An Exploratory Inquiry into Plant-Based Diets
Hernandez, Richard Antonio
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Our society has more variety of foods that are readily accessible to us than ever before. The demand for this has led to changes within our bodies and how we breakdown certain foods. In a post-industrial society, there has been an increasing demand for sustainable food consumption that are affiliated with identity and cultural change. This framework draws from different ideologies; whether it be an ethical approach or a cultural one, the plant-based diet has gained popularity in recent years (Larsson and Johansson, 2005). Regardless, many now look at where we source our food and how that affects our environment. This begins at the local level all the way to the global level where shifts have led to a more holistic approach to consuming food. Campbell (2006) states that a plant based diet provides us with the food to operate at an optimal level. Understanding that food doesn’t target just one part of the body, but rather fuels our entire body is an important part of our diet that often gets overlooked. Campbell (2006) stresses that one must understand that what they decide to consume affects their bodies directly, thus affecting their overall health, stability, and growth. Viewing diets, specifically plant-based ones through this lens and framework is a powerful tool for any individual. Recognizing how certain animal products and byproducts such as high fructose corn syrup, fats, dairy, and carbohydrates can negatively affect an individual allows one to reevaluate how they view their diets. This causes one to change their mindset about nutrition and health. This has positive implications on a national and global scale. By encouraging the American public that, at the very least, consuming more plant-based proteins can have a positive effect on their overall health. This is strongly reflected in the history and evolution in America’s diet and mortality. Campbell (2006) ends off on a hopeful note; that all of us can improve our diets with simply increasing our intake of proteins, vitamins, and fibers from plant based proteins. Plant-Based Diets have become the de facto umbrella term encompassing the broad spectrum of our ever-changing diets. From Veganism to Vegetarianism and Semi-Vegetarianism; The plant-based diet and lifestyle is the forefront of new age of health in America. Research has shown that not everyone is ready or wants to be fully plant-based. Rather than aiming for one end of the spectrum to another, it’s important to look at the profound effect of Whole Food Plant Based Diets. This term encompasses all kinds of individuals who reduce or exclude meat entirely. The trend speaks for itself, we are slowing moving to a more plant-based diet and the world will change with it. As the American public slowly shifts towards a more holistic approach to how and what we eat, the world improves as a whole. Even the smallest changes have shown to be low-risk, cost-effective, and altruistic in changing our American diets and lifestyle.