In the 2011 May issue of Today's Dietitian, there was an excellent article titled "Fruitful Endeavor: adopting a plant-based diet may offer a bounty of benefits"
By: Sharon Palmer, RD
As you know very well, I am a 17 year vegetarian (lacto-ovo) and a firm believer in plant-based eating. However, as an endurance athlete and lover of exercise and physical activity, I believe that my plant-based diet should be balanced in order to support my energy needs and lifestyle requirements. As my training changes, so does my eating. More specifically, the importance of recovery nutrition increases as the intensity and duration of my workouts increase. But none the less, I always emphasize whole, unprocessed foods on a daily basis in order to provide my body with a plentiful amount of nutrients to support metabolism and bodily processes.
From the article:
Although the term "plant-based diet" has not been officially defined and is often considered to be vegetarian, the DGAC (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) calls the plant-based diet one "that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds." It's a manner of eating that allows animal food sources to give way to more plant food sources. Thus, it might have different meanings to different people. Clinton's (Bill Clinton) plant-based diet geatures primarily legumes, vegetables and fruit. For others, following a plant-based diet might be a more gradual process of including more plant foods and shifting away from the traditional Western diet that is high in meat, fat, saturated fat, and sodium and low in fiber. It's a simple idea that doesn't require complicated instructions to promote good health- people just eat more whole, unprocessed foods that come directly from plants.
The newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights vegetarian eating patterns, including vegan diets, lacto-ovo vegetarian diets and diets that include small amounts of meat, poultry and seafood. The guidelines state, "In prospective studies of adults, compared to non-vegetarian eating patterns, vegetarian-style eating patterns have been associated with improved health outcomes - lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower total mortality. Several clinical trials have documented that vegetarian eating patterns lower blood pressure. On average, vegetarians consume a lower proportion of calories from fat (particularly saturated fatty acids); fewer overall calories; and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C than do non-vegetarians. Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index. These characteristics and other lifestyle factors associated with a vegetarian diet may contribute to the positive health outcomes that have been identified among vegetarians."
I hope you enjoy my latest "Fruit-inspired" salad creation!
Red Vine tomato
Hard boiled egg
Swiss cheese (sliced)
Dried dates (chopped)