If you want to go on a plant-based diet but do not know where to start, we’ve got something to help you make up your mind! We were lucky to get a chance to interview the one and only, Dr. Sheri Goodman Graham, plant-based dietician, lifestyle coach and certified McDougall nutritionist. She’s been in the field for 25 years and her beliefs and philosophy for creating optimal health are a great place to start if you want to learn everything you need to know about the starting and enjoying a plant-based lifestyle. So, get comfortable and put on your learning cap cause it’s time to know more about plant based living!
PBP: How long have you been into the plant-based practice?
DR. GRAHAM: I have been a plant-based dietitian for 10 yrs and dietitian for 25. I recommend all of my patients to eat a whole food plant based diet no oil.
PBP: Why did you decide to take on the plant-based diet?
DR. GRAHAM: I personally had high cholesterol as a vegetarian. I ate cheese and eggs. The doctor wanted to put me on a statin and within in 2 seconds I gave up eggs and dairy and never looked back. My cholesterol is within range and my blood pressure is like a teenager.
PBP: How was your transformation period?
DR. GRAHAM: For me it was a no brainer yet giving up dairy and eggs was tough. I find these foods to be addictive. They are such a huge part of the Standard American Diet. I just had to commit to my health and I eat 4 servings of fruit which seemed to help in the transition.
PBP: Did you encounter any difficulties and adjustments?
DR. GRAHAM: Dining out can be challenging. Most restaurant’s main courses are not whole food plant based centric rather they serve mostly animal proteins, lots of cheese, processed fast foods and oils. Yet, I have learned how to go to the side dishes and talk my servers into having the kitchen prepare my order slightly more healthy.
PBP: Doesn’t this kind of diet require a lot of time for planning and preparation?
DR. GRAHAM: Yes it does in the most creative healthy way. You stop eating out! Mostly because you can’t fined a healthy option to quickly pick up to go. So you learn the best food options are in your kitchen and the healthiest way to eat home cooked. It is part of a healthy lifestyle and once you learn then it becomes second nature. You feed your body and soul. There are so many delicious tasty plant-based recipe options. It can be simple and basic once you learn.
PBP: How can people make their plant-based experience interesting?
DR. GRAHAM: Invest in a nutritionist like myself to coach you so you receive plant-based guidance and support to kick start yourself on the right path. Watch documentaries, read books, and try 3-4 new plant-based recipes a week and incorporate them into your meal plan.
PBP: What are the benefits of a plant based diet?
DR. GRAHAM: Health benefits in every imaginable area of your body and mind. The best diet for the planet, and less cruelty for the animals.
PBP: Is a plant-based diet nutritionally adequate for everyone?
DR. GRAHAM: Yes, for everyone! From in the womb to nursing homes, everyone benefits from eating whole plantbased foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices.
PBP: Isn’t it difficult to get enough protein on a plant-based diet?
DR. GRAHAM: No this is a myth. Every plant including a strawberry has 2 grams of protein. Eating a variety of plantbased foods include one cup of beans or lentils a day. Plus you will receive micronutrients and fiber!
PBP: Can a plant-based diet really help people lose weight?
DR. GRAHAM: Most definitely. Plus it is permanent long term weight stability as long as you commit to this lifestyle. You have to give the unhealthful adulterated processed foods like sugar, white flour and oils.
PBP: What advice you can give aspiring plant-based dieters out there?
DR. GRAHAM: To take baby steps toward eating less processed foods from a box, stop drinking sodas and replace this foods with more fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Sheri Goodman Graham is a McDougall Certified nutritionist focused on Plant-Based Nutrition with 25 years experience. Her beliefs and philosophy for creating optimal health and longevity are aligned with T. Colin Campbell’s and John McDougall’s work.
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