A plant-forward diet is different from a strictly plant-based diet. Plant-forward diets start by including more plant-based foods and fewer animal ones in your everyday eating. While those choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle would not want to follow this diet, plant-forward eating doesn’t mean you need to shun meat entirely. It’s really about adding meatless meals to your meal plan and replacing some meats with more whole grains, nuts, seeds, lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables.
A high intake of animal protein is linked to heart disease, many cancers, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Animal protein is the hardest food for our bodies to digest. When our diets have too much rich, fatty meat and not enough fruits and vegetables, we don’t produce enough stomach acid to break it all down properly. Our digestive system, in turn, can’t adequately operate and we end up with conditions like acid reflux, heartburn, etc.
By simply decreasing the amount of animal protein you eat, you can drastically improve your digestion and gut health. The plant-forward diet is not about cutting animal protein completely from your diet. It’s about your diet predominantly consisting of raw leafy greens, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, and whole grains – while making sure that your animal protein intake is lessened. What animal protein you do eat should be good quality clean meats, eggs, and dairy. This week, try adding one meatless meal a day into your meal plan and see what benefits you begin to notice.