Studies show that those who consume a plant-based diet live longer, age better, have stronger immune systems, and experience improved cardiovascular health than those who consume meat and animal products. This makes perfect sense considering that food derived from the earth has been proven to produce a healing effect on the body. On the contrary, human-made and processed foods have been proven to contribute to a multitude of otherwise avoidable diseases. Want to get the most out of your vegan diet? Follow these five tips …
1. Consume raw food as often as possible
One benefit of a plant-based diet is capitalizing on all of the potent vitamins and minerals that natural food contains. To accomplish this, consuming a majority of raw food is the way to go. On average, food loses up to 60 percent of the nutrients upon heating, which leaves only 40 percent of the vitamins and minerals that would have been absorbed if consumed raw. In addition, consuming raw food at least 70 percent of the time is significantly gentler on the digestive system, as cooked meals demand increased energy from the body in order to complete the digestion process, whereas raw food effortlessly extracts potent nutrients and eliminates what’s not needed.
2. Stop counting calories
Vegans can let go of the diet mentality because there’s no need to track our daily food intake when natural plant-based foods are consumed. In the case of whole foods, there is no such thing as too much. For instance, you could eat numerous servings of salad, a bowl of rice, a plate of potatoes, fresh fruit, and a healthy dessert throughout the day and still have the same amount of calories as one fast-food dinner. Aren’t vegans lucky?
3. Load up on carbohydrates
Due to societal brainwashing caused by nefarious marketing, many believe that carbohydrates of any kind are harmful. Sadly, this misconception extends to rice, potatoes, and whole grains. Yes, these staple foods contain a high level of carbohydrates, but they are examples of the healthy kind of starches that our bodies crave. All types of fruit and vegetables—and beans, nuts, and whole grains—contain natural carbohydrates, so you’ll never experience a shortage of energy when eating vegan. For the ultimate carb-loading dinner, try our amazing Vegan Vegetable Couscous!
4. Avoid flour
White flour is processed, stripped of all nutrients, and bleached, making it an unhealthy ingredient that slowly poisons our bodies. Sure, white flour is inexpensive and versatile, and can be used in a variety of baked goods, but there are many healthier alternatives that allow you to satisfy your craving without the negative side effects. Instead, try baking with almond, rice, chickpea, or oat flour, as these healthier alternatives are packed with the nutrients the body craves. And to get an idea of just how delicious white flour alternatives can be, might we suggest our Vegan Zucchini Walnut Bread?
5. Limit alcohol consumption
Enjoying an alcoholic beverage now and then is fun, but liquor should be consumed in moderation, as alcohol delivers zero health benefits, can send your body and mind into a tailspin, and inhibits weight loss. Having even one drink per week will send your body into shock, altering the normally efficient way that it is designed to run. Do yourself a favor and limit your alcohol intake to once per month—or less if you have the will power! And because many people drink to relax the mind and body, why not try yoga or meditation instead? Both practices provide a feeling of instant tranquility—minus the hangover. If you find yourself drinking to have fun, try challenging yourself by starting a new exercise class or beginning a new hobby. There are so many healthy and natural alternatives to choose from rather than spending our nights in a bar.
Jennifer B. Niles is the author of My Yoga Transformation and Eating Vegan-On a Budget!
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