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Plant-based Eating for Longevity

There are many benefits to plant-based eating. From lowered risk of disease and greater overall health, there are plenty of reasons for you to try a plant-based diet. Keep reading to learn more and to discover healthy substitions for ingredients you use daily in recipes.

Thanks to the emerging research into the Blue Zones—the places with the highest concentrations of people living to 100 and beyond—we have uncovered some key secrets to living a long, healthy life. Though these Blue Zones are spread across the globe—from Italy, to Costa Rica, Greece, Japan, and even California—research has pointed out some distinct commonalities between the lifestyle and food choices of all Blue Zone residents. The nutritional aspects of this longevity is interesting.

It turns out that the majority of Blue Zone diets are anchored in minimally processed, locally grown, super-mineralized, nutrient-dense plant foods. Their primary food staples are fresh, local fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, sea vegetables, and cold-pressed oils with portion-controlled, minimal intake of animal-based products like cheese, fish, or meat (if they even consume them at all!) This consistent focus on eating mostly plant foods helps to keep inflammation down and prevent the onset of chronic disease.

The Relationship Between Longevity and Plant-based (or Non-plant-based) Eating

  • A 2009 study that followed 547,000 older Americans found that those who ate the most red meat had a 31 to 36 percent higher risk of dying in a 10-year period.
  • In California, Seventh-Day Adventists who are vegetarians live about a year and a half longer than those who eat meat, and those who also eat nuts frequently gain an additional two years of life expectancy.
  • Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England followed 20,000 middle-aged men and women in England for 11 years and found that nonsmokers with the healthiest eating and exercise habits at the outset had a 14-year life-expectancy edge over the people with the worst habits.
  • Researchers from Loma Linda University found thatvegetarians had a lower risk of dying compared with nonvegetarians. The study included more than 70,000 men and women. Specifically, vegans had a 15 percent lower risk of death, ovo-lacto vegetarians (vegetarians who do not eat meat, fish, or poultry) had a 9 percent lower risk of death, and semi-vegetarians (sometimes called flexitarians) had only an 8 percent lower risk of death.

The bottom line is that if you want to have the best shot at a long life, you’ve got to look way outside your current culinary box. It’s important to recognize that the world’s longest-lived people choose a lifestyle that includes several factors:

  • A healthy, balanced diet
  • Daily exercise
  • Low-stress
  • Life that incorporates family
  • Strong ties to a community
  • A clear life purpose
  • Healthy intimacy
  • A strong foundation of spirituality or religion.

Beginning a journey toward longevity can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Embrace a gentle shift in how you eat, explore new ideas about maintaining your daily health, and allow this simple yet profound truism to sink in: the better your food choices, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy the best things in life.

Something that can help you get started with a plant-based centered lifestyle would be to replace one of your meals with a healthy plant-based protein made from whole foods. Sunwarrior is celebrating plant-based options with their 15th birthday Superfood Protein + Mushrooms that provide the best of health! Superfood blends of quality organic proteins, mushrooms, ashwagandha, apple cider vinegar, and so much more!

We all feel more comfortable with familiar tastes, textures, colors, and smells. It’s easier to make healthy choices when you can put a healthier spin on recipes you love. Fortunately, there are a plethora of delicious ingredients at our disposal to use as healthy substitutes. Check out these sensational swaps below for some awesome ideas for your recipes!

Sensational Recipe Swaps




Beef/Turkey Burger

Portobello mushroom cap

Veggie burger


Tempeh bacon

Coconut or eggplant bacon


Non-hydrogenated vegetable spread

Extra-virgin coconut oil

Dairy milk

Soy milk

Almond, hemp, flax, rice, or coconut milk



Cashew mayonnaise


Seitan, tofu, TVP

Tempeh, hemp tofu

Iodized salt

Himalayan crystal salt

Sea Salt

White bread

Whole-wheat bread

Gluten-free or sprouted grain bread

White sugar

Turbinado sugar

Stevia, Lakanto, coconut sugar, maple sugar


Egg-replacer powder

Ground flax or chia seed


Soy creamer

Coconut or almond creamer


Soy or tapioca cheese

Cultured nut cheeses

Cold cuts

Veggie deli meat

Mandolin sliced veggies

Corn syrup

Agave nectar

Coconut nectar, maple syrup, yacon syrup, or stevia

There are healthy substitutions for pretty much every unhealthy ingredient, fattening food, cholesterol-laden treat, or diet-busting dessert on the market. Another thing that will help you put a healthy spin on recipes is becoming familiar with some new tastes and textures, like chia seeds and coconut kefir. Being familiar with new foods will give you even more options when you’re looking to make some dietary shifts.

Simple adjustments to your recipes and a little bit of extra effort to obtain these ingredients can result in incremental changes that eventually add up to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle!

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