How a plant-based diet could make you happier and healthier

Today we are welcoming a new contributor to Happy Magazine, Ciara Doran. Ciara is a stay-at-home mum with a big passion for all things natural and chemical-free. Today she is sharing some information about the possible health and happiness benefits of moving to a more or a complete plant-based diet.

Have you heard? A plant-based diet could make you healthier and happier! There are so many good reasons to make the switch. Plant-based diet research shows an exciting array of health benefits and unlimited positive testimonials regarding better health, wellbeing and mental state. There are many and varied studies to prove it.

A huge amount of people are changing to plant-based diets and choosing to boycott meat, dairy and processed food due to hormones found in meat and dairy and chemicals in processed foods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state that appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets are fine for all stages of life-cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, even athletes. Venus Williams is a vegan, since finding out she had Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease).

A healthy plant-based diet involves lots of vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds. The idea is to maximise on consumption of nutrient-dense plants and cut out animal products and processed foods completely.

Please note: It is advised to speak with your health care provider and tailor a plan with a registered dietician to suit your exact needs when switching to a plant-based diet. If you have kidney disease you will require a tailored plan due to levels of potassium and phosphorus which requires lab tests. Women with a history of breast cancer should avoid soy-based products such as tofu, tempeh and soy milk due to estrogen.

Due to the rising medical problems associated with unhealthy lifestyles such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and more, doctors are now starting to advise plant-based diets to their patients.

The Chinese government want to decrease meat consumption by 50% by 2050. Apart from the obvious health costs, greenhouse gases would be reduced by 70%.

Saving the planet is another great reason to embark on a healthy plant-based diet. Factory farming is responsible for 50% of the planet’s greenhouse gases. Robert Goodland, a former lead environmental adviser to the World Bank, and Jeff Anhang, a current adviser, suggests that domesticated animals cause 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), more than the combined impact of industry and energy. The accepted figure is 18 per cent, taken from a landmark UN report in 2006, Livestock’s Long Shadow.

Apart from the health benefits and saving the planet, research now shows that switching to a plant-based diet reduces depression, improves mood, eases tension and anxiety and reduces fatigue.

The high level of antioxidants and reduced carbohydrates are one reason. Then they tested out plant-based diets during a study on depressed people in 10 different facilities in 10 states in America that proved a plant-based, cholesterol-free diet improved emotional wellbeing, physical and mental health. The removal of arachidonic acid from the diet by eliminating meat, chicken and eggs reduces neuroinflammation (the inflammation of the brain). Patients had better sleep, more energy, vitality and work productivity.

According to health professionals, choosing a plant-based diet is our best chance to avoid chronic disease and even reverse it in some cases.


Here is a list of definitions for the various plant-based diets –

Vegan/total vegetarian – No animal products (meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products)

Raw food vegan – Same as above but not cooked above 48°C/118°F

Lacto vegetarian – Same as above but includes eggs and dairy

Mediterranean – Plant-based but allows a small amount of chicken, dairy, eggs and red meat once or twice a month. Fish and oil are encouraged.

Whole food plant-based low fat – plant foods in whole form, veg and fruit, seeds, legumes and nuts (limited). No animal products or fat.

You will need to supplement your Vitamin B12 as it is not found in a strictly plant-based diet. It is also possible you may need to supplement iron, calcium and vitamin D. Fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6 may also need supplementing but can be found in flax seeds and linseeds. Talk to your health care provider and they will be able to advise you further.

To read more about peer-reviewed plant-based research studies, outcomes, methods, analysis and conclusions go to http://www.plantbasedresearch.org

With an increase in quality of life and health for making the switch, it is definitely worth it.

Here’s to a healthier and happier you!

Ciara is from Wicklow in Ireland and is a stay-at-home Mum to two beautiful baby girls. She set up her blog after discovering the amazing benefits of natural skincare. She discovered after having skin problems her whole life into her thirties, that organic and chemical-free products were the answer to her skin issues. She began creating her own facial masks, scrubs and balms using essential and carrier oils with kitchen basics such a oats, sugar, baking soda and salt. Amazed by the results, she decided to start a natural skincare blog to show others the fantastic benefits.

She set up coolthingsilove.com and decided to take on a healthy lifestyle including diet, health and wellbeing which she focuses on in her blog. She went on to discover Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic and became and Independent consultant, setting up an online shop uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/ciaradoran.

She eventually set up a magazine style blog featuring lifestyle, beauty, fashion, news, home interiors, travel and food called Blog News Weekly which is updated every Sunday. After watching the tv documentary “My Chemical Life” she is trying to cut out chemicals from her life, wherever possible. She is a firm believer in self-care and having positivity and gratitude, which she writes about in her blog regularly.

 

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