By Safiyyah Bazemore
Author Michael Pollan puts it quite simply: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
This may seem easier said than done, but following this advice has wide-reaching benefits, especially on individual health. The typical American diet currently consists mostly of processed foods, meat, and dairy, which contribute to serious health issues including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
By incorporating most plants into your diet, you get an instant boost of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. A plant-based diet can also aid with weight loss, prevent and often reverse chronic diseases, and lower mortality rates. The planet will also thank you: shifting away from a meat-heavy diet helps to combat climate change and pollution.
But fear not! Changing your diet entirely doesn’t have to be done overnight, and it doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, baby steps can be more effective in making sustainable lifestyle changes. Simply focus on eating more plants, and don’t worry about being perfect.
Upping your daily plant intake can be easy and inexpensive. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Participate in meatless Monday!
- Join a produce subscription program to keep healthy options handy.
- Try zucchini noodles as a healthy but equally delicious alternative to pasta.
- Snack on nuts and raw veggies instead of chips and cookies.
- Make this cauliflower rice (and then eat it!!!)
- When in doubt, throw it in a smoothie.
- Experiment with less familiar fruits and veggies, and don’t fear the tofu.
- Grow your own produce to save on cost and to experience ultimate freshness.
- At dinner, use meat as a side dish instead of a main entree and double your usual serving of vegetables.
Ease into it, and most importantly, have fun! Whether you adopt a fully plant-based diet or not is entirely up to you, but adding more whole plants into your diet is the goal, not deprivation. Your body, and the planet, will surely benefit!