The importance of a colorful plant‑based nutrition
I so enjoy visiting the local farmers markets in my Seattle neighborhood. As I peruse its colorful stalls with my family, I find myself in awe as I soak in the dazzling variety of beautiful vegetables, fruits, and produce, pausing to find stillness in the midst of the crowd, often mesmerized by the rainbow colors of red tomatoes, yellow lemons, and purple beetroots.
It takes me back to childhood memories of India with its bountiful, colorful street markets and bazaars. This kind of vibrancy imbues our senses: the magnificent odor of fresh spices like tamarind and cumin, the taste of spiced samosas, the shapes of exotic fruits, the myriad vegetables, and even the sweetness of desserts like gulab jamun (deep-fried milk balls soaked in fragrant syrup).
Born into a vegetarian family in Punjab, I grew up in a household where time was marked by meals. We always sat around a colorful table to eat together. I like to say that I was fortunate to have been born in a country where I could eat the rainbow every day.
After all the changes I have made in life, something I have not changed is my plant-based diet. It’s part of my heritage and culture, and it’s also good for my health. According to research from Oxford, it’s healthier to eat a plant-based diet, with fewer reported cases of diseases such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, cancer, and age-related illnesses by those who maintain this way of eating.
A plant-based diet includes colorful vegetables and fruits rich in all the vitamins and antioxidants we need. These contain phytonutrients, the compounds that give plants their various colors as well as their tastes and aromas. Phytonutrients strengthen both a plant’s immune system and our own, providing us with greater vibrancy, physical strength, and vitality, thus improving our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Of course, it’s not just our own health that benefits from rainbow vegetarianism: it’s the health of the planet, too! Plant-based diets are healthier for the environment as they need fewer natural resources and, when done right, can even lead to regeneration of the ecosystem. Taking care of the planet is as important as taking care of our families and ourselves.
Mindful eating and adopting nutritional habits that protect our planet play a key role in my journey towards the seven-pillar vision of Wholistic Wellbeing. And it doesn’t cost much: it’s simply about bringing more consciousness to what we eat, and the way we eat. These little steps can mark the beginning of a transformational process. I’ve found that, for myself, a colorful diet is hugely appealing: it awakens all five senses and I enjoy the texture and taste as I eat slowly and mindfully. In the company of family friends, it helps promote social and community wellbeing.
We all have individual bodies and come from different cultures, so it is up to each of us to choose the best type of diet to suit our needs. We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs, so why not eat the rainbow? As the myth says, one can find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What better golden pot than living a long, healthy life?