Dr Jan Haycek has summarized his rationale and approach to recommending a plant based diet here. I have been a vegetarian for just over 5 years now; I know there is emerging evidence to support its benefits, particularly on cardiovascular health and diabetes but I have never looked closely at them.
After becoming vegetarian, I share many of the same experiences that other vegetarians would claim to have, including more energy, feeling better and a general sense of wellness. Yes these are very non-specific descriptive words and who am I to say they are directly linked to my vegetarian diet. They are my subjective experience.
But during my first pregnancy when I was still a carnivore, my glucose screening test results were off the roof. My obstetric / gynecologist reassured me that it was common to have false positive results so we proceeded with the glucose tolerance test to confirm. The results of my glucose tolerance test were still borderline high. My doctor didn’t ask me to monitor with glucometer or start insulin. Instead, she highly suggested that I watched what I ate. Towards the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure were also escalating. I know as a health care professional, having gestational diabetes is a strong predictor of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life. I know for a fact that diabetes also run in my family, so I should expect that I may develop at some day. But the experience with my glucose screening test was a real wake up call.
So during my second pregnancy when I have already become vegetarian, I was expecting my glucose screening test to behave similarly high. But to my surprise, it was a shocking normal value! No sign of any metabolic or pre-diabetes picture. My blood pressure was also very stable and normal throughout the entire pregnancy. I think it was my diet. Again, I was my own control and there may be other contributing factors that I didn’t think of, so I can’t say this is a scientifically proven correlation.
There are many other benefits of adopting a plant based diet but there is definitely some emerging evidence to support its benefits on improving health. I mentioned in another post that we need a game changer in Type 2 diabetes. Perhaps encouraging more people to adopt a plant based diet is one of the strategies.