A quick guide to eating a plant-based diet

Or, a quick guide to eating less animals: http://zenhabits.net/plants/

An excerpt:

How to Change

It will be no surprise that I recommend people start small and change slowly. A good plan is to make the change in stages:

  1. Slowly cut out meat. This stage is actually several smaller stages. You might try starting with Meatless Mondays and then, over time, expanding to other days of the week. Another common idea is to start by cutting out red meat, and then poultry, then seafood, in gradual stages of a month or even six months. There is no rush — do it at the pace that feels good to you. Another important point is that, as you eliminate meat, don’t just fill it with starches (which don’t have that much nutrition). Try new foods, experiment with ethic recipes, and explore different nutrients as you make these changes.

Excerpts from the Q&A:

Q: I follow the Paleo diet and believe this is how humans are meant to eat.

A: Well, if you’re eating unprocessed foods and have cut out white flours and sugars and deep-fried foods, you’re probably healthier than the average American. I admire the Paleo crowd that focuses on whole foods and that eats lots of veggies and nuts and seeds, but when it’s just an excuse to eat lots of meat, it’s not as healthy. It’s also not true that hunter-gatherer societies ate mostly meat — the crowd that believes this has made a flawed review of contemporary hunter-gatherers. Most traditional societies eat, and have pretty much always eaten, mostly plants, including lots of starches — respected anthropologists such as Nathanial Dominy, PhD, from Dartmouth College say that the idea of hunter-gatherers eating mostly meat is a myth. I’d also warn against low-carb, high-protein diets over the long run — in the short term, you’ll see weight loss, but in the long run they’ve been shown to increase cardiovascular disease (from June 21, 2012 issue of British Medical Journal).

Q: It sounds difficult and complicated.

A: Actually it’s very simple — you just learn to eat a variety of plants. It does mean learning some new meals, but instead of seeing that as a hardship, think of it as something fun to learn. If you slowly change your eating patterns, it’s not hard at all. Be flexible and don’t be too strict — you’ll find that it’s much easier if you allow yourself an occasional meal with animal products, especially in the first 6-12 months.

 

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