Giving up the foods we love isn’t easy and we are so conditioned to seek out diets as a way to fix our weight problems. The problem with counting calories or measuring foods, is that they don’t improve our health and provide us only with short-term weight loss. Dieting is also not a sustainable way to live. Eating healthy is a lifestyle that is on-going and a commitment to a longer, healthier life. Eating whole and plant-based foods is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle. In eating these foods, there is no pressure to succeed as it’s a win-win when it comes to overall health and weight loss. In fact, weight loss is the secondary benefit to eating whole foods. However, when changing your dietary habits, it should be at your own pace but what if there are other rewards your body could that might be more important than weight loss? Let’s take a look to learn more.
Digestion of Food
Health begins with the gut. If you’re body doesn’t recognize an ingredient, it’s most likely going to respond in a negative way. Most meats and dairy products are acid producing and are more difficult for your stomach to digest. Processed foods also contain chemicals that can be very hard on the gut and difficult to eliminate from the body. Plant-based foods on the other hand are more alkaline, contain fiber which not only regulates digestion but helps cleanse the body of toxins.
We all experience stress but consuming whole and plant-based foods promotes a happier lifestyle. Why? When you consume foreign substances like additives, preservatives, and refined sugar, your body has to work overtime to process and eliminate the toxic chemicals. On the other hand, plant-based foods are 100% natural and with the increase of water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients being consumed, your body has the ammunition to fight off invasions like colds, flus, and chronic illnesses. When your gut and organs feel good, so does the rest of your body from head to toe. Having a body that feels good affects the mindset and most people experience the side effect of feeling good most of the time.
Consuming animal foods, especially meat is very hard to digest. When your body works overtime to digest foods that are high in fat, it requires a lot of energy. On the other hand, plant-based foods take very little time to digest as they are lower in fat and nutrient dense. A mineral that is largely overlooked is magnesium. Regardless if you are plant-based or not, everyone requires magnesium. This mineral is essential for energy and regulating your mood and plant-based foods are very high in magnesium. Foods such as nuts, seeds, cacao, whole grains, and leafy greens are great sources of magnesium.
Quality of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important needs in our lives. Without it, we break down not just physically, but also mentally. Lack of sleep can cause moodiness, sluggishness, lack of concentration so getting the right amount of sleep to get you through your day is essential. Research has shown that foods containing melatonin, serotonin, tryptophan, potassium and magnesium help to relax the body and mind, which in turn can help you get more sleep. Plant-based foods such as almonds contain high amounts of trytophan, which is a sleep enhancing amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin.
Plant-based foods help lower inflammation. Since most plants are more alkaline, this can aid in reducing inflammation. Your diet can either create a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory environment. When you consume more plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can actually fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals that damage your body.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well
Your Compassionate Coach,