Is it time to plant your future?2019 has become the nutrition calendars, year-of-the-plants. Plant-based, flexitarian, veganism, nutritarian; these terms and the associated focused on eating more plants and less meats is becoming a hot topic. In October, the eagerly anticipated plant-based documentary ‘The Game Changers’, was released. Granted this has caused a stir. It seems that nutrition has become an extremely political, emotional subject, with many people becoming almost confrontational in defending their food choices.
The Game Changers
The Game Changers has really divided opinion, of course staunch meat eaters will only look at the film as a money-making scheme, a chance for many of the ‘specialists’ to promote their work, book sales etc. Stop! Let’s not gloss over the fact that meat based fast food advertising is a billion-dollar industry. Everything revolves around money. Research, whatever the focus requires money to be able to conduct studies and test. It is always good to have your view and opinion challenged, particularly if it is in search of trying to be a healthier you. After all, don’t we all want to live longer healthy, see our families grow and be happy? Whether you are a fan of the film or not, at least it has got people talking, questioning and looking closer at their nutrition.
Brush away all the dirt and dust. Ultimately, I take from this that eating more fruit and veg is a good thing. Our dietary choices are more guided by wants rather than needs. Look at your own diet, how many nutrient natural foods have you eaten today, then subtract the number of processed foods, animal protein, dairy and high fat foods. Is your diet healthy? Let’s not forget, the decision is yours, but the science, so facts rather than opinions, has been staring us in the face for years. We are a populous that is suffering with more disease than ever. Of course, modern medicine helps but why not look to see if our dietary choices have an influence. I believe 100%, that they do.
We are living longer unhealthy
What causes heart attacks, cancers, strokes? Science clearly proves that there isn’t just one cause – lifestyle, genetics, toxicity exposure and diet all have an influence. The three major killers don’t just happen overnight, in some cases they take years to manifest into something life threatening. My belief is that this is a systematic influence of your diet. Eat unhealthy, be unhealthy. Our dietary choices turn on and off certain genetic expressions. For example, if you have the bias ‘fat gene’, your dietary choices will determine if you have excess stored fat or not.
In the last year I have read countless articles, scientific literature and books on the promotion of a plant-based diet. Don’t take my word for it, read these excellent books below and make up your own mind. What I believe is that our diet should start with nutrient dense foods, stop worrying about the macronutrients of carbs, protein and fat. Start with the micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals, fill up on vegetables, salad and fruit, then top up your calorie requirement with starchy carbs, finally add some healthy fats and a small amount of animal protein. My justification for this, is that Vitamin B12 is only available from animal-based foods and if we talk about ‘as nature intended’, then meat shouldn’t be completely removed from the diet. Please note that I am only saying a small amount of animal-based foods; this shouldn’t be the staple, as it is in many peoples diet today. Some may prefer to supplement with B12, especially as the global climate issues from animal agriculture is undeniable.
One size doesn’t fit all
What is right for you might not be right for the person next to you. Cost, food availability, current body composition, health, will all need dietary differences. Nutritional plant-based science promotes a complete ban on animal products, because that is reflective of the answers that we have. There is no study that proves you should only eat one, two or three portions of meat a day or a week. It would be too hard to fully control such studies, especially when study participants all start in a different place. Perhaps one individual already has a genetic propensity to atherosclerosis, another to breast cancer, another to diabetes. I don’t think that we will ever truly have all the answers but let’s stop arguing about it and work with the facts.
Try it and see
Be your own influence, try a plant-based diet for two weeks. If it’s not for you then ok, it’s your life. The way you live, your lifestyle, your diet, is all yours to choose. Live by your decisions and be happy. Even if you just end up eating a few more portions of wholesome natural unprocessed food. I promise you one thing, it will not do you any harm, but could actually do you some good.
Check out these books and do your own research.
1. Super Immunity – Joel Fuhrman MD
2. Eat to Live – Joel Fuhrman MD
3. The Campbell Plan – Thomas Campbell MD
4. Whole – T. Colin Campbell PhD
5. The China Study – T. Colin Campbell PhD & Thomas Campbell MD
6. Grain Brain – David Perlmutter MD
7. How not to die – Michael Greger MD
Article Written By Gareth Nicholas
Gareth Nicholas is the head nutritionist and HNC scientist within the Maximuscle ambassador team. Gareth has been working in the fitness industry since 2000, and has the following qualifications: MSc Human Performance, BSc (Hon) Sport Science, IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition. Gareth's favourite workout is the Squat.