Moving toward a plant-based diet

What is mostly animal and not enough fruit and vegetable’ The typical American diet. If meat is the major focus of our meals, with vegetables, grains and fruits served on the side, it’s time to start a healthy transition’one that can dramatically cut your cancer risk and offer many other health benefits. What’s the transition’ It’s no riddle. It’s moving toward a plant-based diet. That means changing your plate so a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans take the lead at mealtimes ‘and meats play second fiddle. The American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) first recommendation states: Choose predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes and minimally processed starchy staple foods. You can order their booklet, ‘Moving Toward a Plant-Based Diet: Menus and Recipes for Cancer Prevention,’ by calling1-800-843-8114. This booklet brings you science-based information on the first of 14 diet and health recommendations for cancer prevention, arising from a landmark research report, “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective.” Published in 1997 by the AICR, the report was written by an expert panel of scientists who reviewed more than 4,500 research studies from around the world. A plant-based diet isn’t necessarily a vegetarian diet. It covers a range of eating styles between the extremes of the traditional meat-heavy American diet and strict vegetarian-ism. Findings from AICR’s expert report indicate that diets high in vegetables and fruits that also include modest amounts of meat are just as protective against cancer as vegetarian ones. Besides improvements in health, there are many other benefits to moving toward a plant-based diet. Learning about new foods, tasting new flavors, trying new recipes and preparing healthful meals for yourself, your family and your friends are rewarding as well. Choosing a plant-based diet may improve your health and renew your interest in cooking and eating. Give it a try. How does a ‘primarily plant-based diet’ translate into everyday eating’ The next time you sit down to a meal, take a look at your plate. If meat is the major focus, start shifting toward smaller servings with larger portions of vegetables and whole grains. A general rule of thumb is to make at least two- thirds of your meal plant-based foods and one- third or less lean meat, poultry, fish or low-fat dairy foods. Any changes should been made gradually. Attempting too much too quickly often ends in failure. There will probably be times when you don’t eat healthfully for a day. But, it isn’t one day’s eating that affects our health, but our habits from month-to-month and year-to-year. March 20 marks ‘The Great American Meat-out 2007’ day. So swap that fajita for a black-bean burrito and “veg out.” Next week: Spring – Season of Joy Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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