Wellness begins with what we put on our plate. With all of the trendy diet options out there, making choices on how we eat can sometimes get complicated. As a personal plant based chef, trained by Matthew Kenney Culinary, I recommend starting your meal planning by selecting seasonal ingredients sourced locally when it’s possible.

What is a Plant Based Diet you might ask; why would I give up meat? Going plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up meat completely. The foundation of the plant based diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds instead of a diet heavy in animal products and processed foods. If you are not ready to give up animal products completely, you can still have modest portions once in awhile, as long as your diet consists of mostly vibrant plant based foods.

1. Disease Prevention.

Lots of research, including some from the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure. Another study by Harvard researchers found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables, can lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes is also preventable, and plenty of research suggests a plant-based diet can help ward off the disease.

2. Weight loss.

Most plants tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients; leaving you feeling full (and not stuffed) with nutrient dense meals. There’s plenty of research that suggests that vegetarians tend to consume fewer calories, weigh less and have lower body mass indexes.

Again, following a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean going full-blown vegetarian, but loading up your plate with fruits, veggies, and whole grains in lieu of meat will likely leave you feeling fuller on fewer calories.

3. High in Fiber.

Eating a diet filled with a rainbow of fruits and veggies is high in fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and prevents constipation. It may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

4. Skin Care.

Cutting back on animal products also includes skipping a lot of saturated fats, which are notorious for clogging pores. Vitamins and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables contribute to healthy, glowing skin.

For instance, the lycopene in tomatoes, helps protect your skin from sun damage. Flaxseeds contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which make your cell membranes stronger, preventing harmful toxins from being absorbed while holding as much water in as possible. This makes the skin look plumper and younger. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, supporting the growth of collagen, a protein that helps smooth out wrinkles, while giving the appearance of fuller, youthful skin.

5. Boots Athletic Performance.

Eating plant-based may also maximize your athletic performance, primarily because it optimizes the immune system and significantly increases physiological recovery from exercise induced stress. Plants give our bodies instant energy as they require so little digestion. Their nutrients go right into our blood stream to give us instant, lasting energy. Expelling waste on a regular basis thanks to all the fiber in plants is also very energizing, as waste literally weighs us down and makes us feel sluggish.

6. Pure Beauty.

It’s beautiful when you really know how to love yourself. Your body is a temple and it craves to be nourished with clean food. Most of us do not eat enough vegetables; so focusing on getting more of these nutrients into our bodies is a place to start. Adding in superfoods, Ayurveda adaptogens (Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, He Shou Wu) and green powders like chlorella, spirulina, E3Live blue majik (rich in Phycocyanin, which is a powerful antioxidant) adds a nutritional garnish to your soul.

When we nurture our bodies like this way, it transforms us. It fills us with somuch energy that you feel powerful like a warrior; you’re ready to conquer anything. Some people might say you have a beautiful “glow” about you. We glow when we reflect something special we have inside of us, it’s spirit-filled. When you have a beautiful soul that is nourished with healthy food, it will radiate.

Another dimension of this inner glow is related to the company that you keep; so surround yourselves with those who you love, admire and want to grow with. There is no need for competition, we are here to lift others up and support one another on this journey of life.

xoxo, Kristine