WHAT IS A PLANT-BASED DIET AND WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME?

What is a plant-based ‘diet’?

A  whole foods, plant-based diet is focused on foods which come from plants, and includes: all vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and fruit. 

​Is this a good way to lose weight? Is it safe?

The plant-based approach is well-researched, and uses the principles of energy density to help you sustainably lose weight. Interested in more of the science? Read some of the recommended resources.

Will it affect my other health conditions – high cholesterol, diabetes, or others? 

The whole plant foods approach has a range of proven health benefits – research has demonstrated you can prevent and reverse type II diabetes and heart disease, even potential to slow progression of low grade prostate cancer, lower your risk of breast​ and bowel cancer, and many more.

I want some more information on what you’re saying here

We’re not trying to speak beyond the evidence here, so will explain the nitty gritty for those technically-minded. It’s not for everyone, so skip ahead if you don’t need the details.

A note on type II diabetes mellitus (the most common form): some physicians will stay away from the the term ‘cure’ or ‘reverse’ type II diabetes mellitus, saying once a person has this diagnosis it means the pancreas has strained for so long it can’t produce enough insulin anymore, and may be damaged. They tend to use the term “remission” rather than “cure”.

  • As far as we know, this damage to the pancreas is not reversible, and we agree there isn’t much you can do to change that. However, type II diabetes mellitus is defined by high blood sugars and “peripheral insulin resistance” – that means that the insulin is not able to work on the cells to let sugar inside. 
  • When you improve the ability of insulin to work (by following a low fat, whole food, plant-based diet) your blood sugars can normalise. The pancreas (although damaged) is able to produce enough insulin to keep the blood sugars normal.
  • We’ve treated patients where their blood sugars normalised, they’ve come off off insulin and get their HbA1c tests go back into the normal range. However, because of some pancreatic damage, some people might still be advised to take a small dose of medication, while others can come off all diabetes related medications completely. 
  • If we’re defining type II diabetes by the HbA1c (the standard diagnostic marker), and someone has a resolution of all of their symptoms then we think using the term cure (or reverse) is appropriate.


Heart disease has been shown on angiography to be reversible with a low fat diet, see Dr Esselstyn’s results, or those of Dr Ornish’s. Both of these trials show just how powerful the plant based diet can be for our number one killer.

Dr Ornish showed in another piece of research that a plant-based diet, in combination with other changes could essentially reverse (his term, not ours) biopsy proven low grade prostate cancer. See the article here. In his group that made lifestyle and diet changes, the PSA (prostate specific antigen, which is used to monitor for presence of prostate cancer) went down. He notes in his conclusion “Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of early, low grade prostate cancer in men. Further studies and longer term followup are warranted.” Only a small amount of research has been done on this, but it’s still amazing to see these truly pioneering results. 

Lowering cancer rates has been shown in quite a few different studies, we’ve just cited a couple above. Have a look at the book “The China Study” to get more understanding about cancer, or nutritionfacts.org for videos on various published research.

The above cases could be best case scenario – we wouldn’t expect people to do better than a highly controlled environment like a research study where someone has lots of support from physicians and other health professionals, and other members of a study. The whole food, plant-based diet is not a miracle cure, but it is an effective form of treatment for many different diseases.

​What if I’m a picky eater? 

Check out the recipes page and see what we eat! Do you like eating pasta, cake, salads, pizza or pancakes? You can eat our versions of these food, lose weight, and get rid of diabetes (type II diabetes mellitus).

How does this type of eating affect the planet? 

Eating less (or no) animal products helps the environment by using less environmental resources, such as land and water, and drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions – all this just by simply changing what you choose to put on your plate!

WHAT’S IN THE PROGRAMME?

  • Information from certified medical and fitness professionals


  • Advice on how to deal with the psychology of change – what to do if others aren’t supportive, to how to talk to your doctor about your new lifestyle, what to do when you are stressed, etc.


  • A step-by-step plan for losing weight and getting healthy


  • Manageable weekly tasks


  • Explanations about the links between food and health

  • Support and community
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  • Motivation


  • Clear guidelines about what foods are healthy and which aren’t


  • Recipes!


  • Understanding how to improve your health, no matter what stage you’re at

WHAT CONTENT WILL I GET ACCESS TO AS A MEMBER?


Videos, Exercise Guide, Recipes, Progress Guide, Weekly Tasks



WHAT DO OTHER ORGANISATIONS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE PLANT-BASED APPROACH?

What groups or organisations promote a plant based approach?

It turns out that many of the most reputable dietary organisations in the world support a plant based lifestyle. The following is not by any means an exhaustive list, click on each group to see what they have to say. 

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Position statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association)

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phytochemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.

Link to pubmed

Link to full article (PDF)

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The British National Health Service on a vegan lifestyle

Vegans don't eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs. You should be able to get most of the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet. A healthy vegan diet contains: plenty of fruit and vegetables, plenty of starchy foods, some non-dairy sources of protein, such as beans and pulses, some dairy alternatives, such as fortified soya drinks, just a small amount of fatty and sugary foods.

With good planning and an understanding of what makes up a healthy, balanced vegan diet, you can get all the nutrients your body needs. If you don't plan your diet properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12.

During pregnancy and when breastfeeding, women who follow a vegan diet need to make sure they get enough vitamins and minerals for their child to develop healthily. If you're bringing up your baby or child on a vegan diet, you need to ensure they get a wide variety of foods to provide the energy and vitamins they need for growth.

Link

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Dieticians of Canada

A healthy vegan diet has many health benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

It may take planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins D and B12 and omega-3 fats from foods or supplements. A healthy vegan diet can meet all your nutrient needs at any stage of life including when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or for older adults.

Link

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Best Practice Advocacy Centre New Zealand

A vegetarian diet can be healthy for a child as long as it is well balanced and adequate amounts of essential nutrients and vitamins are consumed. In fact, researchers are currently trialling vegetarian diets as a management strategy for obesity in children. A vegan diet for a child is more complicated to manage in terms of gaining essential nutrients and vitamins. Prescribing multiple supplements for children to overcome dietary deficiencies is not as desirable as a well balanced diet. Parents should take this into consideration when making dietary choices for their child. Advice from a nutritionist should be sought.

In children with a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider the possibility of vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium and iron deficiency; consider supplementation if the child is unable/unwilling to consume enough of these nutrients from dietary sources.

Link

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Dieticians Association of Australia

Vegan diets are a type of vegetarian diet, where only plant-based foods are eaten. They differ to other vegetarian diets in that no animal products are usually consumed or used. Despite these restrictions, with good planning it is still possible to obtain all the nutrients required for good health on a vegan diet. 

Link

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American Heart Association

Most vegetarian diets are low in or devoid of animal products. They’re also usually lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully planned to include essential nutrients. However, a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and/or saturated fat and not enough important nutrients.

Link

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