Why Everyone Should Eat More Plants

Heart disease is American’s number one killer, closely followed by cancer killing one out of every four in the United States alone. To further bring things into perspective more than 70% of Americans are overweight or obese and by 2030 it’s predicted that a whopping 50% of Americans will be pre-diabetic or diabetic. Crazy right?  What has happened to us? There are several factors responsible, but the biggest contributor is our diet. At present, 94% of the caloric intake of the typical American is essentially empty without any form of nourishment. Just about 6% of calories coming from vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, seeds, and legumes.

What should we be eating?

Eating a variety of unprocessed vegetables, especially leafy greens, is vital to maintaining a healthy diet. Some countries are already adopting this diet. Eating a plant-based diet (this does not necessarily mean vegan or vegetarian but rather primarily plant based diet where the concentration of the food on your plate is plant based and your sides are proteins)  is in line with the Belgian Dietary Guidelines to promote health and well-being. Belgium recently introduced a new food guideline prioritizing the consumption of Tofu, legumes, and oils but namely vegetables. It is recommended that you eat a wide variety of plant based foods.

Plant-based diets are especially good for your health. A published science journal reported that more than 200,000 adults living in the US for more than 20 years found that eating a diet high in plant foods and low in animal foods was linked with a 20% lower risk of diabetes as opposed to eating a diet low in plant foods. Plants are excellent sources of several nutrients that promote good health including unsaturated fats, minerals (potassium), vitamins (such as folate), protein and fiber. Eating a plant-based rich diet has been associated with a lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and inflammation.

Of course, we’re not saying fat is the villain, on the contrary, not all fats are created equal. In fact, it has been proven that fat consumption does not necessarily cause weight gain. Research findings have suggested that fat is not the real villain here, but rather refined carbohydrates and added sugar are as they get quickly broke down to sugar. That means that foods like rich salmon, buttery avocados, and savory nuts should have a place in your diet. The body actually needs fat to function, it is critical for muscle movement and blood clotting. The body also needs it for building cell membranes as well as for forming the protective shields around the nerves and it also helps the body absorb minerals and vitamins from the foods we eat. The bottom line is that we should learn to separate healthy fats from unhealthy fats. Healthy fats are generally referred to as Mono- and polyunsaturated fats and they are usually from olive oil, nuts, and fish while the unhealthy ones are trans-fats found in processed foods.

The bottom line is that a diet of minimally processed foods, predominantly plants, is conclusively associated with disease prevention and health promotion.  In the most basic terms, if we’re willing to flip our diet and start getting 94% of our caloric intake from whole plant-based foods (instead of the current levels of 6%), we will enjoy improved health. As you take steps to include a plant-based diet in your meals, you will likely realize that your preferences for unhealthy food will subside and you will find yourself incorporating more whole, plant-foods into your routine.

I’ll leave you with this: Integrating more veggies, nuts, and seeds in your diet will supply your body with an incredible array of antioxidants, micronutrients, phytonutrients, minerals, and fiber

 

Christopher Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations program with Dr. Mike Breen.  He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”.  Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

An Open Letter to those Struggling with their Weight and Health

This is a letter from Catherine Munro a participant in the Healthy Transformations Program. She wanted to share her story with you and the rest of the world.

 

To those struggling with weight, inflammation and health issues:

I have been a participant in the Healthy Transformations Program this year – starting on January 9, 2018.

I recall being back and forth in my decision about committing to the program. Good intentions and hope were definitely there – but strong doubt and reservations crept in and drowned those thoughts out.  Old, ingrained thoughts played over in my mind – “Could I do it?” “I’ve tried lots of other programs and failed” “I’ll be so ashamed if I’m not successful”.  Essentially, I felt disappointed in myself before I even started!

The notion of succeeding felt like a huge and daunting task, and given past attempts I truly had doubts that I would have the “willpower” to stick with it.

But the Universe stepped in and gave me a big nudge.  I had a serious health scare with my heart.  My two beautiful daughters sat me down and gave me a talking-to – about how they wanted and needed me around for a long time to come…and that I needed to make some changes to ensure that happened.  Their loving but stern, concerned words impacted me deeply – so… I decided to take the leap.

I had seen a quote long ago that stuck with me “A Year from Now You’ll Wish You Had Started Today”. It’s been almost a year now since I DID start – and words cannot express what an impact this year with Healthy Transformations has had on my life.

What Was Hard

  • Stepping on the scale the first night. Feeling shame that I allowed myself to get to this point and knowing that someone else “knew” this information.  Christopher was so awesome and kind – and reassured me that they never remember or look at that number again during the year.  You only have to weigh in that one time – and after my wave of shame subsided, I could let it go…and look forward, rather than constantly beating myself up. Win #1!
  • Being so raw and concerned about my heart issue – I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t be aggravating the situation. In hindsight NOTHING could be further from the truth!! Dr. Breen was awesome and kind…and so patient…as I ran my concerns past him, and he gave me solid medical advice, reasons and reassurance not to be concerned.  I am tearing up as I write this as I am THRILLED to announce that my recurring heart issue has not only subsided, it has stopped!  And I am off the 4 medications that were prescribed to me a year ago.   My body is VERY happy about that! I am truly in awe.
  • Eating out the first few times – going for meals with friends when everyone was having drinks, and delicious creamy or fried items – and I had a salad. That was early on in the program but as the course went on I learned more and more ways of successfully managing social situations and not reverting back to old habits.  You begin to feel REALLY proud of yourself for sticking with it, rather than feeling like you are missing out on anything.

What Worked:

  • Right from the first class, you feel so supported, engaged and encouraged.
  • The second class you already start to see changes in those around you –and the momentum builds each class as we all looked around the room and celebrated in each other’s successes! That in itself was a huge boost, as you left each session armed with more wonderful information and fresh resolve to stick with it!
  • Feeling your clothes get loose – that never gets old J
  • Feeling your clothes get too big – I was in disbelief actually – could this be happening??But when your pants just about fall off in Co-op, you need to pay attention. Haha
  • Immense pride as you realize you actually DID stick with it, it was not as hard as you conjured up in your mind, the whole experience is eye-opening, incredibly educational and you truly want everyone you know and love to have this information so that they can have this experience and live their very best life!

In closing, I talked a lot about the weight loss aspect of this program, but it definitely was not just about the weight!  The way I move and my energy has improved immensely – no more sore knees.  My thoughts are so much more clear – no more brain fog!  But I think the best part of all is that I had felt anxious and worried a lot in my adult life – but with the changes in my diet and body, that has subsided 95%.  Life still throws things at you – but emotionally I feel more steady.

If you or someone you know are struggling with weight, inflammation or health issues– please get them to register for the next complimentary Healthy Transformations Information Session on November 17, 2018.  You’ll get great info to take away and use right away, and it’s a great opportunity to get all of your questions answered.

Just click here to register:  www.healthytransformations.ca

I hope to see you there!

Catherine Munro
A Healthy Transformations Participant