How a Plant-Based Lifestyle Can Change Your Body

  • Written By:Kirk Charles
  • Photography:Sarah Elliot
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When it comes to changing your body, different personality types need different types of motivation. As a personal trainer I’m always developing new methods to keep my clients moving in the right direction. Over the years, I’ve discovered that there is a common foundation when it comes to seeing real results: plant based-eating. Eating foods from the produce section of your grocery store—not processed plant-based foods—is the key to metabolic success. After 30 years of vegan and plant-based eating myself, I’ve also found it is the safest and most effective method when it comes to seeing real results. Your body will thank you and you’ll never look back. Here are three results of a plant-based lifestyle that I see most often in my clients.

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Supports Muscle Definition

The best way to facilitate the fat melting process is through plant-based eating. High fiber plant foods fill you up without “fattening” you up. It’s hard for most people to believe, but you can eat an unlimited amount of raw salads and fruit without gaining weight—and most likely weight will be lost. And don’t think about the sugar content in fruit! It is not “processed” sugar and usually doesn’t cause any harm unless you are diabetic.

Most people have a specific goal regarding weight, consequently we have become accustomed to the bathroom scale being in control. I tell my clients to strive for muscle definition instead of relying solely on the bathroom scale. If you are able to see abdominal muscle definition, odds are you’re in an excellent weight range.

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Boosts Your Energy Levels

Wouldn’t it be great to have the energy level of someone half your age? Since most of my clients think that’s absurd, I’ve settled on two-thirds of my age instead of half. At 55 years of age, I often seek out 36 to 37-year-olds to workout with and the best way to keep up with them is through eating plant-based foods from the produce section of your local supermarket.

Artificial means, such as energy drinks, energy bars and other man-made concoctions can tax your digestive system and manifest metabolic diseases. It’s also important to eschew processed food that is full of chemicals, alcohol, OTC drugs, and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as much as possible. Those foods and substances abuse your metabolism and drain your energy. When you consume more natural foods over extended periods of time—especially raw veggies (salads) and fruits—your body will have greater metabolic energy that feeds directly into greater physical energy.

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Eliminates Toxins in the Body

Too often we fill out bodies with toxins and it overflows. Our body releases this toxicity often through a cold, fever, or another illness that forces you to take a time out. To ease the pain and frequency of toxicity release we must shoot for two objectives: slow down the rate at which we fill the body with toxicity and empty the toxicity before it gets anywhere near full in our bodies. Those two objectives cannot be totally controlled, but they can be heavily influenced by incorporating more plant-based foods into your eating style.

I suggest that my clients consume at least 80% plant-based foods, with a strong emphasis on salads and fruit. If you hit the 80% mark, chances are you’ll notice you get sick less often and in a less virulent way. Plant-based eating also means you’ll absorb higher quality vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy and are superior to the vitamin and mineral supplements you find at the drugstore. At the same time, you’ll feed your gut bacteria the fiber and resistant starches it needs to bolster your metabolism. Less toxicity build up in your body means less mucus formation, less inflamation and better overall health. I always tell my clients that getting sick less frequently is the greatest metabolic achievement that we can make.

Kirk Charles is a certified personal trainer. The above is adapted from his book, The First Aisle.

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