This month is Vegetarian Awareness Month and we’ve been posting every day to help raise awareness about what it means to be vegetarian / vegan.
Having been vegan for more than a decade now, we’ve had our share of moments when people first discover the reality of our choice. Almost right away, questions start. And usually, the first one (or second one, after the protein one) is WHY? So, we thought we’d tackle that question in today’s post.
Why become vegan?
Actually, the answer to “WHY BECOME VEGAN?” does not have one simple answer and for every vegan the answer is different. Many vegans have chosen their lifestyle because of a variety of reasons, as is the case with us. So, we will explain why we became vegan in a series of posts.
Today’s reason is HEALTH.
When most people make the switch to a more plant-based diet, their health is drastically affected – for the better. I was a big fast-food eater before I became vegan. Once I made the switch, I went from a size 16 to a size 6! (Remember I said most!)
What does the research say about a vegan / vegetarian diet?
Vegetarian and vegan diets are connected to lower rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, gallstones, and kidney stones.
The reason for these connections is because:
- Vegans / vegetarians usually eat LESS fat.
- Vegans / vegetarians usually eat LESS cholesterol. (Vegans eat NONE because cholesterol in the diet comes from animal products.)
- Vegans / vegetarians usually eat MORE fiber.
- Vegans / vegetarians usually eat MORE antioxidants.
- Vegans / vegetarians take in just the right amount of protein. Too much protein has been linked to higher risks for osteoporosis, kidney disease, raised cholesterol and cancer.
- Vegans / vegetarians usually eat MORE phytochemicals, which help prevent all kinds of disease.
Don’t get us wrong: it is possible to eat a vegan diet that is NOT healthy! After all, potato chips, french fries, and OREO cookies are all examples of vegan foods! Avoid the junk and go for the whole foods and you’ll be good to go! (And, of course, get up and move around! Exercise is an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle!)
If you’re looking for a way to improve your general health, try adding more plant-based foods to your diet!
Want to read more about health issues and veganism? Try these resources:
- “The Vegetarian Way” by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD
- VeganHealth.org: Maintained by Jack Norris, Registered Dietitian
- Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)