Plant-based lifestyle, anyone?

What do Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman and Miley Cyrus have in common except for being Hollywood headliners? Well, these three are among the many celebrities who have at one time or another tried the plant-based eating lifestyle.

A plant-based diet means eating foods that are mostly derived from plants. Others, however, consider themselves plant-based eaters but still include a few animal-sourced foods in their eating lifestyle.

Dr. Ambika Satija of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition said the heart could benefit from eating quality plant foods. It is even possible to protect your heart from just by reducing your consumption of animal foods.

While the plant-based eating lifestyle comes in many forms, these foods are somehow known for their heart benefits. A plant-based diet could include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

While most of these foods are filled with fiber and minerals that help lower your weight and bad cholesterol (LDL), it is also important to choose the quality of plant-based foods that you consume.

Experts warned against certain plant-based foods such as white rice and white bread that are highly processed and have high glycemic index. These foods can increase your hunger pangs and blood sugar levels.

Hathaway and Cyrus have since modified their eating lifestyles and are self-confessed pescatarians. While they still eat mostly plant-based foods, they have introduced fish in their diet for health reasons.

Korean star Claudia Kim who became popular for her role as Nagini in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, calls herself a pesco-vegetarian, a vegetarian but includes dairy and seafood in her diet.

Filipinos are catching up on the plant-based eating lifestyle.

“We started eating plant-based on July 26 this year after watching the documentary ‘The Game Changer’ on Netflix,” Lawyer Karen-Santiago Malaki told eNews.

The Game Changer is a documentary that shows the many success stories of athletes who follow the plant-based diet. While it has received good reviews from film critics and created an impact in the eating lifestyle of many people, it has also been criticized for the inaccuracies it presented.

Those who practice this lifestyle said the plant-based diet is much like going vegan but not as hardcore since the latter also excludes the use of all animal-sourced products.

Aside from being influenced by the documentary, Karen’s decision to go plant-based is also health-related.

“In 2014 I discovered that I have fatty liver. My SGPT was so high, almost 300 when the normal value is only 34. My doctor advised me to undergo the expensive fibroscan to check if my liver has hardened. Fortunately, it hasn’t. I have been taking medication since then. My last SGPT test result before COVID was 140,” she said.

(SGPT or Serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase is an enzyme found in the liver and heart cells and is released into the bloodstream when the liver or heart is damaged.)

It was actually her husband Atty. Racky Malaki III who chanced upon the said documentary.

“He immediately declared that he will go on plant-based diet. I took his challenge and went along with him. We have been eating purely plant-based – – no meat and meat by-products including eggs and dairy,” she said.

After four months of eating plants, Karen’s SGPT is down to 39, only 5 points higher than the normal value.

“On top of that, my weight is down to 61.3 kilos from 64.7 even though the quantity of my food intake is the same or more than I eat while I was an omnivore,” she said.

As a bonus, she said, here cooking skills also improved as she became more creative and imaginative so she can produce yummy dishes to satisfy their cravings. (eNews will be publishing some of Karen’s tried and tested plant-based dishes. Watch out for her simple and easy-to-prepare plant-based dishes).

Going plant-based is, however, not without challenges. As Karen admitted, while she can easily give up the eggs and dairy, she still craves for seafood since it is hard to look for a replacement.

“I guess plant-based eating works for me. I hope you can give it a try.”

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