The plant based diet is getting a lot of buzz lately. Today, because of the incredible need for health improvement amongst the vast majority of people – not only in the U.S. but also in the world (vegans and vegetarians included) – AND because of the growing body of scientific nutritional research, the notion of “healthy eating” is constantly being defined and refined.
You might think that if you are eating a plant-based diet, then you would automatically be healthy, right? Not necessarily. Just as someone can be eating an unhealthy omnivorous diet, a diet based on plants can be unhealthy too if it isn’t done correctly. I talk more about this on the vegan vs. vegetarian vs. plant based diet page.
When I started eating a diet of mostly plants about 15 years ago, I didn’t know very much about nutrition and I thought I was eating in a very healthy way. And I may have been eating better than most people I knew, but honestly, in America today that’s not saying much.
The standard American diet (SAD) is woefully inadequate and the fact that humans continue to survive just shows that we are able to live on almost anything. But whether we CAN live on certain foods and survive, says nothing about whether we SHOULD live on those foods. And it certainly says nothing about whether we will THRIVE on those foods either.
Does a Plant Based Diet = Healthy Eating?
There are many versions of plant based diets floating around today – everything from the raw food diet to 80/10/10 to Nutritarian to the McDougall diet and many iterations in between. Some are high fat, some are low fat. Some say eat raw foods, others say cooked is fine.
The vegetarian and vegan diets were the original “healthy” diets, but many today (including me) are recognizing that these words do not always equal health. Have you ever met a vegan that looks anything BUT healthy? Me too. That’s because vegan doesn’t necessarily = health.
To try to get closer to a term that more specifically describes an optimal diet for health, many of us have started using whole food plant based diet instead (a term coined by the amazing researcher T. Colin Campbell). Eating whole foods is an extremely important part of achieving good health. I talk about it more here.
What about the fat content of your diet? Does it matter? Didn’t “low-fat” diets fail miserably? Check out the low fat, high fiber diet page to learn more about this issue.
Are you looking for specifics about exactly how to make a plant based diet a healthy one? What do you eat, how much, etc.? Check out these pages for more information –