Everyone, all the time: You're a Naturopathic Doctor, you must be vegan?
Me: No, I am not… And here’s why:
It's all in the semantics.
I do eat a plant-based diet, however, the plant-based diet that I eat, may be different than what you think.
Eating a "Plant-based diet" means that the majority of food you eat comes from plants. Simply put, the “base” of your diet is made up of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, some grains and other substances grown from the ground. I eat this way and I recommend that my patients eat this way.
But what about meat?
Most people can benefit from having some animal products, while leaving plants as the "base" of their diet.
For example, beef can be healthy, especially if you eat your beef with a pile of green leafy vegetables. Dairy can also be healthy, especially if you eat it with a ton of berries, seeds, and/or nuts. Eggs can be healthy as well, especially if eaten with some blanched spinach or kale… The list goes on.
The caveat of the above healthy plant-based (and non-vegan) options, is that by volume, you should be consuming far more plant than animal products. The more plants the better, really.
Another way to re-frame your thinking when prepping your next plant-based meal, would be to use animal products as a condiment or side-dish to your plant-based plate, rather than the staple of the meal. For instance, instead of having "pork-chop Tuesday", have "roasted beet, arugula salad with almonds and a side of pork Tuesday". By changing the way you think about food in prepping your meals, you can change the way food impacts your health.
If plants aren't the base of your diet, I recommend that you make them the base of your diet. Your arteries, liver, digestive, immune system and more will thank you.
Happy plant-based eating!