Lots of places are going green lately. But have you considered switching your diet to green?

Leaning toward a plant based diet can boost your overall health and help lower your risk for certain diseases. A plant based diet is another way of saying a vegetarian diet, which generally consists of eating little or no animal products at all. The traditional Western diet which consists of meat, sugar and processed foods has been associated with many chronic diseases. There is tremendous agreement among nutrition experts and health organizations that Americans are not eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grain or legumes. By limiting some animal products we leave room on our plate for more healthy plant foods.

Here are some perks to eating a plant based diet:

  • Vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories, less saturated fat and cholesterol and tend to weigh less than non-vegetarians.
  • Plant based diets have been associated with lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and certain cancers.
  • Vegetarians eating a variety of plant foods can easily meet all the recommendations for nutrients.

In addition, healthy, plant based diets should also focus on eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods. Healthy plant foods not only taste great but are also easy to prepare.

If this interests you, but you're not sure where to start, consider scheduling a visit to EIRMC's Wellness Center. They have the right people and the right tools to help you make any healthy lifestyle move.

- Contributed by Valerie Chessin, RN, Diabetes Educator

For more information on eating a plant based diet, or to learn the basic principles for maintaining healthy lifestyle, attend EIRMC's fourth installment of the Healthy Living Series, “Healthy Meals and Snacks,” presented by Megan Donnelly, Registered Dietitian at the EIRMC Wellness Center. RSVP for this free class (held on April 9) by calling 227-2778.