In the latest issue of Real Style Magazine, dietitian and author Desiree Nielsen talks healthy living, diets and her new cookbook. See an excerpt below.
Q: Plant based foods and diets have garnered much public interest and this year is no exception. With the rise of companies like Beyond Meat, it’s clear there is a market for plant-based foods and meat substitutes. What are your thoughts on this?
A: As a vegetarian for over 20 years, I would never have imagined that plant-based eating would reach such a critical mass…and I’m thrilled. As a dietitian, I believe that the data on both personal and environmental health are strong enough to suggest that we should all be eating a more plant-based diet. Vegetarians and vegans are still a relatively small percentage of the population; so, the rise in plant-based foods really tells me that we are breaking with traditional food patterns that were heavily animal-focused. This is likely due to better awareness of the ethical and environmental impact of modern animal agriculture – but I also believe that our epidemic of chronic disease has led us to seek alternative ways of eating that can help us heal.
Q: What are some of the benefits one can expect when adding more plant-based foods to their diet?
A: I find that as my clients add in more whole plant foods, particularly when there is a focus on fruits and vegetables, energy levels and digestion shift quite quickly. You just feel so much better, and lighter, when your gut is eliminating well – and when you are flooding your cells with nutrient-dense plant foods that optimize function. For some, skin issues can clear up as gut bacteria shift, blood sugar levels stabilize and inflammation decreases.
Most of us eat a pretty hyper-processed diet that is calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. We may get away with that when we are younger, but as you head north of 30, things really shift…and all it takes to feel better is to feed yourself well.
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