There are many reasons that people adopt a plant-based diet. For some it is about animal welfare, the environment, or health. For me eating more plant-based meals and days is about my health. Not that the other reasons don’t deserve merit, it’s just that my personal driving force is my overall health. I really don’t like the label of being a vegan, a vegetarian, a flexitarian, a pescetarian or all of the other labels out there. I don’t feel that it needs to be an all or nothing situation for most people. If you are curious about why I am eating more whole-food, plant-based meals, then read on to find out my top 7 benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.
I realize a vegan diet doesn’t sound too appetizing to most meat, cheese, and egg lovers. However, a plant-based diet can be kind to your health and your wallet. You also gain the benefit of knowing that you’re being kinder to animals and the environment. Making the switch isn’t easy, but you might find it a little easier if you know more about the benefits that eating more plants and less animals provides.
Keep in mind, it’s not necessary to make a complete change overnight. Make the change slowly over time. Note how you feel and then decide how you’d like to progress. For me, I feel much lighter and healthier when I add more plants to my life.
7 Benefits of Adopting a Plant-Based Diet
- Loads of research shows that vegans enjoy better overall health. You can count on having lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body weight, risk of heart disease, and risk of Type-2 diabetes. Just look to the Blue Zones where longevity averages 10 – 12 years longer than most anywhere else. One of the biggest commonalities between all of the Blue Zone areas is a whole-food, plant-based diet. Yes, there is some meat consumption in some of the areas – but the average is 5 meat meals a month. That is far lower than the standard American diet.
- Plant-based is better for the environment. The resources necessary for meat production are significant. Far more water and land are required to provide one serving of beef than one serving of fruit, grains, or vegetables. Consider how much grain a cow or pig must consume to reach adult weight.
- It can be kinder to animals. Depending on where you purchase your meat products. I purchase my meat products at my local farmer’s market where I can talk to the vendor about how the animals are raised. This is a whole lot more expensive! On average I pay $6.25 per pound for pasture-raised, organic chicken. That means my whole chickens run $25 on average. At that cost, I normally eat less meat! But consider the alternative. Most animals raised for meat live in poor, unhealthy, and cruel conditions.
- Disease prevention. Vegans enjoy lower incidence of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, and osteoporosis.
- Lower body weight. Vegan populations have lower body mass indices that those that consume meat regularly.
- Longevity is increased. Those that avoid meat and milk products live an average of six years longer than those that consume those food products. A vegan lifestyle can be a reliable way to ensure you spend a few more years living your life. This is one of the main reasons that I am adding more vegan days to my life. Adopting even more of the Blue Zone attributes may increase longevity even more.
- A plant-based diet can be less expensive. Meat and cheese tend to be expensive food items. Consider how inexpensive beans, rice, oatmeal, and many vegetables can be. That’s not to say a vegan can’t spend a lot of money at the grocery store, but the option to keep food costs to a minimum is there.
I don’t know if I will ever become a full-fledge vegan. I am simply trying to make the shift to having more vegan meals and more vegan days. I have a friend that is VB6 – That means vegan before six. Basically, all meals other than a light dinner are vegan based. Some people eat a vegan diet 3-4 days each week. However you choose to add more whole-food, plant based meals to your day – each bit helps.
Becoming vegan requires dedication, planning, and sacrifice. There are many benefits you’ll enjoy by eating a vegan diet. The diet can benefit your health, finances, self-esteem, and your waistline. The environment also benefits when fewer animal products are consumed. Consider these advantages and decide if a vegan diet is for you.
Start slowly and have a few plant-based meals each week. Notice how you feel 2-4 hours after consuming them. This alone might be a good enough reason to make the switch.
Let me know if you decide to add more plant-based meals to your weekly meal plan. I’d love to hear how it works for you!