Plant-based diets have been picking up speed in recent years, and chances are you’ve wondered once or twice what all the fuss is about. More and more people are going vegan, and innovations in vegan food are becoming available every day. Many hypotheses point to plant-based diets being the natural way humans evolved to eat, with evidence from the digestive tract to the shape of our teeth. There are so many reasons to try a plant-based diet, and it’s easier than ever.
Plant-based living is healthy for the body, the planet and animals, and there are many different ways to get started. You can take the plunge and go fully vegan from the jump, go vegetarian first or give yourself some wiggle room by slowly eliminating animal foods from your diet. No matter how you choose to go about it, trying out a plant-based diet can revolutionize your life in ways you never expected.
1. For the Animals
It’s no secret factory farming is a brutal, inhumane practice that doesn’t value and respect the lives of all living creatures. Even foods like dairy and eggs are not immune to the brutality of modern agriculture. Veganism invites you to consider your values overall — can you justify tormenting and killing livestock for food when other nutritious, cruelty-free options are available?
Eating a plant-based diet can help you lead a much more ethical existence. It invites you to have a more honest, healthy relationship with the origins of your food.
2. For Your Energy
A plant-based diet can do wonders for your vitality. Many people experience a boost in their stamina immediately after starting their plant-based journey, which is no surprise, considering the abundance of energy-rich foods a plant-based diet offers. Specifically, carbohydrates are the source our bodies rely on most for energy, and many plant-based foods are naturally excellent sources of healthy carbohydrates.
Foods like lentils, quinoa, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are rich in healthy carbs, and regularly eating them can uplift you, rather than dragging you down with heavy meals and fatty foods.
3. For the Planet
Large-scale animal agriculture is one of the most harmful industries to the planet, an international leader in carbon emissions and resource consumption. Factory farming requires an immense amount of land, but most of the farmland dedicated to growing crops doesn’t feed humans — instead, it provides food for animals. Calorically, the amount of food each animal product provides doesn’t measure up to the resources it takes to produce. It takes almost 20 times less land to feed a vegan than it does to feed someone who eats a standard diet.
Only fossil fuel-based transportation produces more carbon emissions than factory farming. Animal agriculture is a significant part of climate change, no matter how you slice it. Trying a plant-based diet or even reducing the animal products in your current diet can improve the health of the planet.
4. For Your Weight
Often, being conscious about your diet and trying to eat healthier can control your weight. Switching to plant-based living can help level you out, whether you want to maintain your current weight or shed a few pounds. Veganism specifically eliminates many unhealthy sources of fat and weight gain, such as red meat and many processed foods.
Of course, there are ways to be vegan that aren’t as healthy, but when you focus on whole plant foods that are rich in nutrients, you can achieve your goal weight or maintain your target weight.
5. For Your Immune System
Studies show links between veganism and disease prevention — specifically, things like cancer, heart disease and other health conditions that tend to accompany meat consumption. Eating a healthier diet rich in vitamins, minerals and water can decrease overall risks for common illnesses, so you get sick less often from all angles.
6. For the Flavors
It’s hard to argue with the delicious side of vegan food. While the idea of veganism may seem restrictive in the sense that you’re removing foods from your diet, going plant-based can introduce you to so many new foods and flavors you’ve never experienced before. Exploring new cuisines can be an exciting — and fun — part of going vegan.
Experiment with some new recipes and food spots you’ve been itching to try. Get recommendations from vegans and vegetarians in your life and start making some favorites. Chances are, you’ll find a few staples you love.
Make the Jump
Whether you’re easing in gently or making the switch overnight, you’ll find abundant benefits to going plant-based. Help fellow animals, respect Mother Earth and gain a bit of pep in your step — the world of veganism awaits you.