The benefits of veganism are limitless. I am here to name a few of the major health benefits, not only for your health but for the health of animals everywhere. I will also highlight the environmental benefits. Even your local economy can benefit from more people becoming vegan.
Being vegan is about more than just a diet. It’s a culture. A lifestyle. When you decide to make the switch, your whole life changes. The things you choose to eat will become a top priority in your brain. You will see food as fuel, instead of just a way to get your stomach to stop grumbling. Becoming a vegan is definitely hard work at first. It will take a lot of brain power, but it is ultimately to your benefit in the end. Your benefit as well as the benefit of the planet.
Many people get scared when they think about making the switch and becoming vegan. There is a lot that goes into the lifestyle. More than just what you eat.
A vegan must look out for things like:
- What fabric our clothes and shoes are made from
- The lip balm we use
- The gum we chew
- Shampoo and toothpaste we use
One of the hardest things for people when they become vegan, is giving up the convenience of the traditional Western diet. Becoming a vegan will no doubt take some work, at first. Any major lifestyle change is bound to make you feel uncomfortable in the beginning. Once you transition and feel some of the quickest physical health benefits like more energy, cleaner skin, weight loss and even an incline in your mental health, you won’t want to turn back.
Even if you consider yourself hopeless in the kitchen, you still are not at a loss. There are so many websites including those like Pinterest that have countless quick and easy vegan recipes at your disposal for free.
The education is out there. On this diet that really isn’t a diet at all. You won’t think of yourself as being on a diet. You will learn to love and appreciate your fruits and vegetables again, which will inevitably increase your awareness and appreciation for animals and the planet alike.
A Vegetarian Diet May Be the First Step
Becoming a vegetarian is actually a great start to adapting to the vegan lifestyle. Vegetarians still consume dairy products and most of them will still wear animal products as well, depending on who you talk to. This is a great way for one to acclimate to the lifestyle a diet based from fruits and vegetables without giving up animal products entirely.
However, this isn’t the final solution. If you are still consuming animal products then you are still adding to the ongoing problem environmentally, as well as physically. Dairy farms are a major contributor to pollution and animal cruelty. Forcing cows to milk every single day when this is not natural for them. Dairy products also contribute to inflammation in the body, heart disease as well as causes of Alzheimer’s and some cancers.
Some will argue that milk from a cow is good for your health because it is a great source of calcium. When in actuality, cow’s milk really has too much calcium for it to be considered a smart health choice. The link between calcium and bone health is very weak.
Looking further, the correlation between dairy products and bone health is virtually nonexistent.
A great way to back away from dairy is by looking into soy products. Soy milk and almond milk are both very taste and great substitutes for dairy products. The health benefits associated with switching to soy products include reduced inflammation and loads of antioxidants. Not to mention it’s naturally cholesterol free.
What Are Some Health Benefits of Veganism?
When you replace the animal products, you will find that you can get a more beneficial form of protein through things like nuts, seeds and beans.
It is crucial that I weigh on the phrase “well-rounded vegan diet”. More and more fast food restaurants are coming out with vegan friendly products. This is a wonderful change in the right direction. However, most of these options still do not contain all the nutrients you need as a vegan. Therefore, they cannot be relied on as a go-to for food.
The whole point of becoming a vegan is to live healthier and eat smarter. This will inevitably take some research and patience.
Below are just some of the health benefits of becoming a vegan:
- Lower blood pressure levels and improve kidney function
- Pain from arthritis
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Protect against certain cancers, especially for males*
* Only 2% of the population in the U.S. follows a vegan diet. That being said there aren’t a lot of studies that have been done on the benefits and the correlation to cancer. However, Cancer Therapy Advisor states:
“Although there are a limited number of studies examining the impact of a vegan diet on cancer risk, a 2017 meta-analysis found that a vegan diet significantly lowered the risk of total cancer by 15% compared with nonvegetarians (relative risk [RR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.75-0.95; P = .002).4 These data are consistent with the findings from perhaps the largest prospective studies including vegan cohorts: the EPIC-Oxford study and the Adventist Health Study (AHS).”
Cardiovascular disease is an increasing dilemma in America. In fact, one in every four deaths is due to heart disease. This number will change drastically when more people switch to the vegan lifestyle.
There is no question that the nutrients are out there. We do not have to rely on animals to get the proper daily amount of nutrients. It is actually safer to get your nutrients from fruits and vegetables rather than animal products. What, with all of the things they are doing to our animals now to produce more meat faster.
Food can be one of two things: medicine or poison.
There is no denying the fact that when you feed yourself fortified plant-based meals, instead of processed foods and meats; you will begin to look and feel healthier.
What Are Some Environmental Benefits of Veganism?
The current environmental state of our planet is at an all time low. Methane reduction has to be a priority. Most of human-related nitrous oxide in our air comes from the manure in livestock.
The greenhouse gas reductions through a vegan diet are essentially limitless.
Not only this, but if we all switch to a vegan diet our carbon footprint as a whole would reduce. We would no longer use nearly as much water, land or oil resources. This will directly lower the amount of pollution emitted from meat production.
There would be no need to continue burnings of the Amazon Rainforest. Reducing or eliminating the destruction of wildlife and endangered species’ habitats.
Most importantly, becoming a vegan affects the lives of animals drastically. At the moment, animals are grown in factories and pumped full of hormones. These hormones are used to increase their body mass beyond what’s natural for them, as well as quickening their cycle of growth. In addition, those hormones cause health problems, and disease in the animal, which we then end up consuming. Farmers opt for using hormones simply because it improves their profit margin, even if it means, hurting the end consumer–us.
These hormones end up in our waterways, polluting nautical environments and killing fish. And the fish that live, are swimming in such environments and then are eventually killed and used for food as well. Yet another risk factor for human health.
The vegan diet doesn’t just eliminate the pollution of waterways either. It also reduces the mass amounts of water we use to produce meat.
Below is an Image from Soy Foods:
Wheat uses even less water than soy, measuring ~1,500 gallons per ton.
We must learn to trust our farmers again. Becoming a vegan is a step in the right direction. There aren’t hormones pumped into our plants. And with the reduction of meat farms there would be little to no need for pesticide usage. Ultimately restoring our soil as well.
Soil used to be a great natural source of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is found in our soil which ends up on our produce. Soil used to be something you didn’t have to fear, but with the take over for meat farms we have no choice but to fear our own soil. This leads to the over sanitization of produce.
The vegan health benefits are truly limitless in regards to our bodies and the environment as well as economy. Buying locally grown produce and sustainably made clothing are great ways to not only support your vegan lifestyle but also supporting the economy.
Being a vegan is the way of the future, for the benefit of the planet as well as the human race. We must get back to the garden. The switch to becoming vegan doesn’t have to be a scary one. It doesn’t have to be all at once either. Be patient with yourself. It is a learning process, but it is one worth putting the time into. Your heart, gut and brain will thank you for it. The heart of the planet and the animals that inhabit it will thank you too.
Whether you are vegan or not, you have probably noticed more and more vegan-friendly restaurants and grocery store options. This is no accident. Many cities across the U.S are adopting the lifestyle. For those that are vegan or are considering making the switch, I have put together a couple lists to point out the best vegan-friendly cities in America. A list put together with the help of a few different studies.