With the help of several celebrities, veggie power has increased not only in select Hollywood circles, but also in our neighbourhoods as well. People throw around the terms plant-based and vegan interchangeably, and since they are not quite the same, but have similar qualities, it can be confusing.
“Plant-based” is a commitment to eating a diet that focuses around the whole, plant foods. Whole foods have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free of artificial substances and additives.
Although the focus is on plant foods, which include fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, plant-based dieters also eliminate ALL animal’s products and byproducts. Being a vegan means not only eliminating animal products from their diet but from all aspects of their lives.
Veganism is a lifestyle choice that includes health, politics and ethics. So, both a vegan and someone following a plant-based lifestyle could eat a basket of fries, because technically it is not an animal product.
However, the person eating a plant-based diet would not consider eating a basket of fries, because the way it is cooked makes it ineligible as a whole food. Eating a diet rich in trans fats and saturated fats, which technically a vegan could, would not make the cut in a whole food plant-based lifestyle.
The focus is on naturally occurring monounsaturated fats derived from plants.
Even though both of these lifestyles have become a bit more mainstream, people continue to discredit them and their many benefits. The following are my top 7 reasons to adopt a plant-based lifestyle.
1. The Moral And Ethical Treatment Of Animals
This one is hard for me to wrap my head around most of the time. I cannot tell you how many times a day I hear people say “I’m an animal lover or I could never hurt an animal”, yet the dinner they go home and serve to their families is a complete contradiction to those statements.
People fail to educate themselves on how their food is getting to them and the horrific, unspeakable, inhumane, conditions that food is cultivated in. These animals do not have a voice, but we do.
People always say that one person cannot make a difference, but they can, especially if they stop spending their hard-earned dollars supporting those businesses who contribute to the unethical treatment of animals for food and products.
2. A Plant-Based Diet Is The Most Healthful Way Possible To Eat
It’s been researched and studied and time and time again, plant-based wins the day when it comes to warding off and reversing illness. High cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity can be kept at bay while following a whole foods approach to health.
Although many of us are genetically predisposed to these illnesses, often the deciding factor of these illnesses coming to fruition is diet and lifestyle. A plant-based diet can actually turn off cancer genes, slow the aging process (who is going to be mad about that?) and improve inflammation, weight, and vascular health.
By practicing a whole food, plant-based diet, you open yourself up to an alternative way of eating and living that in return promises amazing health benefits.
3. Our Environment Cannot Sustain Itself On The Amount Of Meat Being Produced And Consumed
With the population growing and the amount of land, water, and grains it takes to produce animal products, our planet will not be able to withstand it.
We are seeing some pretty severe consequences from ignoring this problem in the form of massive hurricanes that have devastated areas, earthquakes, droughts, and heat waves. The carbon footprint of those who follow a plant-centric diet versus those who follow a meat-centric one is drastically different.
Raising livestock for food creates more climate raising gasses than all of the cars, planes, and trains combined.
In the documentary, Forks over Knives, they go into great detail about the ugly truth of the effects raising and killing animals for food and products has on the planet, I would highly recommend watching it, and taking a few steps yourself to lessen your negative impact on the environment.
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4. “I Could Never Afford To Eat a Plant-Based Diet”
This is something that I hear almost daily, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. When you compare the cost per pound of eating steak for example, to the cost per pound of eating lentils, the difference is astounding.
And, to boot, lentils are more nutrient dense and are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Planning your meals is also a helpful tool in saving some money in the checkout line.
Research ahead of time the veggies that are going to be on sale for the week and then build your meal plan around that.
5. This Lifestyle Is Better Than Any Weight-Loss Pill You Could Take
The pounds will naturally come off following a plant-based whole foods diet, and the best part is that unlike most other diets, this one is a sustainable long term for keeping the weight off! I indulge every day in unlimited veggies which I cook in a variety of tasty ways.
And because the center of this diet revolves around vegetables, which are so low calories, that there is no need for calorie counting. It’s just about eating good, pure food that nourishes you, and the side effect to that will be inches off your waistline.
6. “But What Do You Eat”
This rivals the “it’s too expensive” comments. When you eliminate meat, dairy, and processed foods from your diet, people become quite confused as to what you actually eat.
And I like to tell them all the other hundreds and hundreds of options of real food, which includes over 400 types of veggies and also many different types of whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fruit. The soups, stews, casseroles, and desserts you can make with this amount of resources is not only incredible it’s mouthwatering.
Keep an open mind and allow yourself to try something new. It can be a fun way to explore the different options you have available to you in your area and have never tried.
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7. “Your Body Is Precious. It Is Your Vehicle For Awakening. Treat It With Care”
(BUDDHA) That quote from Buddha tells us the story of what coming to a plant-based lifestyle looks like.
One day, we wake up. We look at our lives up to this point and know that we are capable of doing better for ourselves and the greater good of the people around us and the planet. We look around at all the suffering in the world, and decide to be one less person contributing to it.
We decided to open our minds to a new way of living, where the promise is health, well-being and compassion for all beings.
After letting this information sink in a little bit, I challenge you to incorporate, if nothing else, a meatless Monday. Even if every single American went plant-based for just one day, the statistics of the conservation of resources and also the prevention of environmental damage is mind-blowing.
So, keep an open mind and an open heart and enjoy the journey of being awakened to a new way of living.
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