How Plant-Based ‘Meat’ May Help You and Save the Environment

Susan S. Johnson

“It can be so easy,” she says. “Canned beans, peanut butter, simmered lentils, brown rice, oatmeal, seasonal fruit, tons of veggies (frozen, canned, fresh).”

Another major reason people struggle, or quit, after trying a plant-based diet is not being prepared, says Palmer.

“You can’t just all of the sudden eat plant-based without some preparation, such as stocking your pantry and fridge regularly, knowing what your go-to foods will be, understanding what dishes and meals you will rely on, and where you can find products in your community,” she says.

McDougall promotes a diet of mostly starches, like potatoes, rice, and beans, along with vegetables, fruits, healthy fats in moderation, and no animal products or added oils.

Human beings are “starchivores,” he says.

“Most people who ever walked this earth consumed a diet based on starches. Mayans and Aztecs in Central America were known as ‘people of the corn.’ Incas in South America ate potatoes.”

Asian civilization was shaped around cultivating the crop we know today as rice, according to a study in Nature.

Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University School of Medicine, runs the Barnard Medical Center, a primary care clinic in Washington, DC.

He says he always recommends a vegan diet to patients, especially those who have serious health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

Many patients make the switch by following a simple process, Barnard says.

Step one, patients are told to make a list of their favorite foods that don’t have animal products.

“The patient comes back in a week and they’ve written down breakfast, like oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins,” Barnard says. “Lunch, chili instead of meat chili. Dinner, spaghetti with marinara sauce.”

The next step is for patients to eat from their list for 3 weeks straight.

“After 3 weeks, if they’ve actually done it, two things have happened,” Barnard says. “Physically, they’re changing, they’re losing weight, their blood sugar is down, their cholesterol is down, their energy is better, their digestion is better. But apart from the physical changes, their mindset is dramatically different,” he says.

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