The plant-based diet has soared in popularity alongside a number of fad diets over the past decade, leading many people to falsely categorize veganism as just another health trend. But there are major differences between a healthy plant-based lifestyle and the latest round of flash-in-the-pan diet plans. This article will explore just a few of those distinctions.
There is a staggering amount of scientific research that supports the health benefits of plant-based diets. Dr. Michael Greger, author of the extremely popular book How Not to Die, has spent years with his team putting together NutritionFacts.org, which allows users to explore tens of thousands of studies that demonstrate the healthiness of plants (as well as the negative health consequences of animal products). You simply won’t find this amount of research supporting another diet.
Fad diets can be only be supported by a combination of fringe scientific research and some serious mental gymnastics. But don’t take our word for it. Dr. Kim Williams, chair of the American College of Cardiology, is a vegan himself.
An analogy that can be used to compare a plant-based lifestyle with fad diets is the act of swimming versus holding your breath under water. The two activities share obvious parallels — both involve being in the water, both can help your body become stronger — but they are decidedly different in both intention and execution.
Swimming is an active, natural movement that requires you to work harmoniously with the water. When you swim, you are moving your entire body towards an end goal. When you get there, you leave the water feeling refreshed and accomplished, knowing you’ve done something healthy. In order to reap the health benefits of swimming, you have to stay in the water long enough to burn calories at an aerobic rate. But those extra minutes you invest could very well add years to your life, thanks to the cardiovascular and muscular benefits you’ll get as a result of your efforts.
Breath holding, conversely, requires you to work against the water. Not only do you have to fight the force pulling you to the water’s surface — you also have to fight your own natural instincts to gasp for oxygen. When you hold your breath, you are staying in a static position, purposefully fighting your innate compulsion to move your body. You suffer for as long as your body lets you, you rise to the surface, and your body overcompensates in recovery as a result. You can do this type of workout in far less time, but you miss out on the muscular benefits you get from actually swimming.
The plant-based diet is a lot like swimming. As you learn how to cook and seek out healthy foods proven to benefit your body, you are actively involved in the process of becoming healthier. Much like swimming, you work in harmony with nature, eating only earth-grown foods. And although you may not see drastic (and unnatural) results immediately, your long-term health can improve for years on end, ultimately adding years to your life
Fad diets — such as those that require you restrict carbohydrates, undergo intermittent fasts, or rely on excess supplementation to meet your nutrition needs — are a lot like holding your breath under water. Instead of working with nature, you are working against it by pushing your body to unnatural extremes. You may see rapid short-term gains, especially in terms of weight loss, but you lose out on all of the health benefits you would get by eating a balanced plant-based diet.
The Choice is Clear
Plant-based diets are a no brainer for anyone looking to become healthier. At Nature Has Flavor, our goal is to make the transition to this diet as exciting as possible. Not only do we teach you how to cook and live the plant-based lifestyle, we also provide you with the five-star restaurant ingredients to prepare your meals.
We’re confident that as you soon as you find your groove with your new plant-based routine, you’ll never go back to your old way of eating. The same just can’t be said about fad diets.