1. Do it for the Environment
It takes far less energy and resources from the planet to farm plants than it does animals. Gary Null points out that “the breeding and slaughter of animals, and the subsequent processing and packaging of the meat, requires an inordinate amount of land, water, energy, and raw materials.” In addition the production of meat generates way more greenhouse gas emissions than the growth of plant based food. In our current culture when caring for the environment has become a moral obligation rather than a choice, going vegan is another thing we can do to help our beautiful planet earth.
2. Vegan Diets are Cholesterol Free
The only foods that contain cholesterol are animal products. Cut out dairy, eggs, cheese and meat and you will completely eliminate the cholesterol in your diet. Add cholesterol-lowering legumes such as kidney beans and chickpeas and you will never have to worry about your triglyceride and LDL levels again.
3. Reduce the Amount of Hormones and Chemicals You Ingest
Treating animals with hormones to speed growth and increase productivity is a widely accepted practice within the meat and meat by-product industries. Hormone residues in meat and meat products can disrupt the hormonal balance for many humans. Take for example a common growth hormone called estradiol, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health has raised evidence that suggests this hormone is a carcinogen that exerts both tumor initiating and promoting effects.
4. A Healthy Vegan Diet is a Low-Fat Diet
A vegan diet is naturally low in fat. One hundred grams of mature boiled chickpeas contains only 2.6 grams of fat of which only 0.27 gram is saturated. Of course the 7.6 grams of dietary fiber in that same serving of chickpeas will quickly carry that out of your system. Tofu contains only 4 g of fat per 100 g. Compare that with cheddar cheese which contains 15 g of fat per 100 g – more than four times the amount.
5. A Vegan Diet is High in Fiber
By its very nature a vegan diet is high in fiber. Animal products have absolutely no fiber. Legumes on the other hand are one of the most fiber rich plant source foods on the planet. Pair the legumes with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and you are well on your way to the 25-35 g of fiber recommended daily. (The average North American consumes only 10 g of fiber per day).
6. Vegans Eat a Wide Variety of Protein Sources
As a holistic lifestyle and nutrition coach I often ask my clients, “What are your protein sources?” The answer is simple: chicken. Day after day, night after night. My vegan clients on the other hand choose a wide variety of protein sources from legumes and nuts to tempeh and hemp.
7. Vegans are Healthier
The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada found vegetarians have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported high fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, several common cancers, and other chronic diseases (such as macular degeneration and cataracts).
8. It is possible to get B12 and Iron from a Vegan Diet
There is a myth that because vegans do not consume fish, milk and milk products, eggs, red meat, and poultry they could not possibly be getting enough of iron or B12 without supplements. Many people do not realize that B12 is naturally available in miso and nutritional yeast. Iron on the other hand occurs naturally in spinach, legumes and pumpkin seeds.
9. A vegan diet is an Alkaline Forming
An acidic environment in the body keeps the body from achieving optimal health. Over consumption of acid forming foods including meat, dairy, refined grains, and sugars leads to obesity, fatigue, kidney stones, viruses, bacterial infections, cancer and fatigue. Consuming an alkaline forming diet including plenty of chlorophyll-rich vegetables creates an environment for health in the body.
10. Do it for the Animals
Concern for the ethical treatment of animals is a powerful reason to eat a vegan diet. Many animals are kept and transported in abysmal crowded conditions and slaughtered inhumanely. Compassionate living is synonymous with a vegan diet.
Dr. Melissa West is a holistic lifestyle coach who has helped motivated clients make the switch to a vegan diet. For more information visit her website at http://www.melissawest.com