Powering up on plant proteins—beans, lentils, peas, soyfoods, nuts, seeds, and whole grains—has been one of the hottest food and nutrition trends over the past few years. Research has linked plant-based diets with lower risks of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.2 In addition, studies consistently show that plant-based diets are better for the environment. Diets high in meat increase greenhouse gas emissions from food production and global land clearing, as well as rate of species extinction.
Avoiding Refined Oils
Another controversy surrounding low-fat, plant-based diets includes recommendations to avoid refined plant oils. Hever notes that because oil is the most calorically dense food available, omitting it is one of the easiest ways to dramatically reduce calorie intake and support a healthy weight. "Since there are other lower-calorie, more nutrient-dense options for attaining the fats found in plant oils, reducing oil intake is a wonderfully useful tool to help my clients achieve their goals.
Raw Food Diet
Q: Some of my clients are following a raw food diet, and others are asking about it. What does this diet entail, and are there any benefits to eating raw foods?
A: The theory behind this diet is that Raw foods are packed with natural enzymes, and that if they're cooked above 116° F, the heat will destroy most of the vitamins, phytonutrients, and enzymes in foods like cauliflower and broccoli. Although weight loss is likely on a raw food diet due to the diet's low-calorie status and the elimination of high-calorie processed food, cooked food has nutritional and safety benefits. The diet includes fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs. No food can be cooked above 116° F, microwaved, processed, irradiated, genetically modified, or exposed to herbicides or pesticides. Some followers add raw, unpasteurized milk or cheese made from raw milk; raw honey; raw fish; and even raw meat. Legumes and grains are eaten raw, like chickpeas and mung beans. Other allowable foods include extra-virgin olive oil, raw virgin coconut oil, raw coconut butter, freshly squeezed juice, and herbal tea. Foods that are off limits include refined sugars and flours, table salt, and caffeine. Pasta, baked goods, and pasteurized juice and milk also are prohibited.
Followers can use juicing, blending, dehydrating, germinating, and sprouting to prepare foods. However, some of the required equipment, such as dehydrators, food processors, and high-grade blenders, are costly.
A raw food diet can promote weight loss; however, there can be nutritional and health consequences associated with eliminating cooked foods. If a client would like to follow a raw food diet, recommend they follow it to a lesser extent (no more than 90% raw foods) and to include cooked food as part of a well-balanced and varied diet.
The Issues with raw food diet
There's also a risk of nutrient deficiency when raw food enthusiasts don't consume dairy, meat, or fish. Plus, certain foods like beans and grains typically aren't eaten since they need to be cooked; this can lead to additional deficiencies if the nutrients aren't obtained through other sources or supplementation.
Food safety is a second issue to consider. Unpasteurized dairy has a history of transmitting Listeria, which can be detrimental to the health of pregnant women and could potentially lead to stillbirth. Raw meat can contain bacteria such as E coli O157:H7, which is potentially deadly.
Because dairy protein is a complete protein, which provides all of the essential amino acids necessary for good health, a protein source or sources must be utilized in order to ensure adequate protein nutrition in nondairy consumers,” he continues. “In this regard, soy protein is an excellent protein source, as it too contains all of the essential amino acids. Rice protein often is used as a protein source for nondairy consumers.
Bright Green Advice
1. Try to Buy fresh and buy local. Everyone wholeheartedly endorses fresh and local food. Avoid rotten fruits and vegetarians
2. Make conscious decisions. I make the choices I do because I care about the health of my family, the earth that I live on, and the one I’m leaving for my children and grandchildren. What’s good for the Earth is good for us.
3. If possible try to grow your own green herbs and plants, if not buy from a good shop.
4. Try to Consume and waste less greenry.
5. Choose organic, reject GMOs. One of the best things you can do for yourself, your family, and your community is to eat local and organic whenever possible. Organic farming systems reduce pollution, protect our waterways, and make the Earth a cleaner place, she adds.
6. Aviod conventionally grown meat.
7. Trade fairly. No one’s giving up coffee and chocolate without a fight, but fair trade and organic products consistently make dietitians’ earth-friendly shopping lists.
Going Eco-Friendly on Your Own
Don’t let those numbers discourage you or your clients, though. It’s still possible to make meals eaten away from home more environmentally friendly. With a little forethought and consideration, you can “green up” almost any restaurant meal. Remember: Green restaurant dining encompasses more than just ordering organic food. Follow these suggestions when you decide to eat out and you will have done your part:
• Walk, take public transit, carpool, or dine at a restaurant close to your home or office.
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Indira Gandhi Institute Of Yoga Services
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