Episode 33: Plant Based Diet

PYP 33 | Plant Based Lifestyle

 

As going plant-based is becoming more of a norm instead of a fad, you might have some questions on your mind that need some professional answers. Are you thinking of going vegan? Are you ready to change your whole lifestyle? Do you know which plants have processed food? If you are interested in this topic, then you've come to the right place. Join in as Haylie Pomroy answers your frequently asked questions about the plant-based lifestyle and veganism. Pick up some tips and new menus and learn how you can create your own plant-based diets the right way.

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Plant Based Diet

As you guys know, we have a very robust membership community. In that community, people ask me all kinds of questions. There's been a topic that's been, I guess I'd say the word up a lot lately, people have been talking a lot about my opinion, what I've seen clinically, or what I do personally about plant-based diets, about veganism, vegetarianism. What we did is we got it together, scoured our membership group and pulled some of the top questions that we get on a regular basis. I wanted to talk to you about plant-based diets and when and where to incorporate more vegetables. I'm going to tell you always what I've seen over my years of clinical practice, individuals that adopt completely vegan diets, plant-based diets, all of those good things. We got together as a team, and we pulled a couple of our top questions. I thought we'd have a good discussion about these subjects. Let's jump right in.

What Are The Most Common Motivations For Wanting To Add More Plant-Based Meals Into Their Diet?

One of the top questions that I get is, what are the most common motivations you see in my practice with people that are wanting to add more plant-based meals to their diet? What's the general motivation, or maybe the most common motivation? Both in our community and in my clinic, I would say, looking to do something to have a positive impact on their health. Typically, when people broach the subject in my practice about plant-based diets, we're looking at things like inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Maybe they've read something about a plant-based diet helping them to balance their body's pH or acid and alkalinity in the body.

I would say that those are probably the most common motivations. Definitely, there's the subject about methane gas pollution with heavily animal-based heating. There's a lot of data and information there. I have a degree in Animal Sciences in agriculture. We raise our own 100% grass-fed beef on our ranch in Colorado for our family and friends. Philosophically, I'm not a big proponent of factory farming. It seems that when people are coming into our community and into my clinics, their motivation is about putting power on their plate, doing the right thing to have a positive impact on their health or help you change your health trajectory. That's what I usually see as the primary catalyst and a very worthy one, in my opinion.

What Is Your Personal Philosophy On The Role Of Plant-Based Meals As Part Of A Balanced Diet?

The next question that my team came up with was, what is my personal philosophy on the role of plant-based meals as part of a balanced diet? In every single one of my programs, vegetables are unlimited. The more, the merrier. I always say the closer that you can get to the farmer, either growing them yourself or patting the farmer on the back that did, farmers market, local produce, those types of things are going to enrich the actual micronutrients that you put in your body. We're not just talking about the philosophy of plant-based diets, but how to actualize the concept that vegetables are good for you, how to actualize those results in your own metabolism. I believe heavily that all of us need to add more vegetables in our meals and our snacks. You will see that the more weight an individual is struggling losing or the more negative impact a disease or a health imbalance is making on the body, in all of my nutritional recommendations, the things that I up as far as a portion will be vegetables. I will have you double down on your spinach, carrots and broccoli.

In that though, there is a piece that I want to bring up. A lot of plant-based diets incorporate a lot of processed foods. That has a very negative impact on the concept of these phytonutrients in your plants. The positive phytochemicals in your plants have an anti-inflammatory, a digestive support proteolytic enzyme, the enzymes that reduce inflammation being nurtured in your body. When we start talking about process plant-based diets, we can see a lot of pro-inflammatory responses. This is especially true in situations where people are doing a lot of soy products or vegan products that have heating, processing and additives. A lot of times, there are chemicals in them. Be aware that if you choose to go vegan or plant-based, you're not substituting any foods with processed foods.

I would say, clinically and in our community, we see a lot of people that struggle with inflammation associated with a plant-based diet. Once we unveil what they're doing, when we start dissecting their meal maps and look at what they're putting on their plates, they're typically taking a plant and adulterating it with the processing process. I'll touch on soy a little bit. If you're going to do soy, fermented soy is typically utilized by the body more efficiently. It does not affect the prostaglandins or the anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory hormones as much. Personal philosophy, double down on your veggies. If you're going to be a vegan, make sure that you're doing a variety of raw and cooked veggies. The raw veggies will stimulate your enzymes and nutrients. The cooked veggies will help deliver nutrients a little more readily. Use a lot of herbs and spices. Chew your food and make sure that it's still food. Those are important.

PYP 33 | Plant Based Lifestyle

What Is The Number One Thing You Think People Should Understand When Deciding Whether A Fully Plant-Based Lifestyle Is Right For Them?

The next question, I think this is a fun one. What is the number one thing you think people should understand when deciding whether a fully plant-based lifestyle is right for them? I think the number one thing that I would say if a person's going to go 100% plant-based is I'm going to give you three things. I can never do one thing. I don't believe in a reductionistic approach to medicine. I don't believe in a reduction stick approach to nutrition, which is why we have so many different programs because you are a diverse biodynamic human being. Don't you ever forget that. Let me at least distill it down to three.

Number one, make sure that you are talking about truly whole plants and that you are incorporating a lot of roots, the body of the plant, leaf of the plant. There are nutrients in order to keep your amino acids specifically balanced and all of your enzymes. The variety in the source of the plant is very important. Do a lot of leafy greens. Do a lot of root vegetables. Edible flowers, the bloom of a plant, provides a very unique nutrient. I want to make sure that you are having diversity in that nutrient. Think first about making sure that you have diversity in the plant that you're eating. Dandelion leaf, dandelion root, again, edible flowers, those are very important.

The second thing is, make sure that you have variety in the types of plants that you're eating. Don't get hung up on doing broccoli every day or spinach every morning or having the identical salad. Make sure that you're incorporating things like avocados and coconut, things that have the healthy fats in them, raw nuts, but also raw seeds. Oftentimes, we will find individuals in my clinic that go towards a plant-based diet, and they're having spinach scrambled with some tempeh, some fermented soy and keema. They're having a big salad from the same restaurant every day that has the same ingredients in it. They're incorporating a sweet potato with some cashew butter at dinner. There's a lot of repetitiveness in this in the meal. As with any diet, but especially with a plant-based diet, my second thing would be, make sure that there is variety.

The third would be to watch carefully for the processed foods in any diet, especially in a plant-based diet. This is my next question. Number one again. What is the number one thing that I think people should understand when deciding a fully plant-based diet lifestyle is right for them? The number one thing that they fully have to understand is that your body is always right. You want to listen to your body. We have a couple of tools, which is one, your Self-Assessment Questionnaire. You can download it for free on the website. Before you start any kind of diet, make sure that you're getting a strong sense of self and a sense of how you feel. Sometimes we even talk about edema or swelling or measuring the belly after a meal. See what's going on with you with your current diet.

I have people move into what we call your Health Wish List, which, again, you can download for free on the website. The health wish list is, once you have a clear understanding of yourself and where you're at, where exactly are you wanting to go in your health and expecting a lot from the power that you put on your plate. If you're going to go plant-based, have a clear understanding of what you want for your health. What are the things do you want to sleep deeper, wake up bright and bushy-tailed, lose weight, have less pain, less inflammation? Define those things so that we can turn your wish list into a checklist.

The other thing that I like is, measure and check your body's ecosystem by testing your digestive reserves and your pH. The digestive reserves, we do what we call The Lemon Challenge Test. The Lemon Challenge Test will give you a basic rundown. Basically, you test your salivary enzymes or your saliva's pH. You get a baseline. You then bite into a lemon, which is acidic. It should drop your pH. Your pH is typically slightly alkaline. It's over 7, so maybe a 7.1, 7.2. You bite into the lemon and then we have you retest your pH at 30-second and 1-minute intervals to see how long it takes for you to reestablish homeostasis or a balance in your enzymes. The thought of you listening to me talk about biting into a lemon, you'll notice that it makes you salivate. Your parotid glands start to secrete a little bit of saliva. That's your body's response to an induced stressor or something different like a lemon. What we look for in this is how stable your body is in coming back into balance after having that acidic exposure. It's a quick test. All the instructions are there.

PYP 33 | Plant Based Lifestyle

 

The other one that I like, if an individual's thinking about a plant-based diet, is checking your body's pH over a week. It's a week-long protocol. It's simple. This is important because with plant-based diets, I have no concerns or worries about getting enough protein. You can balance that. Get enough fiber. You want to make sure with the enzyme output and changing your digestion that you're doing the right support to keep your body again in that homeostasis. With plant-based diets, we sometimes talk about heavy metal die-off, arsenic exposure. There are all these things that can come up. Heavy metal release can do the die-off.

What Are 4 To 6 Plant-Based Swaps You'd Recommend And What's Your Favorite Way To Prepare Them?

There are things to think and consider that can be awesome and wonderful, a powerful reason to do a plant-based diet. The number one thing is that your body is always right. You want to do these types of DIY at home, self-diagnostic, self-assessments so that you can start to have this beautiful, loving, intimate relationship with your body and its response and reaction to foods. Someone asked me and this is a cool one. What are 4 to 6 plant-based swaps you'd recommend and what's your favorite way to prepare them like sweet potatoes, cauliflower? Let me give you a couple that I dig on. These are ways, even if you're not considering a plant-based diet and you want to incorporate more vegetables in your world, some fun things.

When we talk about sweet potatoes, I love sweet potato fries. I love sweet potato crisps. One of my favorites is I make a savory sweet potato waffle. The recipe is on the site. You can shred the sweet potato. If you are using eggs in your diet, you can put eggs in there. I use a waffle iron for it. I love to do salsa over it. I like to make salmon and sweet potatoes. I'll finely grate my sweet potato and make salmon cakes. That's a phenomenal one. If you are completely vegan, I love to do sweet potatoes. I bake a sweet potato and then put cashew butter in it. It is so decadent, creamy and delicious. Those are some fun sweet potato ones.

The other thing is I'm a huge jicama fan. It has a prebiotic called inulin. If you have any digestive upset, if you're prone to bloating after eating, that is a particular micronutrient that can be healthy and helpful to go in, help nourish and heal the gut lining. I love jicama fries. I make a raspberry puree and dip them in. When you bake or cook jicama, even when you eat it raw, it has a slightly sweet taste to it. I will bake them with cinnamon and then dip them into a raspberry puree that is delicious. The other thing is I will use a mandolin to thinly slice jicama and toast it with a little bit of cinnamon and sometimes a little bit of cracked red chili. It is so good and those make it like jicama crisp. I definitely use jicama for taco shells. I shred jicama with red and white cabbage and a little bit of hummus, lime juice, a little bit of paprika. I love pine nuts in that. It makes an incredible coleslaw. That's another fun one.

We do a lot of kale chips. I have a dehydrator so I make zucchini chips. We have a garden so you can tell what I've leftover, zucchini chips, yellow squash chips, beet chips. Turnips are another one that is good. You can bake a potato. I also would do pureed celery root. Fennel is a phenomenal one. It has a little bit of licorice taste. Fennel pairs well with fish if you are a pescatarian and you do fish. I'm a big zoodle person. I make zucchini noodles all the time. If you don't have things like spiralizers or mandolins, you can get inexpensive ones that do the job. Those are great tools to have in the kitchen.

I want to see you guys definitely playing and assessing how many vegetables you are eating in a day. You should have five servings for sure. Play with salads, making them a little more decadent. Chop your salad. Shred your lettuce. Sometimes the texture of a vegetable can make a significant difference. We have a lot of tips on the website about oils to cook with. For example, if you're doing a vegetable and a high heat, you would want to use a particular oil, an avocado oil, a grapeseed oil. If you're doing things that are low heat, use olive oil. We have a lot of tips for dips, dressings, herbs and spices that can make your vegetables a pleasurable experience.

I always tell you that pleasure stimulates metabolism. When you eat and you see something visually pleasing, you smell something that's appetizing, you begin to taste something that has a lot of diversity, like I talked about using a variety of the plant, it sets up this whole cascade of hormones that helps you secrete enzymes. You can break those macronutrients like fiber, carbohydrates and protein into micronutrients like vitamins, enzymes and minerals. Those micronutrients are the things that help to heal your metabolism, help to speed up your rate of burn. That cascade of hormone secretion starts to elevate your metabolic rate. It also starts to elevate your mood and washes the receptor sites for all your sex hormones. Remember, pleasure can stimulate metabolism.

This was an awesome discussion we had about plant-based diet. I'd love to hear from you. Would you say you're 80-20, 100% to 50/50? What do you have going on when you are putting power on your plate? Make sure that you are getting a true sense of self with a self-assessment questionnaire that you know and have a clear vision as to where you want to go with your health wish list. Play with a little bit of self-diagnostics. Learn more about yourself. Do the digestive reserve test and the weeklong pH testing protocol. Of course, jump on to the membership section and ask your questions. I would love to do an episode about the things that you wonder about and the things that you have a passion for. As always, I love being your nutritionist. Until next time. Double down on those veggies.

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