How will changing to a vegan lifestyle benefit you? Perhaps you have recently decided to transition to a vegan lifestyle, you jumped in with both feet, or are reluctant to commit, but you might be wondering what’s in it for you. Here are some great benefits to going vegan.
1. You save countless animal lives.
This is often the most obvious reasons for people who decide to go vegan. It is true that you can save many lives by making this transition, not only by refusing to support the butcher of “food animals” but also through refusing to use cosmetics tested on animals, not wearing fur, not supporting captive animals in entertainment and speaking out for those who cannot. You are voting with your dollars. The more we reduce our ecological footprint, the more animals we are sparing from a gruesome life.
By going vegan, you stop paying others to conduct unspeakable acts of cruelty to animals all over the world. So just how many lives can you save by simply changing what you eat? According to PETA, by going vegan you can expect to “save” (or not financially support the death of) nearly 200 animals each year.
2. You will see clearer skin.
The fact is that you are what you eat. When you consume greasy, fatty flesh and other animal components, your cells will use that to generate new grease clogged cells. Before you know it your pores are full of the stuff that your body is desperately trying to rid itself of. But bring in those fresh, whole foods full of color and vitality and your skin will also be full of color and vitality. Fruit is especially adept at clearing up your skin, so don’t shy away from a few pounds of grapes.
3. A cornucopia of new foods.
Actually the definition of cornucopia includes contents such as produce, flowers and nuts. It is often surprising when you become a vegan how many foods you have never heard of before and the amount of variety that a vegan eats. Perhaps at one time you might have hesitated to try eggplant. But when you really put it into perspective, when you are trying new foods as a vegan you realize that it’s only plants. And there is truly nothing intimidating about plant foods.
The lovely thing about whole foods over flesh “foods” is that when you look at a flesh-eaters plate, you see mostly shades of brown and grey, but when you look at the contents of a vegan’s plate, you’ll find it has most of the colors of the rainbow. Your taste buds regenerate every 24 hours, and food that you once did not like you might find a liking for after removing the gunk of a SAD (Standard American Diet) from your daily meals.
4. It becomes easier to get fit.
Ditch the high fat animal products, and you’ll find you lose the fat in your body too. Don’t be alarmed, you won’t become stick-thin and pasty faced; you will however gain muscle mass and find you can lift more than you were before going vegan. No matter how you live or what you eat, exercise is a key component in living a healthy life. Don’t drag yourself down with the tissues of deceased, sentient beings. With a proper nutrition plan in place to help you reach your fitness goals, you’ll be the envy of the gym as everyone else tries to keep up.
5. You don’t stink.
Speaking of the gym, you might be able to safely ditch that deodorant. Decreased body odour is one of the first things a vegan will notice. Suddenly you are breaking a sweat and nobody is plugging their nose. This benefit does have a catch, however. Now that you don’t stink, everybody else does. Vegans and non-vegans have distinctly different body odours. This makes a lot of sense, if you consider the earlier point of clear skin. Rotting meat smells a lot worse than rotting fruit, and all of that greasy, stinky build up gets into your pores then you sweat it out. Clean cells, clean smells.
6. Lower risk of heart disease.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, eating a plant based diet is an effective way to lower your risk for heart disease and strokes, and to live an overall healthier lifestyle. One of the ways that becoming a vegan can do this is by reducing trans fats. While vegans are still exposed to trans fats, the amount is considerably less than those eating a SAD diet. Trans fats are commonly found in processed foods such as margarine, baked goods like cookies and other processed shelf-foods.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recognizes that meat is not good for cardiovascular health, and claims that a plant based diet is healthy when consideration is taken to meet all of your nutrient needs.
7. More energy.
When we clean up our bodies and free ourselves of difficult to digest, fatty, greasy animal products our body expends less energy on digestion and you have more stamina for activities that you enjoy. While plant foods are full of fibre and digest rather quickly, high fat food and meats are sluggish to move through the intestinal tract.
Ever wonder why you feel so tired after eating a big meal? When it comes to digestion and energy, fruitarians have it best. It takes only twenty minutes to an hour to digest their food and even when a fruitarian is full they don’t feel sluggish. It comes back to being what you eat. So fill up your plate with vibrant, living foods for better energy.
8. Vegan potlucks.
This is a really exciting benefit to starting on a vegan lifestyle. Many vegans often feel secluded by those around them when their lifestyle differs so greatly. It can get lonely as you deal with comments about eating “rabbit food” and it is tiring always having to defend your choices. That’s pretty backwards, right?
A vegan doesn’t hurt anybody for their meal and yet it is the vegans who have to defend their choices. But that is what is so great about vegan potlucks. You find yourself surrounded by like minded people who get it. Your world will be opened up with intelligent conversation about world issues, the best vegan recipes, and what activist events are coming up. Everybody is kind and compassionate, you don’t have to question any of the food’s ingredients, and there’s no heckling people about their food choices.
You can make it into an activism event by bringing along pamphlets to hand out to passers-by, or turn it into a party. There might even be some potlucks or events running nearby already, which a quick search of the internet may or may not reveal.
9. Help obliterate world hunger.
This point can not be stressed enough. The majority of grain and corn consumed on Earth is consumed by farmed animals. By supporting the growth of factory farms you are contributing to the problem. Even the United Nations agrees that a SAD diet is not sustainable for our population, and is promoting a global shift to a plant based diet. Aside from the ridiculous amount of grain consumption, farmed animals use up to 70% of fresh water available across the world.
Rather than using crops to feed the 7.5 billion people on Earth, a large amount of food is going to feed those 60 billion land animals used in farming practices. This is why it is so essential to reduce the demand for animals used in factory farms and farmed around the globe. We need that food for our starving population in impoverished countries and even in our own neighbourhoods.
10. Better sex.
Now that your body is clean, all of those hormones and chemicals have a clearer path to the nether regions. Your blood is pumping more efficiently, all of that fruit keeps you well hydrated, and your stamina revels that of world class champions. And with those fruity smelling pheromones, who could resist? But please be sure to use protection! While vegans are less susceptible to many common illnesses and diseases, STD’s and pregnancy aren’t on that list.
Vegans also have improved fertility, so unless you are planning for a lovely vegan baby, wrap it up! Just be sure that your protection is vegan friendly, as most condoms have casein, an animal protein that comes from dairy. Some vegan condom brands are Glyde and Sir Richard’s.
11. Becoming a true environmentalist.
If you have been in the vegan ‘community’ for a while, you have heard it before; “You can’t be an environmentalist unless you’re vegan.” The reason for this commonly used phrase is mostly because it’s true.
Thousands of acres of land are cleared from our rain forests for farming cattle. Since animal agriculture is not sustainable, and our population is so large, this destruction is happening on a daily basis. To be more precise 214,000 acres of rainforest are cleared daily to raise farmed animals – to grow the food to feed those animals, and to house the animals themselves. By comparison, it takes a non-vegan roughly 3.25 acres of land per year to feed themselves, and only 1/6th of an acre for a vegan. But we’re not only talking about the destruction of rainforests and land, there is much more to think about.
Animal agriculture leaves a nasty list of problems for our Mother Earth to handle, including water usage, water pollution, land use, chemical pollution, air pollution and energy use. That is a whole lot of resources my friends. These animals are pumped full of growth hormones, disease control medications, and antibiotics for the infections that they contract from horrid living conditions. They also let off a whole lot of stinky methane gas, feces pollution in the water, and are the number one cause of global warming.
12. New friends.
Not that there is anything wrong with your old or current friends, but isn’t it nice to meet new people? Vegans are social creatures like any other. A great way to meet new people is to look for vegan related events, or activist groups. It is fun to volunteer your time and get involved in something bigger than yourself, working as a team and finding diverse people coming together despite their differences. That is what being a vegan is all about, after all. We send out love and compassion to all beings, no matter what their species, color, intelligence, skills, gender, sexual preference or otherwise.
13. Decreased Medications.
You can kiss most prescription and over the counter medications good bye! Well with a doctor’s consent, of course. As your body goes through a detox from the SAD (Standard American Diet) and your health improves you will find that you are ditching the medications you used to take in favour of delicious food. Do not stop any medication without clearing it with your doctor.
Do vegans still get sick? Yes, sometimes they do. Luckily when a vegan catches a common cold it rears its ugly head in a mild case of the sniffles for two days, and then it is gone. Your trips to the good doctor will decrease until you only see them for routine check ups. By shifting to a vegan lifestyle and increasing your health, you decrease your need for medical interventions. This is the road to recovery.
14. Make your wallet happy.
Your non-leather wallet will thank you as you fill its belly with more cash than usual, all owed to the vegan lifestyle. There are many claims out there that following a vegan lifestyle is expensive. That is true, if you eat a lot of processed “food” that is really terrible for your body. There is such a thing as a junk food vegan, and it is important not to fall into that trap. Stick with whole foods and you will save countless dollars on your grocery bill. Things like dried beans, rice, seasonal produce, pasta and the occasional brick of organic tofu costs much less and goes a lot farther in the long run. Be sure to spend the majority of your grocery budget on fresh produce for optimal health.
15. Lower cancer risk.
Cancer is a big, bad word to many. Everybody has known somebody who has at least known somebody who suffered from cancer. The treatments are unbearable, often doing more harm than good and we have to wonder how the cancer got there in the first place.
It seems that there is a hormone in our bodies called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) that is important in childhood, but as an adult can cause cancer. This hormone is increased with meat consumption, and decreased with a vegan diet. This time, it is not your lucky stars that you need to thank for staying cancer free. This does not mean that vegans are at a zero risk percentage, as fat is also known to play a roll. However should a vegan develop cancer they have a much better chance of surviving it, but as a preventative keep your diet low in fat and avoid the junk food vegan trap.
16. A sense of purpose.
Joining the cause for animal rights is a very fulfilling experience, as you are filled with a sense of purpose and of creating positive change in the world. No longer will you be able to sit by and watch those crazy protestors that are causing a ruckus across the street – because you will be right there with them.
17. You’ll be great for the debate team.
One thing that you will quickly get used to as a vegan is butting heads with non-vegan people. You can bet that those people will want to challenge you on everything that you do, and you had better be ready. With all of the debates you’re going to get into no matter how hard you try to avoid it; you will be an excellent debate team member in your community.
18. Reverse diabetes.
Diabetes doesn’t have to be life or death, and you don’t have to be stuck with it for the rest of your life. A raw vegan diet has been shown to reverse the effects of diabetes, essentially being rid of it altogether. You might think that fruit is dangerous for a diabetic person, but it’s not actually the sugar in the fruit that is the issue. The real problem is the fat that blocks the sugar from being processed properly by our bodies.
While raw fruit, salads and smoothies are all really great, avoid juicing. The fibre is essential in slowing down the absorption of the fruit sugars, and without that fibre (which is removed by juicing) you can expect blood sugar spikes. While this mostly applies to type 2 diabetes, with eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables type 1 diabetes is easier managed as well.
19. A more complete diet.
A vegan diet is generally a more complete, well rounded diet. It is really easy to meet your nutrient requirements as a vegan, due to the amount of variety in a vegan diet as opposed to a SAD diet. Most people following a SAD diet greatly limit their food choices, and often have a need for multivitamins and supplements.
While there is a lot of debate over vitamin b12, it is the only supplement that a vegan needs. Here is a fun fact about vitamin b12; even those who consume animal flesh are b12 deficient. Animal products such as dairy can inhibit the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, and even calcium from dairy is not well used. In fact, it has been shown that dairy can lead to osteoporosis because when we can’t absorb the calcium from dairy our bodies pull calcium from our bones to keep our bodies healthy. It is much more beneficial to get calcium from non-dairy sources such as leafy greens.
20. Spend less time in the kitchen.
Vegan food is ridiculously fast and easy to prepare. Making a fruit smoothie takes less than five minutes, or open some cans of beans and whip up a fast bean salad. Along with reducing cooking times spent in that hot, sweltering kitchen the dishes are faster to wash without all the grease and burnt animal fat stuck to your pans. That glorious vegan bacon won’t leave lingering odours and you won’t have any blood to clean up off the counters or any worries about salmonella.
In conclusion, eating a vegan diet is easier, healthier, cleaner, and more efficient than eating a Standard American Diet. By switching to a plant based lifestyle you have everything to gain, and nothing to worry about losing.