Plant-based dieting has been around longer than most realize. While it gains even more popularity in many homes across the globe, this diet has also made its way to Taylor University’s campus.
For those who wonder what exactly plant-based dieting looks like, author for Harvard Medical School, Katherine McManus writes, “Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.”
The latest trending diet and eating habits come and go, so what makes a plant-based diet so appealing when it seems to be limiting options from the outside point-of-view?
Abigail Stewart, a senior human physiology and preventive medicine major, has been eating a plant-based diet for almost two years now. She first found out about this lifestyle in her “Exercise as Medicine” course at Taylor University.
“I decided to start eating plant-based because I was drawn to the positive health benefits of this lifestyle,” she said. “I also liked the positive benefits it has on the environment and animals. The most rewarding thing about eating plant based is knowing that I am reducing my risk for developing cardiovascular disease.”
This choice to start eating this way has left Stewart feeling better physically and does not leave her with that “heavy feeling” after eating outside of the plant-based diet.
This also has encouraged her to experiment with new recipes and broaden her horizons.
When asked about the attainability of the plant-based diet at Taylor University, Stewart shared that she feels Taylor does a good job in offering options for plant-based dieters, but that there is always room for improvement.
Freshman Amelia Bostick seconded this opinion.
“Eating plant-based at Taylor is actually super achievable if Chick-fil-A is something you can resist,” Bostick said.
Bostick’s vegetarian diet has allowed her to search for protein in things other than meat that she wouldn’t usually eat a lot of before starting this diet. It’s made her more energized in the long run, as well as feel healthier in body and in mind.
The plant-based diet not only has many physical and mental health benefits, but it also allows its dieters to be challenged to try new foods.
While many lean towards a plant-based diet for health reasons, there are a percentage that feel it is rather a moral obligation and Christian duty.
“I try to eat only ethical meat as much as I can due to the mistreatment of animals, mass production and unhealthy chemicals used in producing most meat,” sophomore Mary Sargent said. “Since there are not many ways for me to know for sure whether Taylor or other places are using ethical meat sources, this leads me to try and stick to a plant-based diet. I think if we do what we can to stop unethical meat production, small farmers will be supported and maybe we can change the mistreatment of animals in the food industry!"
She shared how she believes that, as Christians, it is our duty to make sure that we are not abusing the gifts God gave to humankind. One should never take advantage of this. In this case, that gift is animals.
Sargent expressed that there are many health benefits, but ultimately her choice to try to be a plant-based eater is rooted in her ethical obligations to herself and as a Christian.
When considering if a plant-based diet is something you would want to try, be sure to take into account the physical and mental health benefits, accessibility to plant-based food options and your own values and moral duties.