Guest Post: Easy Steps to Incorporate a Plant Rich Diet Into Your Life

{Editor’s Comment: Molly Patrick is the co-founder of Clean Food Dirty Girl. I asked her to write an article that I can refer my patients to. This is a fantastic piece, concise, full of information and serves as a prescription that could rid a patient of simvastatin, benazepril, metformin, glipizide, atenolol, aspirin and pain medication such as tylenol and ibuprofen. If you are a physician reading this then I hope you adopt her recommendations and that you refer your patients to this article and her website. We as physicians must empower our patients to create their own health. Medications are rarely the answer and unbiased research is demonstrating the lack of efficacy of prescription medications more and more.}

 

If you’re reading this it’s likely that one of your doctors has suggested making a shift in the way you eat in order to improve your health.

After they made the suggestion, you might have looked at them funny and wondered why what you put in your mouth three times a day or more is now the topic of discussion.

In a nutshell, here’s why:

Most prescription drugs act like a Band-Aid to help temporarily relieve symptoms, but they rarely get to the root cause of the problem.

Let’s say someone had a bad habit of hitting their knee over and over with a hammer. This person would develop symptoms of the hammer assault in the form of bruising, swelling, and a lot of pain. Let’s say this person went to the doctor and presented their knee, along with the honest explanation that they have a bad habit of hitting their knee with a hammer.

How would the doctor help this patient?

In this scenario, of course the doctor would go straight to eliminating the root cause and advise them to stop hitting their knee with a hammer. They might also suggest taking ibuprofen until the pain and swelling goes down.

In this scenario, the ibuprofen is the Band-Aid and the hammer is the root cause.

How does this relate to you and what you eat?

Just like a hammer can cause inflammation to your knee, certain types of foods can do the same thing to the inside of your body. And this inflammation and assault is often the root cause of a myriad of health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, joint pain, degenerative diseases like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancers, and even different types of autoimmune diseases.

By suggesting a shift in your diet, your doctor wants to get to the root cause of some of your health issues, instead of relying solely on prescription drugs to mask the symptoms.

And if this is what your doctor suggested to you, consider yourself lucky to have such a responsible doctor.

Prescription drugs might be somewhat helpful in the short term, but the food you eat has the power to change your entire health for the better.

Here are the first two simple steps to help get to the root cause of your health concerns. Follow these steps and be on your way to feeling more energetic, more alive and more hopeful than you ever have in your life.

 

STEP ONE:

The first step is to eliminate foods from your diet that are causing inflammation and contributing to the root cause of your health problems. This category is made up of processed foods, convenience foods and sugary foods. Here is a list of the top foods to start eliminating right away.

  • Fast food
  • Lunch meat and hot dogs
  • Cakes and cookies
  • Soda (Including diet soda)
  • Microwave dinners and microwave popcorn
  • Potato Chips
  • Candy Bars
  • Bread, tortillas and pasta made from refined flour
  • Sugary cereals
  • Anything with high fructose corn syrup in it
  • Dairy
  • Barbequed meat

 

STEP TWO:

Just like there are foods that cause inflammation and harm in the body, there are also foods that heal the body. Here is a list of foods to start incorporating into your diet as soon as today.

Vegetables

The more varieties of veggies you incorporate into your diet the better. Opt for fresh veggies instead of canned and buy organic when possible. Vegetables are nutrient dense and packed full of fiber. Vegetables also release powerful plant chemicals called phytochemicals when they are chewed. These phytochemicals heal and protect the body. While all veggies are healthy, there are some that are All Stars. Try to incorporate the following veggies into your daily routine as much as possible.

Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, etc…)
Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc…)
Other Veggies (mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados)

Fresh Fruit

Fruit contains important enzymes and minerals that help boost the immune system and keep you healthy. All fruits are great to add to your daily routine, but berries and pomegranates are among the healthiest.

Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes are chock full of fiber, protein, phytochemicals and antioxidants. They are also low in fat, making them an ideal food to incorporate into your diet. Black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans), lentils and split peas are some of the most common varieties.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are an important part of the diet, as long as they are truly whole.
Truly whole grains include:
Millet
Quinoa
Buckwheat
Amaranth
Brown Rice
Teff
Wheat Berries
Oats
Rye
Barley

Grains become a problem when they are processed. For instance, when whole wheat berries are processed into white flour and used in things like bread, pasta and tortillas, at least 25 nutrients are removed during the process, and 5 are chemically replaced to enrich it. This process turns a once nutrient dense food into a nutrient void food. The processed version of what used to be a whole grain doesn’t  give the body any nutrients, and once they are processed they are hard for the body to digest and products made from refined flour spike blood sugar. It’s a lose lose.

It’s important to eat whole grains, but only if they are intact and have not been processed.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are full of minerals, calcium, protein, antioxidants and are also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are best eaten raw with no favoring or salt added.

Cashews, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are all great additions to your daily eating routine.

Now that you know what to start eliminating from your diet and what to start adding, here are ten easy ways to put all of this into practice.

  1. Swap white rice for brown rice.
  2. Swap sugary snacks for fruit.
  3. Swap white pasta for whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa pasta.
  4. Swap regular bread for sprouted bread.
  5. Swap regular white tortillas for sprouted wheat or organic corn tortillas.
  6. Eat one big green salad a day.
  7. Add chopped leafy greens to whatever you’re eating.
  8. Get your protein from protein rich plant sources legumes, tempeh, tofu, nuts and seeds.
  9. Make a green smoothie every morning. The best, most easy recipe is 8 ounces of water, 1 banana, a few big leafy green leaves, 1/4 of an avocado, and a tablespoon of chia seeds. This will ensure a boost of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and phytochemicals each and every day.
  10. Make going out to eat the exception and not the rule, and start making your own healthy food instead of going out.
  11. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet.
  12. Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day. Doing daily light exercise will complement your new eating habits perfectly. Not only will exercising give you physical benefits, it will also have a positive impact on your outlook on life and help boost your mood.

 

In closing, I encourage you to “put down the hammer” and think about making some of these changes.  Once you see first hand how your diet can affect your overall health and wellbeing, you will never go back.

One of the best things about adopting a Whole-Food Plant-Based way of eating is that it works faster than any pill. After just 10 days you can expect a drastic lowering of your LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar. Be sure to tell your doctor before you start embracing a plant-based diet, especially if you’re on medication. Changes can occur so rapidly, your doctor will need to keep an eye on your medications and adjust accordingly.

Here is a list of resources to help you on your journey towards a life free of prescription drugs, illness and pain. Maybe when it’s all said and done, you won’t even need your doctor on a regular basis. {Ed: I’m a big proponent for becoming less dependent on your physician. In this current information age there is very little need to utilize your physician as a ‘fixer’. The physician should be a consultant to whom you turn to improve your health. Using them as the gatekeepers of prescription medications only serves to benefit the pharmaceutical industry. No doubt that there is a place for prescription medication but for your general health refer back to Mollly’s ‘hammer’ example.}

 

Books
Super Immunity // Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes
The China Study // Dr. T. Colin Campbell
The Pleasure Trap // Dr. Douglas Lisle

Documentaries
Forks over Knives
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Supersize Me
Plantpure Nation

Informational websites
nutritionfacst.org
plantbaseddietitian.com
nutritionstudies.org  
pcrm.org
dresselstyn.com

Recipes and Inspiration
Clean Food Dirty Girl
Oh She Glows
Kris Carr
Rich Roll

 

Molly Patrick is the co-founder of Clean Food Dirty Girl, a website dedicated to helping people

break up with processed foods and swapping them out with whole plant foods. She specializes in the Plant – Based Diet and has a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Molly takes the boring out of healthy and the preachy out of vegan. Her epic Saturday emails are laced with yummy recipes and personal stories that can’t help but leave you inspired thanks to her authenticity and genuine voice.

 

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