NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a local company says there are several reasons to embrace a plant-based lifestyle, and it doesn’t mean giving up meat all the time.

Sami Ahmed of Sunset Park, Brooklyn told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock that after quitting smoking his eating habits went sour, his weight ballooned and he needed a lifestyle change.

“I wanted to find a healthy way to kind of lose that weight,” Ahmed said Monday.

He said a plant-based regimen filled with vibrant fruits, veggies and whole grains did the trick.

“My parents are hippies and that’s how I grew up,” said Kelly McGee of SoHo. “It made my skin a lot better and my mood.”

(Photo: CBS2)

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To find out more about the plant-based movement, Murdock met with Danielle Duboise, co-founder and co-CEO of Sakara Life, a plant-based nutrition company based in SoHo.

“When we started the company in 2012 nobody even knew what plant based meant,” Duboise said.

Back then, Duboise and co-founder Whitney Tingle prepared fresh meals in their kitchen, and then hopped on their bikes to deliver them.

“Now in 2020, we have 150 employees. We deliver millions of meals to people all across the country,” Duboise said.

Murdock wanted to know her take on why this movement has sprouted.

“I think Americans are interested in taking their health into their own hands and starting to understand what it looks like to build a body that they feel really good in,” Duboise said.

A plant-based diet is not the same as a vegan one.

“Plant based can be inclusive of things like meat, cheese, dairy, but unlike vegan we like to think of it as a health term because it’s really focused on what you should be eating and not what you shouldn’t be eating,” Duboise said.

She recommends 80% of the food you eat come from plants, including leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains. She said you’ll notice a difference.

“There are nutrients you can only get from plants,” Duboise said.

Like polyphenols and antioxidants that combat inflammation and give your brain a boost.

“You get enough dietary fiber, and that fiber, unlike coming from crackers and cookies and things like that you get from whole food plants is what feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, and a healthy gut is linked to everything from good moods, good sleep, better sex drive, clearer skin,” Duboise said.

And finally, Duboise said, “What’s good for you is good for the planet.”

Replacing meat with plants in your meal decreases water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Duboise added its scientifically proven a plant-based diet can reverse and prevent lifestyle diseases, like Type 2 diabetes.

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