ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Whole Foods Plant Based Diet: Vegans and Vegetarians

Updated on September 21, 2015
Source

Vegetarian Vs. Vegan

Vegan and vegetarian diets have become more mainstream in recent years, for a number of reasons. There are a number of health benefits, although many people consider the vegan and vegetarian diets for ethical reasons. But what's the difference between vegans and vegetarians?

A vegetarian is someone who excludes meat (red meat, poultry and seafood) and who may or may not include eggs, and/or other dairy products in their diet. However, their primary caloric intake comes from fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and grains.

There are several different types of vegetarians:

  • Ovo-vegetarians include eggs in their diet but not dairy
  • Lacto-vegetarians will consume dairy products but not eggs
  • Ovo-lacto vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products

There are also semi-vegetarians who include fish and poultry in their diet, and Pescetarians who eat only fish and vegetables, no red meat or pork.

Vegans excludes all animal products including eggs, dairy, and even honey as well as leather products including clothing, accessories and furniture.

Get Forks Over Knives and Other Documentaries

Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives

The documentary that changed my life.

 

Vegan Research

There are a number of documentaries on plant-based diets:

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Killer at Large
  • Food Matters
  • Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue

All of these documentaries have one thing in common: they discuss the benefits of eating vegetables and abstaining from meat, sugar and other processed foods.

Interestingly, all of these things are regulated by the government, which has a large financial interest in meat, dairy and processed foods. It all comes down to money.

Whole grains are a staple in any vegetarian diet, and should be a staple in a carnivore's diet as well.
Whole grains are a staple in any vegetarian diet, and should be a staple in a carnivore's diet as well. | Source

Physicians are no exception. How many medical doctors do you know recommend nutritional supplements? I know only one, and he’s currently my family physician.

In the USA, less than six percent of graduating physicians receive any formal training on nutrition (stats based on information in the documentary FoodMatters). Medical doctors treat disease with prescription medications, but what exactly are these medications treating?

Rip Esselstyn on Heart Disease

The film Forks Over Knives interviews two doctors, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and discusses their groundbreaking research on the association between disease and animal protein consumption.

Both of these doctors found that the animal protein, casein, was the main contributing factor in almost all types of cancer.

Dr. Campbell is the author of the popular book The China Study in which he found those who ate the most animal protein, were the most likely to be afflicted with liver cancer and other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. He also found that synthetic chemicals in our environment and food were not the main cause of cancer.

Side Effects of Animal Protein & the Benefit of a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet

Animal products also lead to chronic fatigue. Here’s why: meat and dairy products are extremely difficult for the body to digest. They stay in your digestive tract for long periods of time, up to 72 hours.

So, the steak you ate last night? You’ll be digesting that for the next three days, along with everything else you consume. Think about how much energy your body is expending on just digesting that steak. It’s an enormous amount that could be put to better use, say fighting viruses or bacteria.

On the other hand, plant-based products are very easy for the body to break down. In fact, plant materials only stay in the digestive tract for, at most, 24 hours. This allows the body to use all that extra energy for everything else.

More Documentaries I Love

Foodmatters
Foodmatters

Fantastic documentary on the health and nutrition, specificaly vitamins and superfoods and how the government is hiding the truth about vitamins.

 

Animal Products and Osteoporosis

Dr. Esselstyn’s research found that consumption of animal products does more than just contribute to heart disease.

Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are beginning to run rampant through the population, in turn we are told to prevent the disease we need a higher calcium intake. What you aren’t told is that drinking cow’s milk or eating dairy and meat products creates an acidic pH in the body.

In order to neutralize this acidic state, the body strips calcium from the bones and absorbs it into the blood stream. The more milk you drink, the more calcium is stripped, leading to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Heart Disease is Reversible

The research these doctors performed has also shown that eating a strictly whole foods plant based diet can reverse heart disease. Endothelial cells in the walls of arteries and veins become damaged and destroyed by eating meat, and processed foods.

Animal products clog arteries and cause strokes among other things because of the cholesterol they contain. While cholesterol is necessary for life, the body produces its own. Vegetables and fruits have zero cholesterol.

Eating veggies allows the body’s healing mechanism to kick in and repair damage to the walls of arteries and veins. Dr. Esselstyn, a cardiologist, found eating a whole foods plant based diet can halt and actually reverse heart disease, eliminating the need for expensive and dangerous surgeries such as bypasses and stents.

If the only thing stopping you from becoming a vegetarian or vegan is not getting enough protein, this truly is a myth. EVERYTHING is made of proteins.

Proteins are long chains of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of life. Everything contains them. You don’t need to consume any animal products just to get enough protein.

The only thing veggies don’t have is vitamin B12, which is easily supplemented with a vitamin or by eating fortified foods, such as fortified cereals and soy products.

If you’re thinking about going vegetarian or vegan, I recommend a few books that really made a difference for me. The Happy Herbivore, Engine 2 diet, and Forks Over Knives (available also on DVD). Below is a list of helpful websites dedicated to a whole foods plant based diet.

Copryright 2012 - 2015 Melissa "Daughter of Maat" Flagg ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 3 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Thank you! I agree! I have so much more energy since I witched to veganism.

    • profile image

      violent silence 3 years ago

      Very well researched and informative. I have never felt healthier since switching to a vegan plant based diet.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Thank you GetitScene! I love Forks Over Knives and I have watched it many times. I always learn something new. I love the cookbook. I thought the recipes were going to be a lot harder to prepare than they actually are!

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 4 years ago from The High Seas

      Great article, interesting and voted up. My wife and I also saw Forks Over Knives and then got the cookbook too. Excellent information here.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      For many people giving up all meat is just not an option, and I completely understand that. But even cutting back on meats and dairy can make a big impact. Adding lots of veggies adds lots of nutrients to the diet and that can make you feel SO much better! Best of luck on your Weight Watchers journey! :D

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @B. Leekley It's very difficult to go completely vegan if the whole family doesn't! I had to wait for my hubby to come around before I could cut out all animal products. You know what helped? Having him what FoodMatters. But even cutting out the majority of animal products in the diet can make a significant difference in you health. Hopefully your wife will "see the light" though lol :D All the best!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Great information. I have no plans on giving up meats, per se, but I do have to say that for the first time I have added significant portions of fruit to my daily diet (now back on Weight Watchers, which endorses lots of points-free fruits and veggies) and I feel so much better!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Very good info and well argued. You convinced me. Actually I was already convinced, but I give in for the sake of harmony when my wife wants us to share a pizza or a cheese, meat, and pasta processed foods dinner. Just now she said let's go get bagels and coffee -- bagels I heard are bread with fat added. Anyway, I try somewhat to be vegan (plus some fish). Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Ha-ha. Enjoy yourself, DOM.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Well, then after the hub I'm on, that will be my next one for my challenge! :D Oh this'll be a fun one to write lol :D

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think a hub on vegan substitutions is an excellent idea. Many people would like to change their diets for personal or health reason but may not know the best way to go about it. I think you'd be on to a winner there.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      You're quite welcome! I found a ton of different products to use instead of dairy. I used to be a ranch dressing person, and now the stuff makes me sick to my stomach. I found a completely organic dressing as a replacement. I substituted sugar with agave nectar, milk with Almond milk, cheese with nutritional yeast or crushed cashews (they taste just like parmesan!), and my whey protein powder I substituted with Hemp protein powder. If you're a mayo person, you can either buy vegan mayo (which can be pricey) or make your own. I have a few recipes for vegan mayo that taste so much better than the real thing! So the only dairy I actually get, is the yogurt in my smoothie. :D

      Maybe I should write a hub on vegan substitutions....

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Hi D-of-M! Actually I think I could do it if I get to keep yogurt. I don't eat that much cheese, so it would be worth trying out some new things, just to see if it makes a difference. Thanks!

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Daughter of Maat..Thank you for the tip. I have tried to cut out processed food in the past unsuccessfully so I know it is a serious challenge. Thanks for the support. I will let you know how it goes.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @CR Rookwood Oh I'm ecstatic that you're so successful with this diet!!! That's AWESOME!! Meat repulses me as well, and I was a huge steak fan! It's amazing how fast our tastes change when we start eating a balanced diet.

      I know how you feel about the yogurt. I cut out all dairy, and found that I just couldn't resist my smoothies, so the only dairy I eat is the little bit of yogurt in my smoothie mix. That's not a bad thing, the active cultures in the yogurt are good for you, and there's not enough casein in it to cause cancer. Dr Campbell said if you keep your animal product consumption below 5%, there is no risk of cancer. So, go ahead, enjoy your yogurt, and just switch to almond milk and vegan cheese (nutritional yeast makes a great substitute as does crushed cashews).

      I also found that I didn't lose weight at first, but I was burning fat. If you're exercising, you're gaining muscle, and burning fat. Muscle weighs more than fat (which I'm sure you knew) so you may not lose weight the first couple months, but your clothes will start fitting better!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @healthylife you may want to start with a juice fast to jump start the process. If you're going to cut out all the processed foods (which is much harder than I thought it would be) you need to cleanse your system, and a juice fast will do that much more quickly than diet alone. Best of luck to you, and keep me informed!! I always like to know how people fair on the new diet!!

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      It's been two months now without meat, and I do feel better, although I'm not any lighter. I think I look better. My skin looks way better, even though it was fine before, it just looks healthier, and I don't hold water like before. I'm considering cutting out dairy too but that's hard as I love yogurt on my cereal. I am finding now that meat actually repulses me, which I never would have believed. Just an update and a second thanks for sharing and encouraging others. :)

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks...that is very encouraging! It is definitely worth trying and there is no risk involved. I have had a very few brief fasts for health reasons and can say in that short time my mind was clear and I felt calmer and I think that had to do with not having any of the "bad" stuff so even better when healthy nutrients are added. Thank you...I'm going to give it a try.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      @healthylife, I gave up most sugar, the only sugar I use is in my vegan brownies that I make about once a month. My energy levels skyrocketed on about day three of being vegetarian, and they shifted right away when I went vegan. I also notice that upon waking, my mind is clear instantly, no fog. That may also be because of the biphasic sleep, but I think diet has a lot to do with it as well.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      That was very helpful and most studies point to this diet being the best for a strong immune system. Did you also give up sugar? How long after going on this diet did it take to feel energetic?

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image
      Author

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Thank you dwachira! Eating all plants really made all the difference. Not to mention my health improved dramatically! Thanks for reading and commenting and I really appreciate the share!!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      This is great information, am trying to shed off some pounds and this will really benefit me. Am encouraged how you lost 50 pounds in four months. Thanks, voted up and shared with followers.

    • Daniella Lopez profile image

      Danielle Lopez Newcomb 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Great hub! My husband and I are slowly converting over to a vegetarian diet. At the moment, the only meats we eat are Chicken and Fish. We've even cut out most dairy products (except for goat cheese). It's always nice to see such an encouraging article. Thanks for sharing!

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Wow, 70 pounds is an amazing weight loss! Congratulations. I am in the process of lowering my cholesterol and find that the more fresh fruits and veggies I eat, the less I want animal protein. Interesting read. Thanks!

    • KimmiS profile image

      KimmiS 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Great hub, you are right, the interest and amount of information available is growing. I went veggie/vegan about 2.5 yrs ago, and felt the same way. It was like all of a sudden all this amazing educational info was there. I think I had just started being interested, it was there before. As someone who formerly at a LOT of meat I can empathize with people who think they will never be able to do it, or want to do it. Some take longer than others, some people just never get the education about how bad it really is for us and the environment (and the animals) and those are the ones who keep on eating animal products.

      Thanks for writing about this stuff !

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      This was very interesting. Although I am not and do not plan to become a vegan, I definitely believe that adding more plant foods and reducing (or cutting out completely) refined sugars is to everyone's benefit. Thanks for the info.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Excellent hub which really made me rethink my diet. I don't think I could ever become totally vegetarian, I like my steaks too much. But I really should consider cutting back as I've noticed my stomach seems to be in some sort of revolt.

      Voted Up, useful and interesting. Socially shared.