Plant based positives: the benefits of veganism

Whether it be a choice made for personal morals, concern for the environment, or simply a curiosity with the idea, many people have decided to become vegan. In America, approximately 7.3 people follow a vegetarian diet and 1 million are vegan. However, those who have not ventured into the plant-based lifestyle may be unaware of just how beneficial veganism is.

I have been a vegan for nearly a year, and have experienced these changes firsthand. Switching from the standard American diet consisting of animal products to none at all envelops a multitude of positive side effects.

I decided to become vegan after almost 2 years of being a vegetarian, and the motivation for me to start veganism stemmed from watching a documentary called What The Health that exposed many lies from the meat and dairy industry. I was unaware of just how corrupt, unhealthy, and inhumane all of it was, but the documentary shed light on the topic.

Within the first week of becoming a vegan, I noticed a change in energy. Cutting out more processed foods, dairy, and eggs gave me a natural boost of energy everyday. It was easier to be more active and for a longer duration.

Another common result of veganism is weight loss. Depending on how processed your diet is prior to going vegan, the amount will vary, but most people, including myself, will shed a few pounds. It wasn’t a drastic amount, but I took notice and also realized the way my body distributed fat had changed a bit too.

A vegan diet includes consuming healthy fats such as olive oil instead of fats found in meat. Consumption of animal fats have been linked to many illnesses such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and types of cancers too. Eliminating these fats from your diet reduces your chances of contracting such diseases.

There is a negative connotation with veganism as many people assume that vegans do not get a sufficient amount of nutrients, however, it’s not as complicated as you may think. Vegans tend to get a lot of fiber naturally and a consume more raw foods which regulates a healthy diet. Alternative protein sources can be found in beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds along with plant-based milks and tofu. It’s also important to get enough iron but regularly eating leafy greens like spinach and kale will be adequate.

Veganism can also help prevent certain types of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes.” With terrifying statistics like this and “Eating 1 egg per day is just as bad as smoking 5 cigarettes per day for life expectancy.” from the documentary What The Health, cutting eggs out of our diets is beneficial.

For fitness, veganism leads to many improvements as well. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016, over 1.9 billion adults 18 and up were overweight with 650 million qualifying as obese. Those who are on a vegan diet tend to have a lower calorie intake which leads to a reduced chance of obesity and cardiovascular disease along with a lower body mass index (BMI).

An average day of eating for me consists of an abundance of fruits and vegetables, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, whole grains, and typically pea plant milk in oatmeal or a smoothie as it contains more calcium and protein than regular cows milk.

I recommend veganism to everyone. It isn’t particularly easy, but the results both physically and mentally are definitely worth it. With a decent amount of research, determination, and persistence, anyone can be a vegan.