Diabetes Corner: Should you follow a plant-based diet?

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2014 at 8:10 am.


Plant-based diets are in, but are they right for you? If you suffer from, or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, or if you need to lose weight … the answer may be yes. Why? An article in Diabetic Living magazine (Spring 2014) entitled, “Should you go vegetarian?” by Hope Warsaw, RDN, CDE, sites a number of studies that have shown real success with weight-loss and a decrease in A1C and LDL (bad) cholesterol in vegans.

Sharon Palmer, RD, dietitian and author of The Plant-Powered Diet, is quoted as saying, “Study after study has tightly linked eating a plant-based diet with decreasing a number of chronic diseases — type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain cancers.” The article goes on with: “The common denominators are chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. Both problems, which are interrelated, appear to diminish with a plant-based eating plan.”

Bottom line: Everyone can benefit by including more vegetables, fruits, and plant proteins in their diets without drastically changing their diets. Giving more attention to a plant-based diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You can still reap enormous benefits by consuming a mostly plant-based diet and cutting back on animal proteins, without entirely eliminating them. Mark Bittman’s latest book and companion cookbook VB6: Eat Vegan before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health for Good and The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night are good examples of how this can be done.

Following is a list of books that will give you more information about plant-based diets and cookbooks that can help you fit more veggies and plant-based proteins into your life. These cookbooks have terrific recipes, even if you are not vegan!

Some of the best plant-based books we’ve discovered include:

The Plant-Powered Diet, by Sharon Palmer, RD

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health, by T. Colin Campbell

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, by Gene Stone

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet, by Alona Pulda,, MD, Matthew Lederman, MD, and Marah Stets, MD

The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds, by Rip Esselstyn

Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet, by Brenda Davis

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, by Julieanna Hicks

Some excellent vegan cookbooks we love:

Forks Over Knives The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year, by Del Soufre

Books by Isa Chandra Moskowtiz, especially her lastest Isa Does It! Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of The Week

Books by Robin Robertson, especially Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy Home-style Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out, by Angela Liddon

The Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes, by Lindsay S. Nixon

The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes, by LeAnne Campbell

Thrive Energy Cookbook: 150 Plant-Based Whole Food Recipes, by Brendan Brazier

Straight from the Earth: Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone, by Myra Goodman

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