31 Days of Health. Day 13: Eat a Plant-Based Diet

Do you think you can go just one day without any animal products in your diet? That is today’s suggested healthy action. Research has continued to show that plant-based diets are associated with a higher quality of life. Plant-based diets can lead to a healthy weight, reduced chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer; reduced frequency of getting sick, and overall longer life!

I am not an advocate for eating vegan, nor do I follow a vegan way of life. But nixing the animal products for a day, or at the very least significantly reducing them in a day, brings a different, delicious dose of wellness into your life. I don’t think it’s necessary you go hardcore to make this happen for one day. It is actually quite simple to do, especially if it is only for a day. Here are the foods that should be ignored to qualify your intake as plant-based:

  • Eggs
  • Beef, poultry, pork, fish, and any other source of meat
  • Dairy milk, cream, yogurt and cheese
  • Butter

Sources of protein can come from legumes, or tofu. If you like cooking with butter, you can try cooking with olive oil; if you like putting butter on bread, try extra-virgin olive oil. Throw some garlic and herbs into the oil to give it a little flavor if that is something new for you. Which, trust me, it’s a stark difference in taste! If you like drinking milk, you can try almond milk, or other nut-milks. Non-dairy yogurt is available if you want to explore some more options. If you like cream in your coffee or tea, try it black or with coconut milk (the canned, actual coconut milk – not coconut beverage sold in the same section as dairy milk).

Do continue to keep this reminder pulsing every day: keep food as close to nature as possible. So instead of bread, you could have brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa. And instead of having olive oil with that bread, you could eat a few olives.

Plant-based diets tend to offer a whole lot more fiber and phytonutrients that you aren’t getting from animal-sourced foods. I suggest trying the plant-based diet – or a mostly plant-based diet – just for one day to assist you in exploring ways to reduce your intake of animal-based foods. It is not wrong to eat these foods, but for some people, they take the place of more veggies, fruit, or whole grains (btw, I am getting sick of these two words because it seems many folks are misunderstanding and abusing them, so please note that when I refer to whole grains, I mean a minimally processed, whole food: not cookies made with whole wheat flour). The low intake of fiber, alone, associated with a typical American diet is one that significantly raises the risk for colon cancer. To me, it is a no-brainer: why play this game of Russian Roulette?

If you’re ready to try this action today and you need some assistance, I am here to help you through! Comments are below, or contact me directly if you’re looking for some healthier oomph in your life!

Thanks for reading, and I will see you here again tomorrow!
Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 8: Get Your Vitamin D

Get your vitamin D for Day 8!

This can be a tough one. Vitamin D is not present in many foods. You may have heard this micronutrient referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,” as exposure of our skin to the sunlight’s UVB rays stimulate the production of vitamin D!

Although it is not present in so many foods, here are a few you can depend on:

  • 4oz Salmon contains 128% of our daily recommended intake (DRI)
  • 3oz Sardines – 40% DRI
  • 4oz Tuna – 23% DRI
  • 1 Egg – 10% DRI
  • ½ cup Shiitake Mushrooms – 5%

Most milks and yogurt are also excellent sources of vitamin D, due to fortification. However, Day 8 is about vitamin D, and not about if milk and yogurt are good or bad. We can save that for another day 😊 If you eat milk and yogurt, then hooray! You’re getting vitamin D!

I will add onto that though, and point out that vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning your body will absorb it best when it is in the presence of fat. So, consider, if you DO drink or eat low-fat or fat free milk or yogurt, without any accompanying fats, there is a chance you will not absorb the vitamin so well. If your body isn’t absorbing vitamin D as well as it could, or your blood levels are deficient, you may not absorb calcium so well either. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium, and together, they contribute to bone strength.

Other benefits vitamin D provides is blood sugar control and increased immunity. Therefore, getting your vitamin D levels in check may encourage a reduced risk of diabetes and reduced frequency of getting sick!

Unfortunately, if you are vegan, or you just really hate fish, you are not getting enough vitamin D through your diet. Now, I recommend food over supplements. And if you remember from yesterday, food is closer to nature than a supplement is. However, if you do not eat fish, eggs, milk or yogurt, you may want to check with your doctor for a decent vitamin D dose. It also can’t hurt to get your vitamin D levels checked, then come up with a plan from there, if you find your levels are low.

Thank you for following these 31 Days of Health! Enjoy today.

Alyssa