Maybe you remember the 1978 song I Love the Nightlife or have heard it played on an “oldies” station or as the backdrop to shows or movies. That title has even been a category on the show Jeopardy!.
While we’re on a trivia run, some of the foods popular in 1978 included: fried tacos, baked cheese spaghetti and sloppy joes, while some foods that were introduced in 1978 were Arby’s Beef 'n' Cheddar sandwich, Ben & Jerry’s® Homemade Ice Cream, Reese’s® Pieces and the Whatchamacallit candy bar.
How times have changed music-wise and diet-wise!
In fact, when it comes to food, you could almost coin the title I Love the Plant Life for the direction of many healthy diets these days. With everything from Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study to Forks Over Knives, a plant-based diet is making headlines and changing people’s health for the better.
For example, Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking book, The China Study, found that a whole foods, plant-based diet not only lowers a person’s risk for certain diseases, but it can also reverse the progression of those said diseases. It was a 20-year study that included over 100 villages in China, and the findings were that high consumption of animal-based foods was associated with more chronic disease, but those eating a mostly plant-based diet were the healthiest.
A plant-based diet, by nature, avoids meat, dairy and processed foods. Unlike the average American diet packed with meat sources of protein, plant-based proteins come from beans; seeds such as quinoa; grains such as amaranth and millet; and nuts, including walnuts, almonds and pistachios. And get this—even veggies can provide protein. For example, broccoli is 30 percent protein and provides highly absorbable calcium.
Instead of typical dairy, a plant-based diet provides calcium in leafy green veggies such as kale, broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts, while almond, rice and oat milk are good alternatives to conventional dairy. Vitamin D is absorbed in the body through prudent sunlight exposure, but can also be supplemented in vegan form if sunlight is elusive, which it is for most of our nation several months out of the year.
Another reason for loving the plant life is that eating plants versus animals can have positive effects on inflammation levels in the body—and chronic inflammation underlies cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more. In fact, many researchers and health practitioners are starting to see chronic inflammation as a single disease presenting itself as differing symptoms. Studies show the potent anti-inflammatory and protective effects of flavonoids and other antioxidants that are found in plants. A plant-based diet is also found to lower C-reactive protein levels in the blood. C-reactive protein, of course, is a marker for bodily inflammation.
With all those health perks, it’s easy to see why many people love the plant life!