat no animal flesh except seafood; dairy products and eggs are optional.

The rest of the text in this article (and the preceding two articles) applies to veganism or a strict plant-based diet as opposed to the “vegetarian” types (2, 3, & 4) mentioned above.


In an analysis published in 2009 in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers noted that plant-based diets are associated with:

• Lower levels of triglycerides

• Lower concentrations of inflammatory markers such as C-reative protein (CRP)

• Lower blood pressure

Decreased body weight and body mass index (BMI)

Decreased risk of premature death from any cause, including heart disease

Improved insulin sensitivity

Better blood sugar control in patients with diabetes

The heart benefits of eating more plant foods are well-established by large-scale studies such as the “Nurses’ Health Study” and the “Health Professionals Follow-up Study.” These studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a 20% reduced risk of heart disease and a 27% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially stroke.

The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada say that plant-based diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Vegans also have substantially lower rates of the following health problems:

• Heart disease

Blood cholesterol levels

Blood pressure


Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes

Prostate cancer

Colon cancer

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit organization of doctors and others promoting preventive medicine, recommends a quality plant-based diet for the treatment and prevention of many health conditions.

Some of the world’s populations are known to have extraordinary long, healthy and happy lives. There are areas in the world where disease is virtually unknown, even in the oldest persons. Studies have shown that their exceptional health is largely attributed to low-calorie, plant-based, whole foods diets. Genetics are ruled out as a significant factor because when these same people are exposed to Western-style diets they quickly develop the same diseases common to Westerners.

Okay, so here are some unexpected benefits of eating a plant-based diet.

You’ll be doing a huge favor for the environment: Most people don’t realize it, but our insatiable appetite for animal protein contributes 50% more greenhouse gases than our planes, trains, trucks, cars and ships? Needless to say, our environment benefits greatly every time someone cuts animal foods out of their diet.

You’ll feel more connected to your higher (or spiritual) self: Not getting nearly enough fiber is one pitfall of eating the standard American diet, and that equates to sluggishness. When provided with the valuable fiber found in a plant-based diet your body is better able to cleanse itself and space is opened up within. Whenever someone upgrades to a plant-based diet, this naturally brings about a desire to connect to our source and our highest self.  When we can be our truest selves then we are in the best position to share our inherent gifts with others.

Compassion naturally arises in someone when they stop eating meat: This isn’t meant to imply that you didn’t care about animals before, but I’ll bet you didn’t know (and probably didn’t want to know) what was actually happening to the cows, pigs, and chickens before they turned up in your supermarket. Two billion animals suffer and then are killed every week just so they can show up on our dinner plates. It’s unconscionable.

You’ll be saving money: By eating an assortment of veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes as the base for your meals is actually quite cost effective. That difference makes up for the slightly higher priced organic produce, you’ll be comfortable knowing it’s an investment in your long-term health and that can mean big savings.

Creativity is enhanced: Cleaning up your diet and switching to plant-based foods will bring about a profound change in your creative expression. Your thinking will be clearer and new and inspiring ideas will come in abundance.

You’ll lose unwanted weight: Nearly all plant-based foods are much less caloric and very dense nutritionally, a sure “win-win” situation for weight loss. You’ll likely never feel deprived when eating this way, and quite possibly you’ll feel satisfied more quickly because your body is telling your brain it’s getting what it needs.

In summary: Contrary to popular myth, vegans have healthy bones and higher blood protein levels than omnivores. Vegans in fact average fewer nutrient deficiencies than average omnivores. But there are a couple important nutritional considerations. There are two vitamins not readily available in plants: vitamins D and B-12…Unless you live in the extreme northern (or southern) hemisphere, you can get ample vitamin D from the sun, and very little sun exposure is needed to provide your body’s needs. A natural source of vitamin B-12 can be found in nutritional yeasts. One brand of nutritional yeast, Red Star, has been tested and shown to contain active vitamin B-12. Those sensitive to other yeasts can also use it. Also recommended for vegans are algae-based long chain omega 3 fatty acids.

*Of related interest, click on: The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 1)

& The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 2)


The Advantages of a Plant-Based Diet (Pt. 2)

Part 2 of this series continues with “Reasons why you should eat plant-based diet.”

Ever since the introduction of documentaries such as “Forks Over Knives” (click on – trailer), “Vegucated” (trailer), and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” (full documentary), American’s are being exposed to the ever growing list of benefits of eating a plant-based diet. At first the claims may seem doubtful that a plant-based diet will greatly decrease your chances of Cardiovascular disease (aka heart disease), reduce or eliminate your risk of cancer, help you to shed those unwanted pounds. Additionally, plant-based diet has been shown to be an effective solution for type II diabetics and those with osteoporosis have seen it reversed. Simply stated, a diet high in animal protein is disastrous to our health, while a plant-based (vegan) diet prevents disease and is restorative to our health. And doctors and nutritional scientists say this with peer-reviewed (the gold standard of studies) science to back them up.

People are also finding that going vegan is much more than being selective about what you are eating. When you convert to a plant-based diet you are literally saving hundreds of animals’ lives each year, you’re helping preserve our Earth’s fragile environment and you’re being kind to your body in the process.  You’ll experience a fundamental philosophical shift in your mind, body and spirit, resulting in an overall transformation of yourself. It will change your life.

Now on to the reasons why you should eat plant-based diet…

Eating plant-based foods will be a tremendous aid for you to attain, maintain or regain an optimal state of health. Undeniable medical evidence has now shown conclusively that a whole foods plant-based diet is instrumental in preventing and/or reversing a plethora of diseases and conditions, including inflammation, anxiety, depression, Lupus, MS, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, and the list goes on. The China Study which surveyed over 6,500 people from over 65 countries remains the largest and most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and proves beyond a doubt that a plant-based diet is prolonging lives. After the publication of this book, there’s not much room left for debate.

Cancer prevention. Because Cancers originate from your body’s damaged cells, it is critical to preserve the health of those cells and in today’s world this is both a challenge and your responsibility. “The science base is very strong that fruits and vegetables are protective for all the gastrointestinal cancers and all the smoking-related cancers,” to quote Tim Byers, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Constipation and bowel disorders. What a worthwhile benefit a plant-based diet is for a country that spends millions on pharmaceuticals, supplements, vitamins, herbs and laxatives all so that you can loosen your stool and become regular. This condition can be prevented or reversed simply by changing your diet; when you eat a healthy plant-based diet, regularity is greatly enhanced, resulting in much lower incidence of colon cancer and other diseases of the colon. 

Compassion for animals. As stated above, each and every individual will be saving hundreds of animals from inhumane treatment and slaughter by going vegan. There is no such thing as a ‘kind slaughter’ as some in the meat industry would have you believe and this even includes those animals that graze exclusively. The documentary “Earthlings” (