Happy Plant-Based New Year

By: Megan Landean, M. Ed.

As 2021 begins, one of the most popular resolutions seems to be going vegetarian, or even vegan. The rise in plant-based eating is turning heads and forcing companies of all kinds to adapt. In 2017, the sales of plant-based alternatives grew 17%, and continues to rise each year. This trend is consistent not just in the United States, but throughout the world. From baby food to fast-food companies, everyone is rolling out their plant based options.

There are many reasons one would want to go plant-based. One of the most common reasons is for overall health benefits. The plant-based diet is an effective diet when trying to lose weight and have more energy. Plant-based diets can also aid in the prevention of several diseases, but also, in some cases, act as a form of treatment. One study found a link to lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers when consumed a plant-based diet. There are even benefits for those who have certain incurable diseases. For example, plant-based diets can aid in fatigue severity in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Fatigue is a major concern with MS patients, so knowing that a simple diet change can lessen that burden is very beneficial.

Another reason one would want to go plant-based is because they are concerned about our environment. Greenhouse emissions are a rising concern for not only the US, but around the globe. There are strong correlations to support that housing livestock for consumption increases greenhouse emissions, with beef and lamb producing the most (McArdle et al., 2018). Nutrition experts hope that the "eat less meat" guidelines issued by the government will have a large impact on reducing these emissions.

Not ready to go full plant-based just yet? You're not alone. According to one report, 39% of the population actively tries to incorporate plant-based foods into their diets. Going plant-based can be something you do only on Mondays (meatless Mondays anyone?!), only during the week, or even just a meal or two throughout the day. There are even ways to slowly slide into becoming completely plant-based, or to just make healthier diet choices that still include non-plant based products (Muth, 2015).

  • Semi-vegetarian (flexitarian): diet includes eggs, dairy and occasionally meat.
  • Pescatarian: diet includes eggs, dairy and fish, but no other forms of meat.
  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: diet includes eggs and dairy, but no meat.
  • Lacto Vegetarian: diet includes dairy, but no eggs or meat.
  • Ovo Vegetarian: diet includes eggs, but no dairy or meat.

No matter where you are on your plant-based journey, there's a recipe for you. Here are some of our top plant-based (easy to make) recipes:

One last note on plant-based diets…

Just because something is plant-based doesn't mean it is considered healthy. For example, the famous "Impossible Burger" has just as much fat in it as a traditional hamburger (17g, with 14g from saturated fat!). Other plant-based fruit juices, frozen meats and desserts are also on the hot list. One study found that adults who increased consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables while still eating meat had 10% lower risk of death. On the other hand, adults who increased consumption of unhealthy plant-based foods had 12% greater risk of death.

Smart food choices aren't just for those eating meat, they apply to all diets. The best thing you can do for your body is to regularly consume fresh, whole foods. Need more help? Just ask Trilogy!