9 Ways to Optimize Your Plant-Based Lifestyle
Living a plant-based lifestyle can have a huge impact on your health! When making the move to eating whole, plant-based foods, you might find that you aren’t seeing the results you hope for. The good news is, there are ways to optimize your healthier eating. That’s right, you can make living a plant-based life have better results for your life.
How To Optimize Your Plant-Based Lifestyle!
“Do I really need to be 100% plant-based in order to reap the benefits of a plant-strong lifestyle?”
This is one of the most asked questions we hear from people when they ask about a move to plant-based living. It is our founder Rip Esselstyn’s mission to help people eat more plants.
Rip spent a decade as one of the premier triathletes in the world. He then joined the Austin Fire Department where he introduced his passion for a whole-food, plant-based diet to Austin’s Engine 2 Firehouse in order to rescue a firefighting brother’s health.
To document his success he wrote the national bestselling book, The Engine 2 Diet, which shows the irrefutable connection between a plant-based diet and good health. This naturally led to PLANTSTRONG.
We are here to simplify the journey to a plant-based lifestyle by providing convenient meal solutions built on a foundation of taste, nutritional integrity, and proven science.
The evidence is clear. People who consume a 100% whole food, plant-based diet are able to prevent, and in many cases reverse, the symptoms of chronic disease caused by consuming the Standard American Diet. Benefits include:
- Weight Loss
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Lower Blood Sugar
- Lower Cholesterol
- Reduced Inflammation
The evidence also shows that the closer you follow the tenets of the program, the greater your results and the more you strengthen your chances of living a long life. What are the typical results of moving to a fully plant-based lifestyle? For years, we've collected data from thousands of people at our in-person events who follow this lifestyle for just seven days and the average results include:
- Cholesterol -26 mg/dl
- LDL Cholesterol -24 mg/dl
- Triglycerides - 23 mg/dl
- Blood Pressure -10/-5 mm/Hg
- Weight -3.0 lbs.
Think about that. Seven Days. Here are a few things to keep in mind to work towards these results and move to a more healthy lifestyle.
Don’t Eat Meat
This can sound like an obvious statement. However, moving to a plant-based lifestyle means leaving meat completely. Being plant-strong means avoiding all forms of meat products whether sold as is or formed into processed meat products. When making the choice to live plant-based you will want a zero tolerance approach to consuming meat. It can help to find foods you enjoy instead such as Grandpa’s Eatloaf or a Daily Beet Burger.
Don’t Eat Dairy Products or Eggs
Animal milks can work against your health goals. Consuming them regularly or even occasionally can work against your health goals. This also applies to eggs of any variety. It’s important to note that this includes items such as goat milk, cream, or eggs from other animals. When making a move to plant-based living, you will want to completely avoid these products.
Important note -
It is important to understand what is happening inside of your body when you drink milk. When consumed, animal products create an acidic environment in the bloodstream. In response, the body leeches calcium from the bones in order to neutralize the acid. This can mean that instead of increasing calcium in the body, milk is actually diminishing it.
Oil, no matter which type, is 100% fat. All the oils and essential fat you need can be found in the proper proportions of whole foods. There is no need to extract them from olives, corn, coconut, sunflower, or any other whole plants. Consuming food in its whole and intact form is the best way to get the proper amount of essential fats your body needs. This means you will also need to give up cooking sprays when cooking. Removing oil from your life can have long-lasting impacts on your overall health.
Quick tip -
When removing oil from your menu, you can replace it with parchment paper for roasting and baking. Parchment paper will be your new best friend!
Limit Nuts and Avocados
Nuts can be a large source of inflammation in the body. Like chips, you can’t eat just one! It can be beneficial to limit your consumption of nuts to walnuts. Walnuts have an excellent omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This is not true of other nuts. You will still want your portion of walnuts to be a small one. A handful of walnuts is equivalent to 200 calories. Avocadoes should also be limited or eliminated entirely if you have heart disease, diabetes, or if you are trying to lose weight. This is because of their high-fat content.
Eat Greens at Every Meal
Adding greens to your diet is such an important part of a healthier lifestyle. While it is easy to add spinach to dinner and lunch with options such as soup, creole zucchini and brown rice, and bok choy soup, breakfast can be more difficult. Believe it or not, you can add a bit of spinach to your oatmeal for a delicious breakfast option! Your goal is to get six servings of greens a day and a serving equals a fist-sized portion of cooked greens.
Limit Your Salt Intake
When we say minimal, we mean little to none on a daily basis. Using other options to spice up your food can be better for your health. When you are purchasing food items, read labels and keep the milligrams of sodium per serving equal to or less than the number of calories per serving. Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, hummus, tamari, and pasta sauce can have as much as a 5:1 ratio of milligrams of sodium to calories per serving! Here are a few alternative seasoning options:
- Balsamic Glaze
- Lemon juice and zest
Limit Your Sugar Intake
When we say limit your sugar, we mean go as close to none as possible. Use items such as 100% pure maple syrup in recipes. Very occasionally, you might be able to use an item such as barbecue sauce. However, it is important to look at the added sugar found in sauces and marinades. As you limit your sugar intake, you will find that you’re able to better enjoy whole foods like oats, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes. By limiting sugar intake you can teach your body to enjoy things that are better for you.
Switch to 100% Whole Grains
When making this change, it is important to move to 100% whole grains. Whole grains are great because they are high in fiber. Fiber helps to fill you up while keeping your bowels moving. Different whole grains will have unique flavors and textures. This means you can add some variety to your menu. Try different whole grains out to find your favorite flavor combinations.
Move to Drinking Only Water!
Drinks can be a big hiding place for things that are harmful to your health. Switch out all of your drinks to water. You don’t have to just drink it one way though. Enjoy it from the tap, sparkling, warm, cold, iced, or even with a squeeze of lemon. The goal of drinking water is to benefit your body while removing unnecessary nutrients. Quit drinking your calories and enjoy a large glass of water.