I believe in 3 different ways of healing: mind, body, & soul: today we’ll be focusing in the body. Trying to find the link between plant-based and autoimmune, I couldn’t help to think about:
“Let food be thy medicine, and let the medicine be thy food.”Hippocrates, The Father of Western Medicine
I want you to read the quote twice and visualize in your mind how amazing it is. With this statement it’s so easy to make up your mind, and commit to your desire, on becoming plant-based, convincing yourself that there’s a better way to get healthy and stay healthy. You can do so by eating a whole foods, plant-based diet full of hearty nutrients that leads to maintaining optimal health and natural healing.
The healing journey from poor health to a fully nourished life is what medicine should be about. I recommend checking out a book, called Love Food that Loves You Back, which helps give a different perspective on how making small changes in your life can make a large difference. For me, becoming vegan has been such a blessing in my life, it has given me the power to reclaim my health and happiness, eating food that I love and loves me back, feeling nourished, consuming food that makes me happy and fills my life with energy and joy.
My Plant-Based Story
Taking a plant-based approach to my life has given me a holistic approach to my entire lifestyle: nourishing my body, not depriving it, with nutrient-dense plant foods, like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. My health issues and I have done a lot of damage to my body, but one thing I’m sure of is the closer I eat to nature, the better I feel. It is that simple! I have more energy, my depression symptoms diminished, my weight stabilized, and so did my eating patterns. I even began to love myself, and accept my body. I became passionate about life and about life-giving foods; even if I’m having an autoimmune-related issue, I feel better on every level than I used to feel.
As we know, food does play a huge role in our health, and when you choose a lifestyle that limits sugars, promotes good gut health, and is rich in plants, you can help your autoimmune heal. The most important piece of this is to start minimizing, or avoiding, lifestyle habits that cause inflammation (which in turn leads to immune-related diseases like consuming alcohol, caffeine, gluten, and not getting enough sleep or exercise). Real foods, rich in essential vitamins and minerals, come with no preservatives or additives. Fresh, whole, unprocessed foods: these are the foods that heal your body and can save your life.
Additionally, some people may even have intolerances for certain types of food, like eggs, cheese and meat. When these are removed from their diet, their health can improve. This is actually why we sometimes see people following fad diets or changing their pattern of eating. However, this is sometimes just a band-aid on the true issue and a temporary improvement in their health. The trick to gaining long term health benefits is to identify those foods that don’t serve you and your body positively.
The body is resilient and forgiving and self-regenerating. Here are some delicious plant foods that may be able to help you in starting a plant-based protocol.
Autoimmune Friendly Foods:
Your goal should be to eat a rainbow! Half of your plate should be veggies at any meal. You’ll particularly want to add in lots of leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and mustard greens, because they are an excellent source of fiber, and keep your gut functioning optimally.
Some of my favorite veggies are carrot, brussel sprouts, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, beets, sweet potatoes, and squash. Try having fun with different vegetables mixes and don’t be afraid to try something new!
Fruits are an excellent source of fiber, which helps to prevent constipation and supports the friendly bacteria in your gut that are so crucial to immune function. Any kind of berries are my favorite fruits because they’re low in sugar and packed with antioxidants.
Legumes and Grains
Beans/legumes are a primary protein source for a plant-based lifestyle They also keep your blood sugar stable, which is important for proper thyroid function. Fiber in grains and legumes improves the health of our gut microbiome, our 100 trillion organism-strong “mini ecosystem.” Try options like, quinoa, beans, chickpeas, lentils, amaranth, buckwheat, and various types of rice, like basmati or couscous.
Nuts and Seeds
Some nuts are rich in magnesium, l-arginine and vitamin E, which may also play a role in keeping inflammation under control. Examples include: walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, flax, and chia seeds.
When you’re planning for your next meal, think of consciously choosing to nourish your body with nutrient dense foods and keep these 5 options in mind:
- Cook your food, and enjoy it: Avoid eating in restaurants or pre-packaged/processed food. Instead collect recipes for quick meals. You can also store meals in your freezer that can be reheated if you know that you are not going to be able to cook.
- Get used to adding protein to every meal: Some legumes and vegetables pack a protein punch.
- Don’t be afraid of fats: Switch to high-quality fats (like coconut oil) as your main cooking fat. Use olive oil and avocado oil as raw fats. Consider your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (Coconut oil / Avocado).
- Question your food quality: Think about consuming locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables.
- Work on eating variety and add some new foods. If you think that you are eating the same, start varying your meals.
Remember, you have the power to choose how you nourish your body and these choices can have an incredible impact on your health!