Original Content by Carra Richling, Writer at Ornish Living Magazine. Available online at www.ornishliving.com
Pictured: Tasty plant-based meals created by alumni of ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine.
Believe it or not, the top food trend for 2018 might be a plant-based diet!
Today, Mintel reports that nearly a third of Americans are practicing meat-free days. Younger generations appreciate the reduced environmental impact, and older generations appreciate the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Between 2012 and 2016, sales of grocery store food and drink products labeled “vegetarian” increased by 25%. Products labeled “vegan” had an astonishing 257% rise. The trend also extends to our digital lives — Google searches for the word vegan increased by 90% in 2017.
But don’t think a plant-based lifestyle means making all your meals yourself! Many restaurants now offer a wide array of plant-based options. California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Ruby Tuesday’s, Denny’s, Chipotle, Subway, Quiznos and Taco Bell are just some of the nationwide chains with vegan and vegetarian offerings. Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs both offer vegan ice cream lines. And even fast food restaurants are jumping in on the trend - as McDonald’s recently introduced their new plant based burger.
And if you are a fan of making your own meals – switching to a plant-based diet no longer means giving up your favorite flavors. A wide array of vegan meat alternatives are now available at stores – including offerings from Beyond Meat, Gardein, Tofurky, and more.
Switching to a plant based diet may seem intimidating, but the benefits are certainly worth it. Research over the last thirty-five years by Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute has shown that the benefits of a plant based diet can include:
- Weight Loss
- Reduced Blood Sugar Levels
- Reduced Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
- Enchanced Libido
- Reduced Risks for Certain Forms of Cancer
A plant-based diet has the potential to reverse chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – particularly when paired with regular stress management and exercise. Next time you chow down on a delicious plant-based meal – you can feel content in knowing that you’re helping your heart, too.
For delicious Ornish-friendly recipes, visit our online recipes at https://www.ekahiornish.com/ohana/browse-recipes/. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ekahiornish, where we’ll regularly post delicious plant-based recipe ideas. Last but not least, look for the orange ‘Ekahi Ornish stickers on products at Down to Earth Organic & Natural for Ornish approved meals, snacks, and ingredients.
‘Ekahi Health, a member of the ‘ike family of companies (www.ikehawaii.com), is an innovative healthcare delivery organization that provides comprehensive community-based care focusing on primary care and prevention and wellness. It was the first organization to offer the Ornish program to the people of Hawaii.