WHY DID BOTH OF YOU START YOUR PLANT-BASED JOURNEY?
Anastasia: My plant-based journey started in 2016 from watching Food Choices randomly on Netflix with my husband. He was so inspired by Rich Roll, the Ultra Ironman that he started juicing fruits and vegetables the next morning for breakfast. We both felt an instant burst of energy and mental clarity, and that was the beginning of it all. I would say we are 80% plant-based now and take some meat occasionally so as not to impose on our loved ones.
Michelle: My plant-based diet consists mostly — not entirely — of food derived from plants including vegetables and legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms and fruit. As a child I always loved fruit and vegetables, and they formed a substantial portion of my family’s diet, so my adult diet was a natural evolution from that starting point.
As I navigated my health issues through adulthood, I discovered that I function at my best and I’m at my most energetic, healthful and clear-headed when my diet consists of clean, plant-based food. I’m also extremely fortunate that being in Asia makes it easy to avoid dairy and gluten which I do not process well.
My current diet became built around eliminating what impairs my health and well-being, and keeping or adding what supports and elevates my health. And it continues to evolve.
While I’m not ideologically opposed to eating meat because I understand that animals are integral to the regenerative agricultural systems I believe in, I am horrified by and therefore opposed to the cruelty, toxicity and pervasive pollution endemic to the industrial system of meat production. In recognising the unsustainable and damaging practices of industrial scale meat and agricultural production, I do my best not to support these systems.
IS THERE A RIGHT AGE TO START A PLANT-BASED DIET?
Anastasia: Age is less a factor than personal choice, no matter what age you are. My seven-year-old nephew decided to be vegan when he was five as he felt that eating animals were cruel and he was extremely sensitive to the smell of meats. I have also heard of people choosing to be plant-based as they reach their 40s and beyond, although more commonly for health reasons.
Plants form the foundation of any diet — be it for the recovery from illnesses or any of the trendy ones like Keto and Paleo. However, like anything, there can be potential allergens to look out for — be it nuts or nightshades — people should be aware and check in with their primary physician.
Michelle: Choosing to be plant-based is a choice and the “right” choice for the person depends on why they are making that choice, what they hope to achieve with it and the context in which they make their choice — it can only be meaningfully evaluated by the person themselves. This also reinforces that they should make their decision mindfully and actively (as opposed to passively “accepting” or “following” someone else’s plan or path) and take responsibility for making each food choice as positive, delicious, healthful and sustainable as possible.
WHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE MYTH WHEN IT COMES TO PLANT-BASED DIETS?
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