Dry January and Veganuary are behind us now, but you don’t need to confine your efforts at improving your health to one month a year. Chances are if you’ve been following a typical American diet you are starting to see issues you didn’t expect, from weight gain to high blood pressure to the risk of developing diabetes. Stress plays a role in our diets and has even been shown to affect certain health conditions. Changing your diet and actively working to manage stress are important first steps toward living a healthier life, but where do you start?
A Diet Is Not A Temporary Thing
Fad diets and dieting culture have been around a long time, so it makes sense that when people think of a diet plan they think of bacon cheeseburgers hold the bun or a shake at breakfast and one at lunch. But that’s not exactly what a diet is supposed to be. Your diet is supposed to be part of your daily life, and when you make adjustments that work you’re supposed to stick with them.
How Do You Choose A Diet?
There are a lot of experts out there, and it’s true that not everyone should follow the same diet. Things like underlying health conditions, economics, and even where you live can influence your diet, so it’s best to stick with whatever works for you. Always talk to your doctor first before making any significant dietary changes.
Last year alone 125 million Americans followed a diet plan. The Ketogenic diet is one of the most popular, with 12% of Americans following it. 6% of Americans follow a vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian diet, 5% follow a Mediterannean diet, 5% follow a Paleo or Whole30 diet, and 5% follow a plant-based diet. 43 million Americans regularly eat plant-based alternatives, and 1 in 3 Americans eat plant-based protein every single day.
Plant-Based Diets Are More Popular Than Ever
Thanks to the surging popularity in plant-based diets, popular chain restaurants like Burger King, KFC, Q’Doba, and more are offering plant-based options on their regular menus, and McDonald’s has announced plans to follow suit. What’s more, all the restaurants at Walt Disney World and Disneyland have begun offering plant-based options – over 400 options at restaurants throughout both parks. But you don’t have to adhere to a strictly plant-based diet to enjoy these options – 86% of Americans who regularly eat plant-based alternatives do not consider themselves vegan or vegetarian.
What Does Plant-Based Mean?
Unlike vegetarian or vegan diets, plant-based diets do make exceptions for small amounts of meat, eggs, and dairy so long as the bulk of the regular diet is made up of plants. The majority of these plants should be whole, and processed foods should be kept to a minimum. Those who adhere to a whole-food, plant-based diet should maximize fruit and vegetable intake.
Plant-based diets have been shown to increase weight loss and decrease the risk of type II diabetes, many types of cancer, inflammation factors, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, and more.
It’s even better for the environment. Are you ready to go plant-based?