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Reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without being a strict vegan!

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Sharon Palmer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist known as The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ and I discussed the wide spectrum of vegetarian diets. You don’t have to be a strict vegan or vegetarian to reap the health benefits of a plant-based diet. In this blog transcript of our 2nd of 4 YouTube videos, we talked about the different types of vegetarian diets and how flexible you can be with what fits your needs best.

Here is the transcript. To watch the video, scroll to bottom or click here.

Neily: Sharon Palmer, author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today and I were talking about her inspiration and why she wrote the book. I wanted to talk about the levels of vegetarians—it’s interesting to know the broad spectrum that people can be when it comes to plant and animal products.
Sharon: Right. That is an interesting point because there is a broad spectrum. The definition of a plant-based diet is one that focuses on plant foods. That means you can still include moderate amounts of meats—but in America we are eating three times the global rate of meat. We really have some room for improvement. It’s really not that good for your health when eating that much meat because it’s high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. So by shifting a little bit more to a plant-based diet it could be something likeLevels of vegetarians having a vegetarian meal once a week like a meatless Monday. Also, it includes lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, which would be diets that include dairy products and eggs. And then, the very far side of the spectrum would be a vegan diet, which means no animal foods whatsoever. No dairy, no eggs, just plant foods.
Neily: I teach, and I’ve told my students that I am a flexitarian. I eat mostly a plant-based diet but I will eat some red meat occasionally. So, people don’t have to be 100% meatless. You say there are some benefits from moving from one level to another?
Sharon: That’s correct. In fact some recent studies show that if you went to a completely non-vegetarian diet where you eat a Western-style diet with large amounts of meat and shifted to a semi-vegetarian diet where you are reducing your meat and eating a couple of plant based meals during the week you can reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and lower your cholesterol level. So I think that is a great option for those who don’t want to give it up all together. Often we think, “what’s for dinner” and we think chicken or fish or beef. Sometimes we should start thinking of the vegetable or the whole grain.Even the dietary guidelines in the USDA, the recent recommendation is that three-fourths of your plate should be plant foods. So even that supports this whole message of eating more plant-based meals.
Neily: Right, exactly—great messages. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video with Sharon Palmer.

Special thanks to Monica Parodi, RDN for transcribing this video when she was my intern last summer!

Make sure to not miss my next two transcribed videos with Sharon by signing up for my blog postings to the right! →  Or if you just can’t wait, watch them on the Neily on Nutrition YouTube channel.

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