By Dr. Bijesh BDS, Head of Research and Medical Affairs @ candok.in
As I read various studies, day after day I’m becoming “almost vegetarian”. I recommend a vegetarian diet that is wholesome and getting most of your calories from non-animal sources. This wholesome vegetarian diet emphasizes minimally processed foods that will include a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and if you are a non-vegetarian controlled portion of animal products.
If you are looking to reverse your chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure you will need a more disciplined approach to get closer to a wholesome vegetarian diet that’s proven to reduce cholesterol, bring your blood pressure to ideal numbers, lose weight and even reverse diabetes. And all these can be achieved by the same diet. However, based on your health condition, needs, preferences and goals everyone will need a personalized evaluation and individualized recommendation by a dietitian so you get all required nutrients through your diet.
The time I write this, we as humanity are speaking a lot about nutrition, what we eat to keep ourselves healthy, how the chronic conditions are taking a toll creating more complexities with covid-19 infections, and how we make sure our family members are nourished. The pandemic made us realize health is not just managing chronic diseases with medicines, but not having any lifestyle diseases. We are realising how important it is to stay healthy to recover and overcome covid-19 infection.
In the section #HealthyAtHome, The World Health Organisation recommends eating a healthy diet to improve the body’s ability to prevent, fight and recover from infections. The recommendation comprises of the following;
- Eat a variety of food including fruits and vegetables, even for snacks the suggestion is to choose raw vegetables, fresh fruits and unsalted nuts.
- Cut back on salt, to read the labels on packages food products and choose those with low sodium content.
- Limit sugar intake, to choose fresh fruits instead of cookies, cakes and chocolates.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water and avoid sugar sweetened beverages.
The recommendation by the WHO reinforces the research papers I review, supporting a wholesome vegetarian diet or a plant based diet for the body to function well, to repair, for the health of internal organs, for longevity, for protection from chronic lifestyle diseases and more.
Vegetarian, vegan and plant based diets are emerging dietary movements in different cultures across the globe. The importance of vegetarian diets include improved health and a more sustainable environment. I will highlight a research paper that evaluates the common motives for people to move to a vegetarian diet. If you are still looking for a reason to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, or if you want to bring change- a meaningful approach on the diet of your family members, friends or for children who are going to be the future generation, these studies may support you to prepare a narrative.
Your reason to eat a wholesome vegetarian diet:
Healthy living, animal rights, environmental and religious reasons are the major reasons we see in common among people who choose a vegetarian diet.
The study, Health, environmental, and animal rights motives for vegetarian eating focused on three major non religious motives. The 15 survey questions are as follows and may support you in finding a reason for yourself or for you to become a change agent to influence and change others for good.
The 15 questions are as follows.
- I want to be healthy
- Plant-based diets are better for the environment
- Animals do not have to suffer
- Animals’ rights are respected
- I want to live a long time
- Plant based diets are more sustainable
- I care about my body
- Eating meat is bad for the planet
- Animal rights are important to me
- Plant-based diets or environmentally friendly
- It does not seem right to exploit animals
- Plants have less of an impact on the environment than animal products
- I am concerned about animal rights
- My health is important to me
- I don’t want animals to suffer
The study also mentions about TEMS- The Eating Motivation Survey designed by Strohbach, & Schupp that highlighted 15 other motives that includes liking, habits, hunger, health, convenience, pleasure, tradition, nature, sociability, price, visual appeal, weight control, affect regulation, social norms and social image.
The study goes on explaining several other variables. Click here to read the full study.
The study concluded that a variety of pathways that can lead a person to a vegetarian diet and in general, health motives are the most common.
If you are overweight or have any chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol consult your physician or a dietitian who could evaluate your current condition and recommend appropriate diet and lifestyle changes.
Candok Health Coach can review your condition, preferences, needs and prepare a customized diet plan, suggest basic physical activity and guide you through the journey. If you have any chronic conditions, based on the requirement, the coach will involve your treating physician to monitor and taper medications.
Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok Editorial Board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally!
Health, environmental, and animal rights motives for vegetarian eating Christopher J. HopwoodID, Wiebke Bleidorn, Ted Schwaba, Sophia Chen University of California, Davis, CA, United States America.