OLLI Class for Concord - Spring 2017 web page: https://is.gd/PlantBasedDietJim & Leonora started going "primarily plant based only" a few years ago after watching the film "Uprooting the Causes of Death". The movie outlines the top 20 causes of death in the U.S., and the impact of diet choices on these. The impact so far? We have lost weight (without reducing calorie intake), gotten off of some of the prescription meds (in collaboration with our primary care physician) and discovered a wide variety of delightful dishes and restaurants that satisfy the pallet.
We will watch the documentary "Uprooting the Causes of Death" describing the beneficial impact that a plant based diet(PBD) can have on heart disease, diabetes, cancer, weight loss, etc. We will have discussions, recipes, resources and snacks/examples.
Plant based vs Vegan -- very similar in cuisine, perhaps different in motivations - both are vegetarian (no meat, no fish), both avoid dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream) - both agree on the health and environmental benefits -- Some folks reserve "Vegan" as tied to respecting animal sentience -- and avoid using animals or their products -- no honey, no leather, etc. In the context of evaluating food items or restaurant menus, "vegan" should be a clear indication of "plant based", many "vegetarian" options are also actually vegan (no dairy/eggs). One place this makes a difference is in items that have very small amounts, typically of eggs or milk, we have not avoided these where as those with purposeful veganism would avoid these, also the question of "what do you do when there is not a vegan option?" results in different responses based on this distinction. In the "Intelligence 2" debate, the question was asked about use of animals that die naturally -- the "health" PBD folks would decline the use of the meat; a 'respect animals' vegan might eat it (I suspect not, but this was a debate format clarifying principles, not behaviors) -- a more realistic test is the emergence of "alternate meats" -- some created from plant based materials, others created from 'cultured' animal cells (presumably not providing the health benefits of plant based foods.)
Some of our considerations in moving to this cuisine variation were: "is it easy to do?", "do we get food we like to eat?" --- if you are willing to invest a little time in cooking, then it is much easier than if you want to work with prepared meals -- items like legumes (peas, beans, lentils), nuts and tofu are obvious sources of protein, but also many grains work as well - Quinoa is high in protein, and Dunk'n Donuts multi-grain bagels are as well (and you can get them with peanut butter or jam rather than cream cheese.)
Processed foods? -- if you don't understand the ingredients on the label, you probably don't understand what it is doing to you -- both plant based and omnivore nutrition experts recommend you avoid processed foods. "shop the periphery of the grocery store, there isn't any food in the middle' -- The ideal healthy target is "Whole Food, Plant Based" (WFPB) as far as we can tell.