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Where Do I Start

Limit/Discontinue:

  • refined products and processed food
  • ​​processed and refined sugars​
  • ​dairy products
  • ​red meat, pork, and chicken

Discontinue:

  • wheat if you are gluten sensitive

  • ​sugar drinks, carbonated sodas, fake juices

Focus on eating whole foods

Standard American Diet

  • 63% of America’s calories come from refined and processed foods (e.g. soft drinks, packaged snacks like potato chips, packaged desserts, etc.).

 

  • 25% of America’s calories come from animal-based foods.

  • 12% of America’s calories come from plant-based foods.

Healthy Balanced Diet

Make most of your meal vegetables and fruits - ½ of your plate.

  • Aim for color and variety and remember that potatoes don’t count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate because of their negative impact on blood sugar.

Go for whole grains - ¼ of your plate.

  • Whole and intact grains - whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods made with them, such as whole wheat pasta have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

 

Protein and healthy fat - ¼ of your plate.

  • Fish, poultry, legumes, and nuts are all healthy, versatile protein sources - they can be mixed into salads, and pair well with vegetables on a plate. Limit red meat and avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage.

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Plant Based Myths

Myth #1: Vegetarians and Vegans Have a Hard Time Getting Enough Protein

  • Plant-based protein typically contains more dietary fiber and less saturated fat than animal-based sources of protein. These two factors are cornerstones of a heart-healthy diet.

 

Myth #2: To Build Strong Bones, You Must Include Dairy in Your Diet

  • Dairy is not the only food that can help build and protect strong bones. A number of nutrients are needed for bone health, including calcium, vitamin D and protein. Calcium can be found in a variety of plant foods such as kale, broccoli, bok choy, etc.

 

Myth #3: Eating Soy Increases Risk of Breast Cancer

  • For vegans and vegetarians, incorporating fortified soy products in the diet is an easy way to meet both protein and calcium requirements. Despite news reports to the contrary, there is no proof soy causes cancer. Actually, there is evidence that consuming soy in childhood and adolescence produces a lower lifetime risk for breast cancer; whereas beginning soy in adulthood doesn't appear to offer the same level of protection.

 

Myth #4: Just Because Something Is Vegetarian Means It Is Healthy

  • The "vegetarian" or "vegan" label doesn't automatically equal good health. While some cookies, chips and sweetened cereal might be vegetarian foods, they also can be high in added sugars or sodium.