What is a plant-based diet like?

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What is a plant-based diet like?

One thing most people in the country seem to agree on is that you need to eat more plants. According to a 2021 study by Yale University’s Climate Change Communication Program, more than half of Americans (63 percent, regardless of political affiliation) want to eat less red meat. In the United States, plant-based products are set to become an $8 billion industry in 2022, with a growth rate of 7 percent over the previous year.

This becomes even more apparent as we look at the effects of climate change: extreme heat, more powerful storms, and so on. You may have doubts, so below we explain what is included in it.

What is a plant based diet?

The exact definition of a plant-based diet can vary, and the term is often used interchangeably with vegan. however, they are not the same.

Any food labeled vegan will be plant-based, but the opposite isn’t always true.

In general, a plant-based diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and nuts, with little or no meat, dairy, or fish. People who follow a plant-based diet do so for reasons of health, animal welfare or environmental awareness.

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Veganism is an animal rights-based ethical philosophy that abstains from all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, honey, and products containing leather, silk or wool or tested on animals.

This distinction is important because, while many people are not interested in giving up animal products completely, any reduction in our consumption of these foods will help the planet.

Are Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Better for You?

not necessarily. Vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous diets (and pescatarian and vegan diets) may be composed of fresh, whole ingredients (which are called whole grain diets, which are good for you) or highly processed (which are not). The more processed foods you add to your diet, the worse it is for your health, whether your chicken nuggets are real chicken or vegetarian.

Since the term “plant-based” is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it has become a widely used marketing tool. You’ll find it in products of questionable health, such as ultra-processed instant noodles, french fries, and energy bars.

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However, following a plant-based, whole-foods diet has myriad health benefits, including reducing the risk of diabetes, improving the gut microbiota, and generally helping you live longer.

Do I have to give up animal products completely?

Most experts (e.g. Harvard Medical School) define a plant-based diet as a diet consisting primarily of plants, with occasional consumption of small amounts of meat, fish, and dairy. From a few times to a few times. month.

Limiting meat and dairy consumption has been shown to have a significant positive impact on the health of the planet and can be beneficial to your health as well, as long as you replace meat and dairy with whole, minimally processed foods. , Like take vegetables, fruits, legumes. , nuts and grains, and not for diet soda and vegan donuts.

So you don’t have to give up meat completely.

Are Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Better for the Environment?

Yes, and the evidence for this continues to mount. Another major study was recently published showing that eating a plant-based diet is much better for the environment than eating a meat-based diet.

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Research by the University of Oxford found that people who eat a meat-free diet are responsible for 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions each day than meat eaters, and those following a low-meat, vegetarian or pescatarian diet Doing is harmful. Proportionally less harmful to land, water and biodiversity than a meat-rich diet.

Other studies have shown that the production of meat and dairy products – especially from cows – emits as much carbon per year as all the cars, trucks, planes and boats combined. (This is true whether the meat comes from a factory farm or is organically grown.)

The more plant-based your diet is, the healthier it is for the planet.

Of course, the dramatic and rapid changes needed to make real progress will require ambitious steps in government and business policy. But the cultural change that is taking place is a necessary step in that direction.

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