Plant-based Diet Promoted by USDA

Move over Meatless-Monday. A school in California is about to become the first school to offer an all-vegan cafeteria for school meals. This is a private school. We had touched upon this some time ago. The MUSE School in Calabasas, California, will complete a transition to an all-vegan menu beginning in the fall. Here’s a link to the article to learn more about this.

A lot of people think it’s tough to go vegan. This is especially true of vegetarians who often claim that’s really tough to kick the cheese addiction. Going vegan is easier to go vegan than you might think.  Here’s an article that discusses a few simple habits to help you go vegan.

Feeling blue? Need to improve your mood? An article in US News & World Report (of all places) describes how eating a plant based diet help to improve your mood. There’s nothing new here, but it’s nice to see more and more articles on veganism in the mainstream media. Here a link to that article.

A news story from The Today Show talks about the importance of a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It notes that the team at Imperial College London told a meeting of the American Heart Association.People who got 70 percent or more of their food from fruits, vegetables and grains had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart diseases.

But the biggest news of the day comes from the USDA and their 2015 dietary report. No surprises here though. They indicate that Americans eat too many processed foods and not enough fruits and vegetables. The report is promoting a diet that is primary plant-based. It states, a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet.

The major findings regarding sustainable diets were that a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet. This pattern of eating can be achieved through a variety of dietary patterns, including the Healthy U.S.-style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern, and the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern. All of these dietary patterns are aligned with lower environmental impacts and provide options that can be adopted by the U.S. population. Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and energy use, compared to the above dietary patterns. This is because the current U.S. population intake of animal-based foods is higher and plant-based foods are lower, than proposed in these three dietary patterns. Of note is that no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes over the current status.

It’s not all just intake, it’s also activity level:

[There is] strong evidence supporting the importance of regular physical activity for health promotion and disease prevention in the U.S. population. Physical activity is important for all people—children, adolescents, adults, older adults, women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and individuals with disabilities. The findings further provide guidance on the dose of physical activity needed across the lifecycle to realize these significant health benefits.

Future Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committees will be asked to carefully review the most recent evidence so that the Federal government can fully update the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Given the exceedingly low physical activity participation rates in this country, it will be critically important for the next Committee to identify proven strategies and approaches to increase population-level physical activity across the lifespan.

How can things improve, they suggest:

It will take concerted, bold actions on the part of individuals, families, communities, industry, and government to achieve and maintain the healthy diet patterns and the levels of physical activity needed to promote the health of the U.S. population. These actions will require a paradigm shift to an environment in which population health is a national priority and where individuals and organizations, private business, and communities work together to achieve a population-wide “culture of health” in which healthy lifestyle choices are easy, accessible, affordable, and normative—both at home and away from home. In such a culture, health care and public health professionals also would embrace a new leadership role in prevention, convey the importance of lifestyle behavior change to their patients/clients, set standards for prevention in their own facilities, and help patients/clients in accessing evidence-based and effective nutrition and comprehensive lifestyle services and programs.

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