January is here once again, and many people all over the world are picking up the annual Veganuary challenge: eating no animal products for a full month. In honour of these brave dietary explorers, today we’re going to look at some of the perks associated with a vegan diet.
There are many different reasons that someone might choose to go vegan, whether it’s for a month or for good. Some want clear skin and a way to lose weight, others want to improve their health or lessen the plight of farmed animals. In honour of Veganuary (vegan January!), today we’re going to discuss just a few of the most exciting benefits you can look forward to.
Some transition from meat-eating to flexitarian to veggie to vegan, others go straight from carnivore to herbivore. Books like Eat to Live, Need2Know’s The Essential Vegan Cookbook and The China Study all provide heaps of information about the perks and challenges of veganism, and cookbooks like The Essential Vegan Cookbook are vital tools in the journey to veganism.
From our emotional and psychological wellbeing to our ability to fight disease, a vast array of health perks have been linked to the vegan lifestyle in recent years.
The vast majority of vegans don’t follow the diet because they don’t like the taste of meat or cheese, but because the reasons that compel them to avoid these foods outweigh the factors that might tempt them into eating them. Many believe that adopting a vegan diet has been the best decision they have ever made, and years into the lifestyle will be able to list countless reasons to follow the diet. We can’t hope to list all of those benefits, but here are just a few.
Feel the benefits of getting all the nutrients you need
When moving to a vegan diet from a more typical, meat-eating Western diet, eliminating meat and animal products is the name of the game. While many people argue that this will lead to a vegan becoming malnourished (“You can’t possibly be getting enough protein!”), other foods swiftly come in to replace the eliminated ingredients. This can then contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients, as these healthy foods typically make up a larger percentage of a vegan’s daily diet than they would an omnivore’s.
Feel healthier than ever before
Most people will laugh out loud if you tell them that after a few years of veganism they’ll be able to snowboard or live an athletic life of running or swimming. But these things can all become part of your life, even if they seem impossible now. It isn’t that cutting out meat and animal products will magically improve your fitness and stamina, but that successfully making one change to improve your health will make other changes feel more manageable, and a much larger life transformation will be possible.
If on a whole-foods vegan diet you are able to replace a cheeseburger and chips with healthier things like whole wheat, peas, beans, fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds, why shouldn’t you be able to replace an hour of TV with an hour of running?
Saying “no” to unhealthy snacks is a challenge for most of us. The bag of crisps in the vending machine, the snickers in the checkout line and the cupcake in the bakery window all call out to us. This often becomes easier after some time on a vegan diet. Most of the unhealthy foods we encounter on a daily basis contain animal products, and while it’s sometimes easy to justify cheating on a normal, weight loss-oriented diet, it’s a little harder to justify giving up on a vegan lifestyle you’ve worked hard to build.
Get your weight under control
Even during periods of inactivity, a healthy vegan diet makes you less likely to gain weight provided you make good choices. Weight loss doesn’t happen automatically as a result of veganism, but it can be helped by the healthier foods you are eating. Beneficial plant compounds, fibre and antioxidants, for instance, tend to be found in higher quantities in vegan diets according to several studies.
Whatever your genetic makeup, a healthy diet makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. It’s important to note, however, that not all vegan diets have the same nutritional benefits. This is why fast-food vegan options and dishes that are otherwise low in nutrients should be avoided.
For more information on diet planning and food values visit: www.weightlossresources.co.uk.
Eat well: Magnesium, vitamins A, C and E, potassium and folate are all believed to be found in higher quantities in vegan diets than in meat-eating diets. If you fail to plan properly, however, your vegan diet may leave you short on calcium, iodine, essential fatty acids, zinc or vitamin B12.
Remember your diet is bigger than yourself
You can help humanity, your health, the planet and animals all at the same time if you adopt a plant-based diet. You don’t have to act or feel superior to those around you, but it is nice to know you’re doing your bit.
Say “Farewell” to fatigue
Many of us feel tired on a regular basis, no matter how much coffee we drink. While insomnia is a condition that needs to be treated professionally, a vegan diet can leave you feeling more energised if your lack of zest is coming from a heavy, difficult-to-digest diet.
For more information about veganism, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Food for Health, the ultimate nutritional guide to self-sufficient health and wellbeing; it shows you how to look after your health using everyday foods. Need2Know also have some great books about cholesterol and weight loss. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan, considering adopting a new lifestyle or just curious, we have all the information you need!