A plant-based diet is not only good for you, but good for the environment. (Photo: Henry Leutwyler)
California native Calgary Avansino is a contributing editor at British Vogue, where she started as the assistant to the editor in chief, Alexandra Shulman. She moved to London in 2000 with her husband and, since then, has brought her lifelong passion for wellness and plant-based eating to the forefront of British society. Most recently, she collaborated with British healthy food chain restaurant Itsu on a fresh juice range. Her new book, ‘Keep It Real,’ will be out in 2016.
Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and honor our glorious planet while reminding us to get back to basics. From a food perspective, this simply means eating plants—lots and lots of plants. Eating real food that comes from the ground, from bushes and from trees, is what Mother Nature intended.
These days, when you enter the supermarket, it is bursting at the seams with food choices. There are aisles upon aisles of boxes and tins, package-wrapped ingredients, and frozen items. It is food full of empty calories, chemicals and preservatives—and it’s precisely what is making the rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases skyrocket.
In comparison, if you stick to the produce section of the supermarket and choose real foods, you will be fuelling your body with nutrients and the earth’s powerful sun energy. The foods I am talking about haven’t been contrived in a factory or augmented with flavours or fillers, yet they are the most delicious foods we can eat.
Plants like these (think beets, avocado, sweet potato, and kale) are the key to leading a healthier lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean eating nothing but lettuce leaves for the rest of your life. It also does it mean you have to become a vegan or vegetarian either. These healthy foods can be added into meals so easily that before you know it, you won’t even realize that you have doubled or tripled your intake.
London-based wellness expert Calgary Avansino explains why eating plant-based is good for you. (Photo: Calgary Avansino)
So, how can we go about making changes to our lives to become more plant-based?
Change the way you think. When deciding what to eat for dinner, we need to put plants at the centre of our plate. Decide which vegetables you want to eat, fill 70% of your plate with these, and then add in good grains and lean meats (if you’re not vegetarian) as the other 30%.
Go meatless. For your next move, start observing Meatless Mondays. Make a commitment to plants one day every week and work up from there. Get inspired with a new plant-based cookbook and hit the kitchen.
Snack on plants. Think about ways to incorporate plants into your meals at times other than dinner. For example, throw a handful of spinach or kale in with your morning scramble, add another handful in your green smoothie, bake some kale chips to have as a snack, take some pumpkin seeds, or roast some vegetables to mix in with your lunchtime salad.
Start in the veggie aisle. When you go food shopping, start your trip in the vegetable section. Fill your cart with everything you fancy eating and try to buy one new ingredient each trip.
We need to ditch the sea of processed foods that have been created to tempt us into a life of high sugar consumption and instead start eating more food that rots. Vibrant, alive food is what we need to be eating. Let Earth Day be your inspiration to honor yourself and our earth by giving plant-based eating a try.