Numerous empirical studies have established the advantages of eating a plant based diet over one that is heavy in meats and related saturated fats. This is old news. A “less meat, more plants” style of eating can definitely improve the quality of one’s life, and it is better for the planet.
I’ve been a part-time vegan, and full-time vegetarian for more than 40 years now, and I still hear people comment on my high energy levels, my nice complexion and my abundant, full hair, which are all associated with eating in this way. I often work from 12-14 hours a day, and still manage to cook whole meals, keep my house spotless, and go out dancing at night, when I feel like it.
In addition, vegetarianism is associated with higher levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut. Additional research suggests that it also lowers the risk of heart disease, inflammatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
Vegetarianism Over 50
Can changing your diet to a meat free or low meat diet after age 50 still make a difference? Absolutely, it can, according to experts. “It’s never too early or too late to embrace a healthier lifestyle,” says a leading cardiologist. “The benefits come quickly and continue to accrue with time.”
In one study, women in that age group who ate a mostly plant diet were 34 percent more likely to be free of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and chronic diabetes, 15 years later than women whose diets included more meat.
According to a study in the medical journal, Neurology, a Mediterranean-style diet, which is based on legumes, produce, grains, and healthful oils, such as olive oil, is connected with better cognitive brain health in older adults. Those who favored fruits and vegetables in their diets, and who ate only minimal amounts of lean meats and fish, if any at all, had less brain shrinkage—linked with a reduced risk of cognitive decline—than those who ate meat on a regular basis. Eating no more than 3.5 ounces of meat daily may also help prevent the loss of brain cells equivalent to about three or four years of aging, researchers say.
How to Make the Switch
The beef and dairy industries have been allowed to thrive at our expense. Coverups of toxic situations weren’t report it to the public because they didn’t want to scare them! It’s time to put that fear into action for the sake of our planet and the lives of our children. As long as people continue to buy their products, these industries have the power and resources to fight reforms and pump money into the schools with educational propaganda. Let’s help the next generation just say NO to meat!
Any step you take will help, but the more plants and fewer animal foods, the better. Try these easy tips to help you design a plant-based diet:
- Up your vegetable and fruit intake.
Even if you decide that you can’t give up meat altogether, increasing the amount of produce that you consume will help you develop a taste for plants, and can help you transition to a higher fiber food intake. Gradually adding veggies in unexpected places, such as sliced tomato or avocado on toast, can help.
2. Resign your plate.
Try filling at least half of your plate with grains, fresh produce or beans, and downsize your meat serving. When you do choose meats, choose those lean cuts that are healthier. Think of a stir-fry heavy on the veggies and grains with thinly sliced strips of beef rather than a big steak with a spear of broccoli. Swap in chopped mushrooms or tofu for half of the ground meat you’d normally use in meatloaf, tacos, chili, or pasta sauce. Or try veggie-based dishes like burritos.
- Find your semi-veg style.
Even when you don’t eat a vegetarian diet every day, eating plant based meals once each week is a great way to start. You can replace meat ounce-for-ounce with one of the new faux meats, such as Quorn or Fieldroast brands.
Vegetarianism for Pain Relief
Because of the anti-flammatory aspects of a plant-based diet, many people who suffer from chronic pain have discovered the benefits of cutting meat out of their diets. Inflammation is a pathological condition underlying a number of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Diet provides a variety of nutrients as well as non-nutritive bioactive constituents which modulate immunomodulatory and inflammatory processes. Epidemiological data suggest that dietary patterns strongly affect inflammatory processes. Primarily the intake of fruit and vegetables as well as of whole wheat is inversely associated with the risk of inflammation.
In addition to observational studies there are also data from human intervention studies suggesting an anti-inflammatory potential of these plant foods. At the level of bioactive compounds occurring in plant foods, primarily carotenoids and flavonoids seem to modulate inflammatory as well as immunological processes. In conclusion, there is convincing evidence that plant foods and non-nutritive constituents associated with these foods modulate immunological and inflammatory processes. By means of anti-inflammatory activities a plant-based diet may contribute to the lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A high intake of vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat as recommended by all international nutrition authorities provides a wide spectrum of bioactive compounds at health-promoting concentrations.