What is the optimal diet for health and longevity? Is it a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet? In the following blog, I will summarize the key factors of each diet to help you make an educated decision.
Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-based diets
First off, we must note that none of these labels exist in nature. Still, we need to have a labeling system to classify things. Once we put an object (diet) into a box, our brain knows how to relate to it. Second, there is absolutely no universal right or wrong way to eat. I don’t believe that eating any specific diet makes one a better human. Of course, there is no arguing that a well-balanced diet leads to better health. At the same time, however, no one truly knows what that diet is.
Based on my experience, I would say that a whole foods plant-based diet is optimal for weight maintenance and simplicity, and it’s also budget-friendly. Likewise, some revolutionary doctors and scientists (David Sinclair, Michael Greger, and Valter Longo) all agree that whole foods plant-based diets are optimal for better health and longevity.
In 2002, at the beginning of my health transformation journey, I decided to become a vegetarian. A vegetarian diet does not allow meat from animal and sea creatures, but cheese and eggs are acceptable. When I switched from a classic Western diet to a vegetarian diet, I lost weight, improved my health, and started feeling much better.
In 2016, in preparation for my stem cell regenerative procedure, I parted ways with my beloved cheese. Within a few weeks, I dropped an extra few pounds. A vegan diet eliminates all animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and honey.
But, like many other vegans, I indulged in unhealthy junk non-food full of oil, sugar, and who knows what kind of ingredients. I gained another 10 pounds and started to feel pretty sluggish.
In 2020 at 44-years-young, one more time, I turned my world upside down. I cleaned up my plate and switched to a plant-based diet.
A plant-based diet includes plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes; and excludes any animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and cheese. Similarly, plant-based diets focus on eating whole foods balanced diet.
In summary, a vegan or vegetarian diet could be a fantastic gateway to healthy living. On the other hand, neither a vegan nor vegetarian diet is optimal for health and longevity. For the reason that we can consume a lot of junk. From vegan cookies, potato chips, and other vegan junk foods coded with sugars, refined oils, and salts. Not to mention, a vegetarian diet, in addition to all vegan junk, also includes cheese. So, both vegan and vegetarian can be high in calories and poor in nutrients.
For this reason, a plant-based diet is my winner!