Think about this for a minute. Every one of us needs a certain amount of calories and nutrients a day to maintain health and an optimal body weight. There is a theoretical maximum limit to the amount we can eat in a day before we begin to gain an excess amount of weight (yes, the extra calories you consume each day that is above what your body needs tends to be stored in your body in the form of fat).

So, if we are eating mostly meat-based foods (these tend to be more calorie dense as animal-based proteins are often coupled with animal fats, and are cooked or processed with oil, butter or sauces) and low nutrient, processed refined simple sugar foods in our daily intakes, we will naturally end up feeling full from these foods, and have little room  (or appetite!) left for eating much fruits, vegetables and other nutrient dense plant-based foods.

But if whole-food, plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, pulses, seeds and beans really have health promoting, chronic disease preventing and combating benefits, then it makes sense to make room in our diets and daily intake for that. The logical (and only) way to do that is to remove some of the high calorie, high ticket items from our diets so that we have the appetite and ability to eat more healthful foods. Add to this established research showing that our dietary patterns as a whole do matter, and the clear associations between a meat-based diet with chronic diseases like cancer, gout and hypertension, and suddenly the choice is not so hard to make. Research is also showing more and more health benefits of plant-based foods, with many phyto-chemicals and nutrients within fruits and vegetables that are still being discovered.

Another way to think about this is to view our bodies as cars. We have a choice daily what to fill up our ‘tanks’ with to fuel our bodies. Either it can be a rainbow color of nutrient-rich plant-based foods or meat-based and low nutrient refined carbohydrate rich foods. We can only fill so much in our tanks daily, and what we eat today will determine how we ‘run’ or perform and the long term health of our bodies.