“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” –Michael Pollan
It’s a simple statement but putting it into action can be challenging. The plant-based diet is getting more attention these days as films like “Forks Over Knives” and “Food Inc” bring the diet, or I prefer to say, “lifestyle” to mainstream audiences.
Why is plant-based eating taking root in people’s lives?
Films and media coverage of well-known actors and even a former President (Bill Clinton) who are going completely vegan or eating a mostly plant-based diet may be influencing Americans to finally be more aware of the need to change their Standard American Diet or SAD food they’re eating.
The main benefits of going plant-based are the ability to lower your blood pressure, averting or slowing cancer, weight loss, anti-aging, and having more energy.
But some argue you can’t be strong on a plant-based diet. Do you remember Popeye and the green fuel that made his muscles pop?
The creators of Popeye may have chosen spinach as the super food because of a mistake made by German chemist, Erich von Wolf. In the 1800s, he discovered that spinach is a good source of iron— 3-5 milligrams per 100-gram serving— but inadvertently recorded it as 35 milligrams which would be like eating a paperclip. This error wasn’t uncovered until 1937, seventy years later, according to Samuel Arbesman, who noted the error and the connection between spinach and Popeye in his book The Half-Life of Facts.
However, English criminologist Mike Sutton argues the “decimal point theory”, saying spinach was actually chosen by Popeye creators because of its Vitamin A content.
Either way, U.S. consumption of spinach then increased by a third.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and Popeye types are still promoting green diets.
One of the strongest men alive is Patrick Baboumian who is known for his strength and plant-based diet. He became a vegetarian in 2005. In 2009 he went vegan. In 2013, he lifted more than 1,200 pounds on his shoulders and carried it for 10 meters. That’s like giving a large horse a piggyback ride.
If you’re considering a plant-based diet, start with the addition vs. subtraction method. Start by adding more whole vegetables, fruits, and nuts and gradually replacing dairy, meat, and processed foods.
Phoebe Chongchua lives in Carmel Valley. She’s an author, writer, certified yoga teacher, and plant-based specialist. She helps people live well and follow a plant-based diet. Visit ThePlantBaseDiet.com to download a free 7-day meal plan.