Agenda: A time to consume a diet focused on plants

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Tracey Hogarth by

There are possibly not many individuals who are not interested in losing weight while lowering their BMI, levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease risk.

The New Year is dawning and it’s time to take stock and reconsider our habits with the excesses of the holidays behind us. No surprise that in recent years, Veganuary has become increasingly popular.

Switching to a vegan or even more versatile plant-based diet in January set off a rethink about what they consume and why they eat it for certain individuals. It opened a door for others to a long-term, versatile diet in which they consume less meat and more foods based on plants.

One in five of us are now consciously pursuing healthy food choices, and the same number have followed a more plant-based diet since 2020. Throw in the rising understanding of the health risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as the danger of coronavirus, and it’s easy to see why we’re becoming more aware of what we’re putting in our bodies.

The UK’s number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, according to the Vegan Society, and more vegan products were launched in this country in 2018 than in any other country.

While there are discrepancies between a vegan and a plant-based diet, since it provides that versatility, the plant-based diet could be better for some individuals.

What advantages are there? Diets based on plants are rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and oils, though alternatives to milk can still be selected. These are all foods that we can eat more of, relative to the average diet in the Western world, and are low in saturated fat, which can be abundant in animal products.

Eat a lot of plant foods during the day to get the nutrition you need and eat the right kind of carbohydrates: think of whole nutrient-dense foods that are low in sophistication and have a lower glycemic index.

Plant foods such as almonds, avocados, seeds and cold-pressed oils are high in unsaturated fats, while omega-oils are all healthy sources of chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.

Your lifestyle would also have an effect on a more mindful approach to your diet. As you would probably feel more energetic and less tired, you’ll want to exercise more. A diet focused on plants can promote gut health and digestion. It will improve your physical well-being, which in turn improves mental health. A plant-based diet, at the same time, is more sustainable because it requires less fossil fuel oil, less land and less water to grow.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge. On the waistline, there are vegan-friendly foods and snacks that are easy and will not make you feel like you are making sacrifices.

When the thought of a plant-based diet sounds overwhelming, don’t be too harsh on yourself. To take a healthy step forward, try one meat- and dairy-free meal a day.

The founder of Nudie Snacks, Tracey Hogarth, is

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