Alicia Silverstone and Natalie Portman are vegans and so are many other celebrities including Virat Kohli and Sonam Kapoor.
People of all age groups and from various backgrounds and professions have been going vegan over recent years. It appears that the world is soon realizing the fact that going vegan is extremely beneficial and it is better to start now than never.
Go vegan “is a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty be it for food, clothing, or any other purpose”.
Veganism has been on the rise in the USA and UK. There has been a 500% rise in the number of vegans in the USA and a 300% rise in the number of vegans in the UK since 2014. India too is witnessing an unprecedented growth in the number of vegans over recent years.
Veganism has definitely become a trending topic especially after the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. But do you know why should you go vegan?
What do vegans eat and avoid?
Vegans eat a plant-based diet which includes
- fruits and vegetables,
- whole grains, lentils, legumes and
- nuts and seeds.
They exclude all animal products including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, milk, and honey. They also exclude products like gelatin as it is derived from the collagen taken from animal body parts
Why do people adopt vegan lifestyles?
People adopt vegan lifestyles for many reasons:-
Our health is impacted by the food we eat. We can either enjoy good health by eating nutritious food or end up with illnesses eating the junk food available in the market. There are many businesses that make money from us and it entirely depends on the choice we make and how conscious we are about our health.
Did you know that each day when a person eats a vegan diet, he saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sqft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal life?
In simple words, we as consumers have tremendous power to vote with our money. We can either create new businesses or put them out of business. But the decision to go vegan is way beyond the money aspect. Let’s understand the other reasons.
You read a couple of reasons above why people choose to go vegan or start a plant-based diet. People have different reasons for moving towards veganism and what keeps them motivated to make changes in their lifestyle.
Whether you are already a vegan or thinking of becoming one, the following points will definitely help in building up your conviction towards veganism.
Let us understand the health reasons for going vegan:-
- Lowers your risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes
Both the health conditions are extremely common these days and are created by man. It depends entirely on the food we choose to eat. Many doctors have been able to successfully reverse the cases of cardiovascular diseases by advising their patients to go on a low-fat vegan diet. This has saved many lives. Now many health organizations have acknowledged the fact that animal products contribute to these illnesses as they are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Treat or Reverse health conditions – It is truly said that “Health is wealth” and our health condition can erode our wealth. Hence we should take charge of our health and take all possible measures to get rid of any existing illnesses or prevent them from occurring.
More and more organizations are now stating that it is extremely beneficial to eat a vegan diet at all stages of life. This is because vegans have the lowest risk of developing illnesses like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and many others
A plant-based diet is very effective than medication and surgery while treating various diseases. The WHO has stated that processed meat is carcinogenic and there are many studies that show that dairy products cause cancer.
- Lose weight easily – Vegans enjoy a healthy BMI. Non-vegetarians generally have a higher BMI. This is because animal products are high in fat and have no carbohydrates. This fat gets easily converted to body fat compared to the calories from carbohydrates.
As most people tend to overeat animal products, they consume more calories than they consume on a plant-based diet. Also, we can find growth-stimulating hormones in animal products that are harmful to our bodies. Hence it is better to eat plants based products than animal products.
- Animal products are unhealthy and we don’t need to consume them – Every time we eat meat, eggs, or dairy, we are feeding on hormones, bacteria, antibiotics, and a host of other toxins that are harmful to our health. The hormones found in animal products can lead to cancer, obesity, and many other illnesses.
We have been taught since ages that it is necessary to consume milk for good health. This is all part of marketing campaigns by big companies. Just like mothers produce milk for their babies, the cow too produces milk for its calf and not for humans. Once we understand this connection, it becomes easier for everyone to accept this and adapt the change
- Improve your physical fitness – Many people fear that they will experience loss of energy and fatigue when they exclude animal products from their diet. Also, they may feel they lack proteins in their diet. But in reality, it is quite opposite. Meat and milk are extremely hard to digest and makes you feel lethargic and tired.
Hence by adopting a vegan diet, you can enjoy enough energy and strength which can help you reach your fitness goals. Looking at these benefits, we have also observed that enough number of athletes are turning vegan. No matter what sport you are playing or at what level, you will definitely get all the best nutrition and proteins needed from a whole food plant-based diet.
We need only 1gm of protein for 1 kg of our body weight. So on a daily basis, we may need between 50-85 grams of protein. This requirement can be easily met by eating green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The proteins that we get from a plant-based diet are of very good quality and contain less fat than animal products.
- Better skin and digestion – Many people find it hard to believe that skin health and digestion are related. If your digestion is good, you enjoy good skin health and vice versa. Many people suffer from acne and the root cause of it is consuming dairy products. We know that milk is extremely hard to digest. Many doctors don’t acknowledge this fact and tend to prescribe skin creams and medicines to improve the condition.
The secret to good health lies in what we eat.
If you stop consuming fatty foods including all animal products, oil, dairy and nuts, and seeds, you may start enjoying better skin. Fruits and vegetables too help in improving our skin as they are rich in vitamins and minerals. The fiber present in them also helps in eliminating the toxins of our body and in turn improves the skin.
- Boost your mood – By eliminating animal products from your diet, you are getting rid of all the stress hormones produced by the animals till they are slaughtered. These stress hormones significantly impact our mood. Whereas people who eat a plant-based diet enjoy good emotional health and experience less tension, anxiety, depression, stress, anger, and fatigue.
Healthy carbohydrates like brown rice, steel-cut oats, etc help in regulating the serotonin levels of the brain. Serotonin is responsible for controlling our mood. Hence a plant-based diet is the best for good health and is highly recommended to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The following are the environmental reasons to go vegan
- Be kind and compassionate towards all living beings –
Though many people are vegans just to enjoy good health, it doesn’t hurt to be kind to animals. Animals too have the right to live in this world and not for sacrificing their lives for the sake of humans. There is nothing humane happening in animal farming.
The animals are always abused and exploited for their meat, eggs, and milk. They are always kept caged and they survive in pathetic surroundings. This happens not only in the meat industry but also in the dairy and egg industries. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated with growth hormones, their calves are taken away, their milk is stolen and after a few years, they are killed for their meat. Similar kind treatment happens to chickens too.
- Save resources and reduce world hunger – Humans all over the world suffer a lot because they are highly dependant on animal products. Enough amount of grains are produced to feed the world population. But unfortunately, around 50% of the grains are eaten by animals and not by humans. Additionally, a lot of water gets used to produce animal products.
Being vegan can actually save up to 724,925 gallons of water per person each year and how powerful this change could be to save our planet.
- Save the environment and stop climate change –
Around 18 – 51% of manmade pollution emanates from the meat industry contributing to the greenhouse effect. It takes a lot of our fossil fuel energy to make a pound of flesh compared to the energy required to create plant-based products.
1 pound of hamburger meat equals 75KG of CO2 emission which is the same as using your car for 3 weeks at an average CO2 emission of 3kgs per day.
The wild animals too suffer a lot of consequences. Many species have become extinct and it is quite possible that we may not see some animals in the near future.
Veganism is beneficial for the following reasons too:-
- Become a chef and try creating new dishes:- Who said that only food made of animal products are tasty? There are a variety of dishes that you can cook with plant-based products. You probably haven’t even tried making half of them.
Its now time to don a chef’s hat and try out amazing new recipes and adapt the new taste without the animal products. All you have to do is find plant-based substitutes for animal products and use them accordingly to make your dishes tastier and healthier.
- Save a lot of money – Going vegan can be very economical. All you have to buy is fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, and seeds. Eliminating animal products can help you in cutting your food expenditure by half.
Eating a plant-based diet reduces your cravings also keeps you full for a long time. This will also prevent you from snacking on unhealthy products. Also, plant-based diets help in preventing and reversing chronic illnesses, reducing your medical expenses.
- Easy to adapt – Not sure if you are aware but most supermarkets today stock vegan products of all kind. There are a lot of plant-based substitutes available for milk like almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk. You can find coconut icecreams, vegan chocolates, mock meats, and more. The market for nondairy products is expected to reach $ 5Billion by 2020.
Also, a lot of restaurants offer vegan options. No matter whether you want to hop into a fast-food chain or a fine dining restaurant, you will be surprised to find the extensive vegan options.
How to go vegan?
Its time we let you know the secret sauce of going vegan. Going vegan is actually a piece of cake
Here are some steps that you can follow which make your journey smooth
- Take it slow – Some people may be able to change immediately while others may take time to change. So do things gradually over a period of time else the process can get overwhelming for you. For eg – Give up eating meat the first month, then give up fish the second month, dairy the third month, and so on.
- Do it right – Ensure that you get all the nutrients in your diet. Take supplements for Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 in case you are deficient.
- Try new things – Treat your tastebuds to new foods and flavors. You can start by substituting the animal products with plant-based substitutes and enjoy the new taste.
- Keep learning – Gain more knowledge about veganism. Join vegan organizations and take help whenever you need help.
Should you go vegan?
We have listed above many reasons why going vegan is extremely beneficial and how to go vegan? Its time to act now.
Your health is in your hands. Take charge of it today!!
We will be very happy to support you if you wish to change your lifestyle and start your vegan journey. We recommend you read more articles on veganism which will help in your journey.