To look and feel your best it is important to eat well, get plenty of exercise and drink at least 1-2 litres of water per day (eight glasses).
Each day you should have:
- 5 or more servings: fruit and vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables, orange vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit
- 3-4 servings: cereals and grains
Wholemeal pasta, brown rice, oats, wholemeal bread
- 2-3 servings: pulses
Peas, beans, lentils
- Small amounts: vegetable oil
Flaxseed or rapeseed oil (used cold) olive oil, margarine
- 1 or more servings: B12 fortified foods
Soya milk, breakfast cereal, yeast extract (eg Marmite)
By feeding your children a healthy, balanced diet you help establish good eating patterns for life.
A wealth of research shows that vegetarian and vegan children obtain all the protein, energy and vitamins they need. They eat less ‘bad’ fats and often more fibre, iron, folate the vital vitamins beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Benefits of cutting down on meat and dairy
Importantly for kids, plant based food eaters are:
- less likely to be obese
- have stronger immune systems
- less susceptible to everyday illnesses
- live 6-10 years longer
Cutting down on meat and dairy is a long-term lifestyle change rather than another quick-fix fad. People who eat a plant-based diet are usually lighter, slimmer and healthier than meat eaters, even though they eat the same amount of food per year.
Most overweight people shed pounds when they switch to a plant-based diet. Most importantly, losing weight this way ensures long term health. Research by the American Cancer Society on 75,000 people over a decade found that the one food most associated with weight gain was meat.
Numerous research studies have shown people who eat a plant-based diet are up to 20% (anywhere from six pounds to over two stones) slimmer than their meat-eating counterparts, i.e. compared to people of the same height, age and socioeconomic group, who smoke and exercise a similar amount.
Cut your cancer risk
Plant-based diets have been used to prevent cancer for over 150 years. By switching to meatless alternatives you will be halving your chance of getting cancer compared to the general population.
Cancer is caused by a number genetic mutations in DNA which are either inherited from your parents or acquired during your life. The chances of enough of these mutations occurring to cause cancer is largely affected by your lifestyle choices. By living a healthier life; not-smoking, eating well, getting plenty of exercise and avoiding environmental contaminants you can vastly reduce your risk of having enough genetic mutations to cause cancer.
Diabetics can benefit from a high-fibre, plant based diet.
Heavy meat eaters are nearly four times as likely to develop diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that diabetes is much less likely to be a cause of death in vegetarians than it is in meat eaters and puts it down to vegetarians’ higher intake of complex carbohydrates and the fact that they tend to be lighter.
Again, the science is consistent, that diabetes is up to 90 per cent higher in meat eating men and 40 per cent higher in women. Even allowing for the fact that vegetarians tend to be lighter than meat eaters, they still face less risk.
Veggie diets can be used to prevent and treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even reverse heart disease.
With all heart-related diseases, veggies suffer less than meat eaters – and the more meat you eat, the more likely you are to end up with clogged arteries. Research shows that an animal-free diet can heal damage to the arteries. A low-fat, vegetarian diet eaten for just a year can reverse blockages, resulting in improved blood flow.
Too good to be true?
We realise that the facts and figures quoted above sound incredible… because they are. See our references section for our list of books and peer-reviewed scientific publications.