The new year gives us the opportunity to try and wipe the slate clean and start being the healthiest version of ourselves. A plant-based diet packed with a variety of fruits and veggies has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other health complications and this is just the beginning of the health benefits.
We’ve compiled a list of reasons why you might consider trying vegan this January, or better yet – for the rest of the year!
- A Vegan Diet is Better for Your Heart
A vegan diet has been proven to lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Both of these conditions are amongst the most common causes of death in the Western world, and they are completely preventable. But beyond prevention, a plant-based diet is the only treatment that has been scientifically proven to reverse heart disease. Animal products are rich in saturated fat and cholesterol and are major contributors to both heart disease and diabetes.
- A Vegan Diet Can be Very Beneficial to Your Health
More and more major health organizations are now stating that it’s healthy to eat a well-balanced vegan diet, and many even recommend a vegan diet over any other. Recent studies have shown that vegans have lower rates of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and even alzheimer’s.
The World Health Organization has also stated that processed meat is carcinogenic, and often contain bacteria, antibiotics, hormones, dioxins, and a host of other toxins that can be dangerous to our health.
- It Can Help You Improve Your Fitness
Most people fear a loss of energy or muscle mass when abstaining from animal products, but quite the opposite is true. Meat and dairy are especially hard to digest, which means they use a lot of your energy, often leaving you feeling sluggish and tired. Adopting a vegan diet in no way hinders you from reaching your fitness goals and may give you a nice boost of added energy and strength.
You don’t even have to watch your protein intake very much, most plant-based foods contain protein, and it can be of great quality too. The 40-50 grams minimum that you need per day can easily be met by eating meat alternatives such as green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts or seeds.
- You’ll Get to Try Amazing New Dishes
Have you ever had a buddha bowl? What about a vegan curry? There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world, of which somewhere between 150 and 200 have been domesticated and farmed. You probably haven’t tried even half of them yet. Trying new, delicious recipes broadens your horizon, your taste buds, and lets you discover delicious and healthy dishes you wouldn’t have thought of in the beginning.
- You Don’t Have to Give Up Your Favourite Meals
Almost every meal you can think of can be veganized. The key is finding the right replacements – like quorn instead of meat, vegan cheese instead of dairy, soy milk instead of cow’s milk or flaxseeds instead of eggs. You don’t have to cut back on taste at all. There are so many different plant-based options available, including meat alternatives, dairy alternatives and even vegan eggs!
It is important to note that going vegan is a big decision, don’t force yourself to make a big change overnight. Make sure to ease your way into a vegan diet – it’s really important that you’re making sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Keep an eye on your protein intake, but it’s even more important for you to keep an eye on your intake of vitamin B12, omega-3 and -6fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium. You may require supplements to keep your levels at the optimum rates.