Having difficulty incorporating vegan eating into a Paleolithic diet?

When you stop to think about the appalling health conditions in the United States and other parts of the world due to our diet choices, you realize how much damage we have done to ourselves. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Preventable heart attacks account for the majority of these deaths. 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. 1/3 of all American children are overweight or obese, and obesity is increasingly being diagnosed at very young ages.

We eat like there’s no tomorrow, and then we pay the price, and not just individually but as a society when healthcare costs run into the billions due to preventable conditions.

The vegetable alternative

Approximately 16 million Americans currently follow a vegetarian diet, and many of them are vegan, which means they do not consume any animal products or by-products (milk, honey, eggs).

Celebrities, world leaders, nutritionists, doctors, and children live healthy, energetic lives as a result of a plant-based diet. They enjoy heart health, lower body weight, and lower insulin resistance.

Unbeknownst to many, Bill Clinton, former Democratic President of the United States, suffered from heart disease. He announced in 2011 that he had miraculously reversed his heart disease, and he had done it with a strict meat-free diet. Recent research has been shown to support Clinton’s claim.

Oxford University conducted a large study and the results of the study revealed that following a strict vegetarian diet reduces the risk of hospitalization due to heart disease complications and the risk of death from heart disease, both by almost 1/3.

The results of the study

45,000 participants took part in the study conducted by health and diet experts at the University of Oxford. About 34% of the study participants followed strict vegetarian diets. (In this particular study, a vegetarian was defined as an individual who abstained from consuming both meat and fish.)

Those who participated in the study were followed for more than 10 years as the researchers collected information about their dietary choices, exercise habits, alcohol consumption and other variables that could potentially impact heart disease risk.

The researchers conducting the study found that even after controlling for the other factors, study participants who followed the strict vegetarian diets were much less likely to develop or succumb to heart disease.

Francesca Crowe, PhD, of the University of Oxford was the lead author of the study. In a statement, she said: “Most of the difference in risk is probably due to effects on both cholesterol and blood pressure.” In her statement, she added: “This demonstrates the important role of diet in preventing heart disease.”

Research conducted by the experts at Oxford University also revealed that study participants who followed a strict vegetarian diet tended to have a lower body mass index than non-vegetarians, and were also less likely to suffer from diabetes.

More benefits of following a vegetarian diet

This most recent study was one of the largest studies ever conducted to examine the cardiovascular benefits of following a vegetarian diet; However, it’s not exactly breaking news that a meat-free diet is associated with a multitude of health benefits.

For example, another recent study followed about 37,000 adults and found that by eating at least one vegetarian meal a day, you can reduce your risk of dying from cancer by about 20%.

Other research has shown that, compared to meat eaters, people who follow a vegetarian diet:

• Have a reduced risk of foodborne illness

• Experience less severe symptoms of menopause

• Have a longer overall useful life

• Have better insulin resistance

• Weigh less and are less likely to be obese

Even if you’re not ready to give up your favorite burger just yet, you can still reap the health benefits by incorporating a few more heart-healthy, meat-free foods into your overall diet. Choose plant foods more often. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains. Eat whole foods raw.

Some examples of some delicious foods to consider are:

• Avocado

• Berries

• Walnuts

• Seeds

• Lentils

• Green leafy vegetables

• Red, yellow, purple and green vegetables

• Quinoa

• Sweet potatoes

• Steel cut oats

• Soymilk and soybeans

• Much more

Consider making one or two meatless meals a week, and cutting meat off your plate whenever you can.

Substitute that meat with black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and other beans that are virtually fat-free. Choose fruit for dessert instead of baked goods and raw vegetables for snacks.

Choose a fresh fruit and protein powder shake for three lunches a week instead of a burger or chicken lunch.

Small changes can go a long way, and maybe at some point you’ll cut out the meat altogether.

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