What IS a Plant Based Lifestyle?

Many of the leading nutritional ‘experts’ are now using the term “Plant Based Lifestyle” to define a nutritional way of eating and living.  They are migrating away from the term “Vegan” because of the differentiation in nutritional focus. While vegans, avoid animal products, food and advocate for animal rights, a Plant Based Focus is usually concerned with Health & Wellness of the individual.
 
There are many similarities when it comes to dietary approach.  Plant Based Lifestyle focuses on Whole Foods consisting of plants.  So, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits of all varieties are included, while overly processed ‘foods’, high fat, high sugar and artificial ingredients in food are avoided.  Typically, all Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and any food products containing GMO ingredients are also avoided.
 
While organic plant foods are encouraged there is no restriction to consuming just about ANY vegetable, nut, fruit or seed as long as it is mostly a WHOLE FOOD, and not overly processed.
 
Perception of Taste

Most people’s perception of a Plant Based (vegan) diet is one of innumerous salads and grazing of salad bars; that is just NOT the case.  While fresh greens are strongly encouraged, they are by no means the primary Whole Food of choice.  While you can never eat too many ‘greens’, there is a plethora of additional delicious choices available with a Plant Based Diet.  I want to stress that this is NOT a diet. Those Never, EVER, work.  This approach to healthy nutrition should be viewed as a permanent change to how you consume FOOD.
 
The flavors, textures and tastes available with Plant Based Cuisine are innumerable and as diverse as the culture of our Planet.  Whether you prefer Italian, Greek, Chinese/Oriental or just about ANY cultural style of cooking, there is a Plant Based option readily available.  In many/most cased the meal will taste even better than its typical original recipe that used animal ingredients/products.  Typically, a plant based recipe will include additional spices and flavors missing from other dishes.  These spices, not only add flavor, but often have health benefits beyond stimulating your taste buds.
 
Whether is a plant based nut or soy/almond milk ‘cheese’ for your pizza or a seitan based sausage with your tofu scramble, the flavors and textures are similar to superior to what you may have been used to when consuming animal products. Simple alternatives to what you may be accustomed to eating can do the trick.  Substitutions or addition of ingredients will add to the flavor and texture of many meals but also improve the healthful impact of what you eat.
 
The Healthstyle Revolution

When you look around, you see people who are fat, sick and nearly dead.  Suffering from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases it is a sad state of affairs.  There IS hope as most of these diseases are Lifestyle Based.  Yes, unfortunately, most of these ailments are caused by an individual’s lifestyle!  I don’t want to go as far as using a term ‘self-inflicted’ when commenting on these horrendous diseases but, to a large extent’ they actually are.
 
Self-inflicted but done so due to lack of complete, accurate information.  Worse, horribly misleading information that often borders on criminal behavior is presented in TV advertisements and few really listen to the commentary relating to the side effects.  Whether from your doctor or a TV commercial, the choices individuals make for themselves and their families are the cause of many of these lifestyle diseases.
 
These poor food choices do not impact you immediately.  Eating fast food, highly processed food with GMO ingredients will not make you sick tomorrow; but given a few years, this behavior will almost certainly have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
 
Too Many Drugs & Treatment ~ Not Enough Cures

You would have to be living in a cave or on a remote island to not be aware of the hundreds of different drugs advertised on TV constantly.  There are hospital and cancer treatment centers popping up as frequently as fast food joints.  They are on every corner!  These treatment centers are not built for fun, but for PROFIT.  There must be a demand for them; otherwise why build them?
 
All these drugs and treatments never seem to actually CURE anyone.  Most sick individuals are treated to death.  Surgeries, drugs and treatments may prolong life a bit, but in the end the disease always seems to win when treated with conventional medicine.  Patients often don’t die from the diagnosed disease but from the TREATMENT or complications from the treatments.  They are being treated to DEATH.
 
Alternative Treatments DO Work

There are many, many alternatives to traditional allopathic medicine that the current medical/insurance industries refuse to allow/approve.  Government programs also are in the same group that mostly ignore (or make illegal) alternative care regimes that actually WORK.
 
These alternatives (seldom, if ever covered by conventional insurance programs) are numerous but include Chinese Medicine (acupuncture included), Massage Therapies, exercise programs and one of the most curative methods, simple Whole Food Dietary Nutrition.
 
This more Natural approach is available through Naturopathic Medicine.  It a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process.  These programs and treatments emphasize the natural immune system and provide information, structure and programs to boost that natural ability of the body to Heal.  But again, this form of treatment is seldom approved/accepted by individual or government insurance programs.
 
Natural Health & Longevity

Sometimes, something as simple as dietary change can be all that is needed to actually reverse and prevent disease.  A change to a plant based lifestyle, focused on Whole Foods, natural disease reversal and avoidance/prevention of disease is not only better for the individual, cheaper for the family but presents a longer lifespan that is more vibrant and energetic.
 
A delicious focus on Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition can not only excite your pallet, save you money but it may just save your LIFE.  The human body is NOT designed to be sick but it IS designed to be Healthy.  Poor nutrition that is the foundation of the Standard American Diet (SAD) is the root cause for many to most of the current lifestyle disease epidemics we see in the USA and in those countries who have adopted the horrendous American Diet.
 
Take CONTROL of your Health!  Contact your Congressional Representatives and DEMAND that Natural Health treatments be covered along with traditional (mostly ineffective) drug and therapies.  Focus on treatments that actually WORK, are often MUCH less expensive and provide long term results and sustainable CURES.
 

Skip Stein is a Lifestyle Program Counselor at Plant Based Healthstyle, a health and wellness organization based in Orlando Florida.  His partner, Chef Nancy, has just released her new book: “Restoring America’s Health” that is available on Amazon in hard copy and Kindle Versions.