Whole foods

Spring Chickpea Salad

Healthy Planet is back with @sabrinavirdee and dropping yet another healthy recipe for the family. The ultimate side dish or a stand alone star, the Spring Chickpea Salad can be used in any setting! Lunch, dinner or a snack, you choose! #livelifehealthy⁣ Spring Chickpea Salad⁣Serves 4-6⁣INGREDIENTS⁣1 can of Kidney Beans drained and rinsed⁣1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed⁣1 can Corn drained (fresh corn if possible)⁣1 can of Chickpeas drained and rinsed ⁣½  Red Bell Pepper diced⁣½  Orange Bell Pepper diced⁣½ medium Red Onion finely diced⁣½ cup fresh Cilantro finely chopped ⁣2 Jalapenos seeded and finely chopped  (optional⁣)1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar ⁣¼ cup Olive Oil ⁣½ tsp Sea Salt⁣¼ tsp ground Black Pepper⁣   ⁣DIRECTIONS⁣1. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Taste and adjust as necessary until the flavors really pop—I usually add another teaspoon or two of vinegar.2. Cover and chill to marry the flavors—preferably overnight or at least 2 hours. Serve in individual bowls as is, or with a protein of choice!⁣⁣OTHER FUN WAYS TO ENJOY! ⁣1. Top with avocado’s for some healthy fats ⁣2. Pile it onto nachos or serve it as black bean salsa with tortilla chips.⁣3. Use it as a filling for burritos or quesadillas (leaving as much of the liquid behind as possible)⁣   Recipe created by: @sabrinavirdee

Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie!⁣⁣The change of season is here! Longer days, warmer temperatures and a sense that the world is slowly getting back on schedule. @sabrinavirdee is rolling out a delicious treat that can be enjoyed anytime of the day. By adding natural ingredients along with a bit of love, you will be cooling down in no time with a cold smoothie in hand! Add Kaizen Naturals Vanilla Protein Powder and help build muscle, repair tissue! Check out past recipes to put together a full day of eating, snacking and enjoying time with your loved ones and friends! #livelifehealthy⁣⁣Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie⁣Serves 1⁣INGREDIENTS ⁣1½ cups Frozen Mango ⁣½ cup Frozen Pineapple ⁣½ cup Coconut Milk ⁣1 tsp Turmeric Powder⁣1 cup of Cold Water⁣1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder *optional ⁣⁣DIRECTIONS1. Add all your ingredients into your blender and mix until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. Add more water for desired thickness! Enjoy!⁣ Recipe created by: @sabrinavirdee

Maple Crumb Harvest Salad

  Welcome back to my little corner of foodie love! For those of you who are checking in for the first time, let me introduce myself. My name is Cass, I am a Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with creating wholesome, healthy and nutritious recipes to share with friends and family. I have been fortunate enough to team up with Healthy Planet to share my love for creating (and eating) nutritious favourites for you and the rest of the Health & Wellness Community. I hope you love these recipes as much as we do! Let me know what you think in the comment section and enjoy! Fall is here to STAY! If you’re looking for ways to incorporate seasonal flavours into your dishes then look no further, you have found it. My Roasted Squash Harvest Salad happens to be the perfect lunch or side dish to add with any meal. This may seem like a complex dish, but it is seriously so easy to prep and everything can be done while the squash is roasting in the oven. Perfect! Created with mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes, celery, red onions, quinoa and lastly the star of the show, roasted White Swan Squash dusted with my signature pecan-walnut “cheese” crumb topping! I know some people steer clear from the squash family because they are not an easy vegetable to prep, but trust me when I say, it’s all worth it in the end. Squash can make any Fall dish come to life. My Favourite part are the different varieties of squash to choose from and the many ways you can incorporate them into your meals!  Salads can get a bad rep because we tend to eat themprepared the same way Every. Single. Time!! Well, this is it, no more boring salads! My Harvest Salad is the perfect seasonal dish and sure to leave you feeling satisfied. As long as you have a leafy green, healthy fats, protein, colour and crunch…you can make any salad fun.  The Maple Crumb Harvest Salad is loaded with delicious Autumn flavours and is packed with tons of nutrients. My favourite part? The orange-maple-walnut dressing and pecan-walnut crumb topping. Seriously, who doesn’t love the sound of that? Convincing the family to eat their greens has never been easier!    Maple Squash Prep 2 white swan squash (or a similar squash), cut in halves, peeled and seeded (pictured squash is not peeled – but can be easily peeled off after baking)   4 tbsp EVOO  3 tbsp Canadian maple syrup    1. Preheat oven to 400 F 2. Mix EVOO and maple syrup in a small bowl and glaze over the squash halves 3. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until tender throughout 4. Cut each squash into thinner wedges to place on top of the salad Orange-Maple Walnut Dressing   ½ cup walnuts   ¼ cup Canadian maple syrup  4 tbsp EVOO 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar ½ tsp each: ground black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice   1. Combine all ingredients except EVOO in a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined, ensuring the walnuts are pureed and no longer chunky. 2. Add EVOO through the feeding tube while food processor is still running 3. Add 1 tbsp water at a time if needed to reach desired consistency 4. Transfer to glass jar and store in the fridge    "Cheesy" Pecan-Walnut Crumb ¼ cup walnut  ¼ cup pecan 4 tbsp hemp seeds  2 tbsp nutritional yeast ½ tbsp. garlic powder ¼ tsp sea salt   1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulsate. Make sure not to over pulse as we don’t want the            mixture to form a flour-like consistency, rather chunky/crumby 2. Transfer crumb topping into a bowl 3. Coat each squash piece in the bowl with the bowl, making sure one side of the squash is covered with crumb topping.    Salad Prep Washed Mixed Greens (enough for 6 people) 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (follow directions on box to cook)  1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion 1/4 cup chopped celery sea salt and ground black pepper to taste   In a large mixing bowl, add your washed greens, diced red onion, chopped celery, dressing, room tempeture quinoa, sea salt and ground black pepper to taste, toss and coat lightly. Start with less dressing and ad more if needed. Once your greens are coated, transfer to your favourite salad dish ( a long narrow serving dish works best for presentation, but any salad dish will do). Once transfered, coat 1 side of your roasted squash with the "cheesy" crump up and lay length wise! Add a few pinches of the crumb to the top of the salad for an extra crunch!    Follow @healthyplanet for more Health and Wellness Recipes from yours truly! You can also follow me @the_nourishingproject for past Health and Wellness Recipes! Happy Harvest, from yours truly! The Nourishing Project    

Almond Hemp Energy Balls

Almond Hemp Energy Balls? Yes please! On the go treat that will energize you all day? We got it.  Packed with superfoods and high in protein, these Energy Balls will keep you energized and on the move all day feeling healthy and complete. Healthy Planet Ambassador  marissaliana shared with us one of her favourite Fitness snack recipes, AMAZING Almond Hemp Energy Balls. Super fast and easy to prepare, this is the energy ball you will be craving pre and post workout. Combine hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond butter and  protein powder together for what will quickly become your new favorite post workout snack. Find what drives you and fuel it with a heart healthy and nutritious treat made with love. #lifelivehealthy Almond Hemp Energy Balls Ingredients: 1/2 cup Organic Traditions Raw Almond Butter 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds 4 tbsp Prana Chia Seeds 1 overly ripe banana 2 scoops Vega Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder (70g) 2 tbsp Shady Maple Farms MapleS 6 tbsp Giddy YoYo Dark Chocolate Chips   How to prepare Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Roll into golf ball sized balls and store in freezer for best texture. Let thaw for 5 minutes before eating and enjoy!   Put together your favourite Energy Ball recipe, tag @healthyplanet on Instagram and show us what keeps you going! Use the Healthy Planet hashtag #livelifehealthy and we will share your recipe with our followers! Keep spreading the love!

Vegan Curried Sweet Potato Bisque Recipe

Soup season is here! And you guessed it…we have a great addition to the soup game. Creating a Curried Vegan Sweet Potato Bisque is going to warm your soul and fuel you all at the same time. Curry is one of the most versatile spices in the kitchen, and we are putting it to good use combining sweet potato, spices, coconut milk and more. Soups recipes can be very secretive. A certain dash of this or that can completely change flavour profile. Alas, we are here to give you the full rundown on what is certainly one of our favourite winter soups, Curried Sweet Potato Bisque. Super simple to make and a for sure hit with loved ones on a cold winter day. The spices will have your body fully warmed up and ready for another round on the toboggan. Ingredients: 4 sweet potatoes 2 cans organic coconut milk 1 ½ white onions 4 cloves garlic 1 tbsp Yellow Curry (add more pending on your taste) 1 tsp Nigella 1 tsp Garam Masala (add more pending on your taste) 1 tsp Turmeric (add more pending on your taste) 1 tsp Salt (add more pending on your taste) 1 tsp Pepper (add more pending on your taste) 1 tbsp Xtra virgin olive oil Large baking sheet pan Soup pot Vitamix (blender)   We always recommend you start your cooking with a clean and sanitary space. Cleaning the space and allowing time to prep the ingredients beforehand will make for a less hectic cooking experience. Leaving much more time to enjoy the process of creating a loving and fulfilling meal for you and loved ones.   Directions: 1. Start by peeling and preparing all your vegetables. Peeling and dicing sweet potatoes, peeling and dicing your white onions, also removing the skins of the garlic. 2. Toss your sweet potato and garlic with ½ tbsp of Xtra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Lay out over the baking sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 C ).  3. While roasting the sweet potato and garlic, heat your soup pot just above medium heat. Add the rest of your Xtra virgin olive oil and your onions and cook till they get translucent. 4. Now that you have successfully sweat your onions add your sweet potatoes and garlic after they have roasted. Add your spice’s ( turmeric, garam masala, nigella, yellow curry) stir the spice’s and vegetables together thoroughly. 5. Add your coconut milk and turn heat down to low. Stir every so often to keep from the bottom burning. Cook until sweet potatoes are soft. Taste every once in a while and add more spice if desired. 6. The next step is when you pull it all together and create the bisque! Grab your Vitamix (blender) and add about half the bisque (vegetables included) into your Vitamix. Blend till it becomes a soup like consistency. Once you have finished that, add the rest of your soup to the mix and blend entirely. Add vegetable stock to adjust the thickness. Garnish with something crunchy or some freshly chopped green onion! Sit back, fill your cup, sip and enjoy. Full of flavor our warm and loving Curried Vegan Sweet Potato Bisque is perfect for the cold weather and hungry bellies. Let us know what you think and show us your Bisque by tagging us on Instagram, #healthyplanet.

Herb de Provence Roasted Root Vegetables

We all love the abundance of Summer and all the delicious vegetables that come along with it. What happens when the Winter months creep in and pull all the organic vegetables off the shelf? Well…..we are left with a lot of Root Vegetables. Packed with heaps of Carbohydrates, starches and sugars, Root Vegetables are a staple during the cold Winter months and imperative to fueling us until warmer weather arrives. Here is one of our favourite ways to prepare Root Vegetables that can accompany any dish during the cold Winter months or stand alone and be a nutritious snack after a long day on the mountain. Simple, easy, fast and healthy! Root vegetables and Herbs de Provence are a match made in heaven. A mixture of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and lavender, Herbs de Provence is one of the most aromatic and often used spices in the French countryside. A perfect pairing! src="https://www.healthyplanetcanada.com/media/home/healthyplanet/shared/media/wysiwyg/IMG_2411.jpg" alt="" />"}}" alt=""1280" /> Ingredients: 10 cups of chopped and peeled Root Vegetables (our favourite: Carrot, Turnip, Fingerling Potato, Parsnip, Garlic, Pearl Onions, Sweet Potato, Radish). For best results, try chopping the potato and carrot smaller. This will allow for all the deliciousness to cook evenly. ¼ cup of olive oil 3 tsp Herb de Provence Salt and Pepper to taste We always recommend you start your cooking with a clean and sanitary space. Cleaning the space and allowing time to prep the ingredients beforehand will make for a less hectic cooking experience. Leaving much more time to enjoy the process of creating a loving and fulfilling meal for you and loved ones. Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. In a small bowl, add your spices, salt, pepper, olive oil and mix well. 3. In a large mixing bowl, add your Root Vegetables and seasoned oil and mix. Make sure to coat well. 4. Add your vegetable mix into a large roasting pan. Make sure it is large enough to space the vegetables out so they all cook evenly and crisp up nicely. 5. Roast for 30 minutes while periodically stirring the vegetables. An excellent side dish to any meal, a tasty mid day snack, or a great way to start the day along with a fried egg, this Roasted Root Vegetable recipe will fill your soul with love and gratitude and fill your belly with deliciousness. Enjoy! We love sharing our recipes with you guys. Roast up some Root Vegetables this winter and show us what you pair them with! Tag us @HealthyPlanet on Instagram and show us what you got!

Healthy Planet New Year Resolution

Tis the season to embrace your family and loved ones. Your time is occupied by holiday parties, friend's gathering and surrounding yourself with family. It’s a chance to immerse yourself into the holiday spirit and leave behind the stress of daily life and the issues that come with it. While we mask the not so positive parts of ourselves during the holidays to keep up a positive and festive mood around others, doing so can lead to increased stress and anxiety. This can make way for excessive eating and sometimes deepen an already depressed state of mind. Taking care of your mind and body during the holiday season is of utmost importance not just for you, but those around you as well. With the New Year quickly approaching, we all know what comes when the big hand strikes Midnight. A laundry list of how we are going to improve our Health and Wellness in the upcoming year. Resolutions like increased time in the gym, adapting to an organic diet or making a pact to spend more time with nature are popular with the health and wellness lifestyle. Healthy Planet is here to help assist you in being the best version of yourself.Here is a list of some of our favourite New Year Resolutions and how we can help reach your goals! Digestion Health: Change of Diet Resolution: We an all overindulge in food and sweets over the Holidays. Here are some of our favourite products that will help realign both your gut health and digestive health for the New Year. Genuine Health Probiotic Gut Health - Benefiting both skin health, digestive health and immunity. Start your New Year building a defense in your gut against bloating and weak digestion. New Roots Digestive Enzyme - Get more energy from your food while helping increase vitamin and mineral absorption from foods. Helping with digestion, boating and gas, give a little love to your Gut Health with the arrival of the New Year. Traditional Medicinals Eater's Digest Peppermint Tea- This Kosher, Non GMO, Organic, after dinner tea is perfect for occasional indigestion and soothing a full belly. Let’s be serious, who doesn’t love a cup of tea after dinner. Dry Winter Weather: Spend More TIme In Nature Resolution Spending more time in nature can bring a sense of calmness following the busy holiday season. Dedicating more time walking and exploring the outdoors can be a fun way to enter the New Year feeling invigorated and fresh. Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm - Winter months can be harsh and cold. Increased time spent exploring outside will leave you cracked and dry. Absorb the benefits of Shea Butter, Arnica and Cajaput Oil. Dr. Bronner Lip Balm Peppermint - Keep your lips from getting chapped with a classic. Support proper moisturizing of your lips over the cold months into spring. All organic and all love, Dr. Bronner should be a staple for everyone this New Year. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Lemon Echinacea Tea - Heating up with a warm and comforting Tea after enjoying a walk in the park in the Winter months is the perfect treat. Organic, Non GMO, Kosher and Fair Trade. Gym Supplements: Joining Gym Resolution One of the top New Year Resolutions is joining the gym. We always promote self care and improving your body at Healthy Planet. Allmax ISONatural - Gluten free and formulated with probiotics to improve intestinal microflora, Allmax protein technology is a great addition to any training regiment. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Go into your workout fully energized and ready to build your best self empire. Increase your endurance while raising your menta focus and recovery time. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood - Complete raw food with powerful antioxidants, Organic, Raw, Gluten Free, Natural, support your body while you train it to be the best it can be. Going Organic: Going Organic Resolution The Organic movement has made huge strides in the last few years. With the public understanding the importance of healthy and pesticide-free produce and products, trading in your processed foods and items for Organic will be an easy transition. Organic Traditions Sprouted Quinoa - Full of protein and incredibly versatile in the kitchen, quinoa is one of the easier proteins to fuel your body for the New Years challenges. Organic Traditions is one of our favourite Organic brands on the market. Prana Organic Cashews - Known to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and lower the risk of diabetes, Prana Organic Cashews are some of the best Organic nuts on the market. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts - An easy way to add omegas, protein and fibre straight into your diet, Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts are free of any additives or preservatives. A healthy and organic addition to your New Year Goals. Going Cruelty Free: Cruelty Free Beauty Self Care Resolution One of the most popular and fastly growing New Year Resolutions/Movements is jumping on board the Cruelty Free Cosmetics and Self Care. We are proud to carry all Cruelt ...

Vegan Red Lentil Dahl Recipe

Cold Weather always brings a desire for a hearty and healthy meal. Winter months can be long and cruel for those who long for the warmth of the sun on their cheeks. Our one escape from the cold….can be food. We are sharing one of favourite recipes to warm you from the inside out on the coldest of days: Red Lentil Dahl. A staple in Indian Cousin, this recipe can be served alongside Jasmine rice or in addition to other delicious Indian dishes. Full of flavor, spice and depth, the best part of this dish is it is totally vegan and gluten free. Our favourite part is how easy it is to make a large batch and freeze. This will allow for a quick and healthy snack or a meal for another day. When everyone’s belly is full, portion out the rest for a quick and simple grab from the freezer. Red Lentil Dahl easily stores up to 3 Months in a freezer and just as delicious when brought back to life and heated up. Ingredients: 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil 2 onions diced 3 garlic cloves finely chopped 1 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated ½ finely chopped red chilli (or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes) ½ tsp cumin seeds ½ tsp coriander seeds ½ tsp mustard seeds 2 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp garam masala 200 g (1 cup) dried red lentils, uncooked (rinsed and drained) 1 can chopped tomatoes 250 ml (1 cups) vegetable stock 250 ml (1 cup) coconutmilk  Salt and pepper to taste We always recommend you start your cooking with a clean and sanitary space. Cleaning the space and allowing time to prep the ingredients beforehand will make for a less hectic cooking experience. Leaving much more time to enjoy the process of creating a loving and fulfilling meal for you and loved ones. Directions: 1. Heat your pan and saute your onions till they are transparent, once reached, add your garlic and finely chopped red chili (or chili flakes). 2. Grab your mortar and pestle and gently grind your cumin seed and mustard seed. 3. Add your cumin, mustard, turmeric and garam masala to the pan. Stir and cook for 1 minute. 4. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, veggie stock and red lentils to the pan. Stir thoroughly and lower heat to just a simmer. 5. Check every 5 minutes and stir, cooking should last 15-20 minutes. 6. Check your Red Lentil Dahl for flavor and add more spice if you want to kick it up a notch! If needed, follow the instructions before adding ( cumin seed and mustard seed need to be ground first). 7. Transfer the Red Lentil Dahl to your favourite serving bowl and squeeze half a lemon into the dish to brighten the flavour profile. Make certain you catch the seeds of the lemon while squeezing! Here you have it! One of favourite Winter dishes! Easy and fast to make and FULL of flavor. Make certain to have a bowl of Jasmine rice at the table to accompany the Dahl. Add a simple green salad to cut through the heartyness of the lentils. Add your Red Lentil Dahl to multiple Indian dishes and take a culinary trip around India. Incredibly versatile and sure to fill everyone at the table, Red Lentil Dahl will be a go to dish for you and your loved ones! We love sharing our recipes with you and would LOVE to see how they come out! Tag us @HealthyPlanet on Instagram and show us your creations!

Eating Organic: The Benefits and the Basics

Over the last several years, we have seen a rise in demand for organic foods. While we have become more health conscious and environmentally focused, the benefits of eating organic foods have become more top of mind. The Benefits of Eating Organic By choosing to eat organic, you help support sustainable farming practices that focus on conserving soil health and water. Organic farmers avoid the use of inorganic pesticides and herbicides, and instead, use renewable resources to grow their crops. By comparison, conventional pesticides often include fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Choosing organic food can also help decrease your cumulative exposure to synthetic chemicals and heavy metals such as copper [1] [2]. Of course, organic foods are not always free of toxins and they can still be unhealthy, especially if eaten to excess. For example, some foods such as organic brown rice may contain undesirable levels of arsenic [3]. How to Identify Organics In Canada, Canadian Organic Regulations (COR) require that foods labelled “organic” contain at least 95% of organic ingredients. Many smaller growers can’t afford to get organic certification, however, which is why it’s so great to be able to talk to local growers at the farmers market and actually ask them about their farming practices. If you’re shopping at the grocery store, you can look for the organic aisle and organic labels on fruits and vegetables, as well as on non-dairy milks, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and other pantry staples. Organic vs. Conventionally Grown There are several theories as to why organic produce may have higher nutrient levels than those grown conventionally. One such theory supposes that because pesticides defend plants against certain pests and predators, conventionally grown plants have less motivation to create substances that would protect them naturally. Many of these substances are chemicals that have positive benefits for our own health. For example, researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science found that carrots fertilized with fresh compost farmyard manure (an organic fertilizer) produce the most polyacetylenes [4]. Polyacetylenes are chemicals found in carrots that have demonstrated an ability to trigger the death (apoptosis) of leukemia cells [5]. Other foods and herbs that contain polyacetylenes include panax ginseng, celery, and parsnips [5] [6]. Of course, these plants don’t produce these chemicals to fight leukemia cells. Instead, polyacetylenes discourage insects from eating the plants. They also have activity against certain bacteria and viruses that affect the plants. As it happens, the highest levels of polyacetylenes and many other protective nutrients are found in the skin (peel) of fruits and vegetables, where they are most needed. Given that it is usually recommended to peel conventionally grown fruits and vegetables to minimize pesticide intake, this may mean missing out much of these helpful nutrients. Why Choose Organic? Although more research needs to be done to determine any direct health benefits of organic foods versus conventionally grown foods, there are already plenty of reasons to choose organic: Better conditions for workers who grow and pick organic foods Reduced environmental impact from these foods More sustainable growing practices for better food security long term Remember though, eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is still better than eating no fresh produce at all! References: [1] Jarup, L. (2003). Hazards of Heavy Metal Contamination. Br Med Bull, 68, 167-82. [2] Curl, C.L., Beresford, S.A., Fenske, R.A., et al. (2015). Estimating perticide exposure from dietary intake and organic food choices: the Multi-Ethnic study of Atheroschlerosis. EnvironHealth Perspect, 123(5) 475-83. [3] Jackson, B.P. (2012). Organic foods and brown rice syrup. Environ Health Perspect, 120, 623-6 [4] Kjellenberg, L., Johansson, E., Gustavsson, K-E., et al. (2016). Influence of organic manures on carrot (Daucus carota L.) crops grown in a long-term field experiment in Sweden. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 31, pp 258-268. [5] Zidorn, C., Jöhrer, K., Ganzera, M., et al. (2005). Polyacetylenes from the Apiaceae vegetables carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, and paresip, and their cytotoxic activities. J Agric Food Chem, 53(7), 2518-23. [6] Matsunaga, H., Katano, M., Yamamoto, H., et al. (1990). Cytotxic activity of polyacetylene compounds in Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo), Dec; 38(12), 3480-2.    

5 Quick Benefits You’ll See By Switching to Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet

For years we’ve been told fruits and veggies were good for us. We now look at broccoli and spinach with a bit more gratitude than we did as children when most of us were forced to eat them before leaving the dinner table. While most of us would certainly love to get by with eating desserts and sugary sweets to stay healthy, we know that health doesn’t work that way. Fruits and vegetables keep our bodies from getting sick and keep us from becoming overweight and sluggish. But the benefits of plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables go way beyond keeping us slim and illness-free. They’re also the key ingredients to approaching a healthier lifestyle choice: a plant-based diet. Why a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet Works Numerous studies show that a plant-based diet provides the body with enough protein, quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Besides the fact that everyone should take a B12 supplement (plant-based or not), a plant-based diet has no short-comings in serving up dietary needs. It’s filling, nutritious, and so versatile that it can be customd designed to fit any lifestyle or culinary preference. The key is to eat a whole foods plant-based diet, not a processed vegan version. Many processed foods can make up your diet and still be vegan, but going that route won’t serve your health as best as eating simple whole foods and turning them into tasty meals. Giving your body these whole food sources of nutrients like calcium, fiber, B vitamins,  magnesium, protein, Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, and potassium will keep your cells functioning exactly as they were meant to. They recognize whole foods as sources of energy to break down. Man-made foods require your body to have to decipher what they are supposed to do with them, use what they can and detoxify the rest. A diet heavy in animal-based and processed foods makes it harder on your body and makes you tired and often sick in the meantime. Benefits You’ll See From Making the Switch A longer life is most likely one of the best benefits you’ll see from making the switch, but short term, here are five that most everyone sees within a week or two of eating whole, plant-based foods. 1. Better Blood Sugar One of the most noticeable effects you’ll see from eating plant-based sources of protein (that are often rich in fiber) is better blood sugar levels. Animal foods contain IGF1 (insulin growth factor) which promotes higher blood sugar causing cravings, blood sugar swings, and often that shaky, moody feeling you get if you don’t eat something right away, or if you skip meals. Plant-based proteins don’t cause this. In fact, they do the opposite; they keep you full a long time and provide greater satiety. They also don’t spike your blood sugar. Contrary to belief, animal foods do raise blood sugar, even more so than some fruits or some starchy veggies. 2. Better Digestion Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans are all made of one similar ingredient: fiber. Fiber is the most essential nutrient for healthy blood sugar, digestion, and heart health combined. Products with refined sources of fiber added like processed crackers, etc. are not the best source. Whole foods, on the other hand, such as the foods mentioned above, are full of natural insoluble and soluble fiber to support digestion and regularity, along with keep you full. Their fiber breaks down more slowly, lowering blood sugar. This is one reason a low-fat (oil-free) plant-based diet is so effective at helping control diabetes.  Keep in mind that sometimes people go high-fiber too fast, which may cause a bit of digestive activity you may not be used to. If this happens, back off the beans just a bit and follow some other digestion tips to solve this simple issue. The good news is, your digestive system will work much better in no time and won’t have so much work to do! 3. More Energy Do you think your body would prefer to break down whole, living foods from the earth or the result of another living being (animal products.) Think of it this way: the less work your body has to do, the more energy it can provide you. When did eating animals become a natural way of life? We have all the foods we need for energy right at our finger tips. All plants are full of carbohydrates and fiber, plant-based protein that contains amino acids, healthy fats that benefit the metabolism, and vitamins and minerals that support the body. They energize us and keep our bodies from having to break down foods like animal products that have been linked to diabetes, cancer, and poor heart health. 4. Less Muscle Pain Animal foods are high in inflammatory properties. They’re acidic by nature and create an imbalance in our pH level that keep our body alkaline and free from pain and inflammation. Infl ...