Plant-Based Nutrition? What’s That All About?
I choose a vegan whole-foods not only because of the many proven health benefits (like reducing the risk of cancer, ageing well and maintaining an optimal weight), and how they alleviate the symptoms of PMS, but also because plant-based nutrition fits with my conscience and my beliefs about the environment and animal welfare. I believe plant-based diets are healthier for people, for animals, and for the planet – and you don’t have to go vegan or be 100% plant-based to enjoy the benefits.
But it’s definately been a journey in stages. And from talking to people, this is often the case when people start taking better care of their health and eating consciously, either because of health issues or or just getting older and looking after themselves more.
From Vegetarian to Vegan and PMS-free (mostly!)
I was a vegetarian from the age 18 when I left home. But that sort of diet didn’t much help my PMS which was awful in my twenties when I was also going out a lot, drinking, and dealing with the stress of finding my way in the world. (You can find out more about my experience of PMS on the About Me page).
It was adopting a diet rich in essential fatty acids (Omega 3, in particular), plant-based proteins, fruits, seeds and vegetables (‘Five a Day’ is not nearly enough, by the way) in place of overprocessed bread, cheese and sweet things, that put me on the right path.
The findings from The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University in New York State, a large-scale, multi-country study about the connection between animal-based foods and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, also had a big impact on me.
Plant-based Nutrition is Hormone-Friendly Nutrition
For me, a plant-based diet high in fruits, vegetables, seeds, good fats and some grains, provides high quality protein, complex carbohydrates and essential fatty acids, and is the cleanest, greenest, healthiest and most ethical way of eating. It has significantly improved my PMS and that of other women I know who’ve tried it, and I feature plant-based foods in my blog posts. (Select Hormone-Friendly Nutrition from the Categories menu to see all relevant articles).
So it would be odd if I didn’t throw in some encouragement for you to try eating more plant-based foods too, wouldn’t it?
Is PMS Warrior Just For Vegans Then?
No – far from it! It’s for every woman battling Premenstrual Syndrome (and hopefully even some men who want to understand PMS better).
Everyone is different and everyone makes their own food choices. All of my nutritional suggestions are based on mainstream scientific evidence, but if you also like some of my suggestions for hormone-friendly recipes – and these also happen to be vegan – I’ll be cock-a-hoop. But you can pick and choose, experiment, and see what works for you. You don’t have to become a vegan; maybe just try some plant-based meals and increase your intake of non-animal based foods, and see how you feel.
I love food, love cooking and love eating, and many’s the time I’ve shared tasty healthy food with people, and not only have they not complained that there was no meat etc, they haven’t even noticed! So don’t be afraid to try a different way of eating.
An Introduction to Plant-Based Foods
If you’re wondering whether you can really be healthy on a vegan diet, the video below features two women – a dietitian employed in the NHS and a new mum – talking about how they feel eating only plant-based foods.
You can also watch other people – including a chef, a marathon runner, a poet, an environmentalist and a Member of Parliament – talking about their vegan choices in the rest of the Making The Connection film on The Vegan Society’s website.
And why not also check out The Vegan Society’s straightforward nutrition guidelines.
Happy healthy eating! I hope you enjoy the power of plants – for both your general health, and your PMS