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From Meat-Lovers to Veg-Heads: The Rise of Plant-Based Diets
May 22

Tayo Oredola | Wealth of Geeks

Sales of plant-based foods are expected to increase fivefold within the next 10 years, according to an expert report from Bloomberg Intelligence published in 2021. Not surprising, given the increase in people who have adopted plant-based diets in recent years.

What was once seen as a niche lifestyle choice has become a global phenomenon, with more and more people embracing the benefits of cutting meat and other animal products from their diets.

From celebrities to nutritionists, plant-based diets are being touted as the key to optimal health and well-being. The rise of plant-based diets can be attributed to various factors, including concerns about animal welfare, the environment, and personal health.

People are becoming more aware of the negative impact of a meat-heavy diet on their bodies and the planet and are seeking healthier and more sustainable alternatives. Jacqueline Sanchez from Parent Portfolio was motivated by her results.

She says, ''The biggest motivation for our family was from watching the documentary

Forks Over Knives
and then later

The Game Changers
. I highly believe that health is wealth. It first started with trying to find
a solution for eczema problems. Many on YouTube suggested going dairy free. I
tried it for two weeks and saw results in four days! That started my research
into a whole food plant-based diet.''

This article will explore the reasons behind the growth of plant-based diets, the benefits they offer, and how they affect how we think about food.

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet prioritizes whole, minimally processed foods from plants such
as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It involves reducing or
eliminating the consumption of animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.

Plant-based diets are often confused with veganism. However, vegans follow a plant-based diet by strictly avoiding all animal-derived products. Plant-based dieters, on the other hand, may still consume some animal products in smaller quantities.

Following a primarily plant-based dietary pattern could be a favorable decision for your body's well-being and positively affect our natural environment.

Why Are People Switching To A Plant-Based Diet?
There are numerous reasons why more people are transitioning from a meat-loving
diet to a plant-based one. Iryna Bychkiv from Lavender and Macarons says, ''After
witnessing dear people around me get sick with preventable diseases, I decided
to switch to a healthy plant-based diet. I love the idea of food as medicine,
and I truly believe that clean, plant-based eating in conjunction with exercise
and stress reduction is one of the most important factors to a healthy and happy

Here are some other reasons:

Nutrient Density
Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs
to function properly. These nutrients are often more concentrated in vegetables
compared to chicken or meat, making them a great source of nutrition. For
example, spinach is loaded with iron, while sweet potatoes are packed with
vitamin A.

Fiber Content
Vegetables are also high in fiber, which helps support healthy digestion and can
improve heart health. Natural fiber is only found in plant-based foods, so you
can increase your overall fiber intake by eating more vegetables.

Lower Fat Content
Many vegetables are naturally low in fat, making them a great option for those
looking to maintain a healthy weight. By comparison, many types of meat can be
high in saturated fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of some health

Reduced Risk of Disease
Alex Caspero MA, RD, plant-based dietitian at Delish Knowledge, says, ''In
assessing the nutrition literature, it's clear that a plant-predominant dietary
pattern is best in reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including
cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

''That's not to say that the diet has to be plant-exclusive or vegan to provide benefits; strong evidence exists to show that a plant-rich dietary pattern that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, legumes, nuts, and seeds is associated with decreased risk of all-cause mortality, even with lean meat and fish included.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

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