Millions of people change their diet every year to lose weight, recover from a health scare, or simply improve their lifestyle. From countless diets and cleanses to pick from– Atkins to Zone, paleo, liquid, raw, pescatarian, vegetarian, etc.– a vegan diet has the most solid, research-proven benefits. Here’s a list of the top 10 reasons to go vegan:
1. You’ll save the planet
Vegans are green! A vegan, plant-based diet is far more environmentally friendly than any other. It reduces pollution and global warming (the over one BILLION cattle raised for meat or dairy in the world emit 60 million tons of methane per year. Cattle alone cause more environmental damage than cars. Gross.) It requires less land, energy, fossil fuels, and water. It saves trees and rainforests. A United Nations study called “Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production,” states “a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.” Overall, once you’re a proper vegan, you’re basically Captain Planet.
2. You’ll live longer
Studies and research have proven that the health benefits of a vegan diet help to increase your lifespan by up to 30%. A study by the German Cancer Research Center in 2002 that separated vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters concluded that, on average, specifically vegans will live longer.
3. You’ll help solve world hunger
Not only will *you* live longer, but the millions of people starving in the world will too. It’s hard to believe the irony that world hunger and obesity are two of the most prominent health and social problems of today’s world. Think of all the food that goes to fattening livestock and farm raised fish…in turn to fatten the gluttons of society. This food is essentially wasted when you consider how the vegan diet doesn’t require any of that. With the amount of vegetable protein fed to US cattle alone, we could feed the nearly the entire populations of India and China – two billion.
4. You’ll save animals
You don’t need to watch “Meet your Meat” (see video below) or “Earthlings” to understand how eating animals and their byproducts harms them. Aside from the act of killing the animals for food, the horrific conditions in which they are raised and how poorly they are treated throughout the agriculture industry is appalling. If you go vegan, you alone will save more than 100 animals a year from abuse and death. And if you’re one of those who thinks, “Hey, it’s not like I’m eating cats or dogs,” all the animals we eat–cows, pigs, chicken, fish, goats, etc., have proven to be as emotional and intelligent as any animals we house as pets. Check out this PETA article about pigs.
5. You’ll save money
You get a lot more bang for your buck with a plant-based diet than any other. Buying vegetables and grains at the grocery store will rack up a much smaller bill than when you’re buying meat and fancy cheeses. And not only will you be saving yourself money, but the American national debt/dependency on the pharmaceutical and medical industries would also be radically reduced.
6. You’ll reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases
Countless studies have linked the causes of health problems and many diseases to meat and dairy. Researchers and doctors have linked the cause and spread of certain cancers to animal protein, and some have even gone as far as concluding that a simple plant-based diet could even help treat cancer. You will also be avoiding all the toxins, hormones (that cause things like abnormal puberty and infertility), and the disgusting contaminants in meat and dairy such as feces and blood that are the top cause of food poisoning. Vegans have reduced risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and healthier cholesterol levels. They also have a higher intake of vitamins A, C, and E.
7. You’ll lose weight (if you do it right)
One of the main health concerns in America is obesity in adults and even more disconcerting, in children. And although vegans have the lowest rate of obesity of any diet group, even 2% of vegans are obese. That said, there are good and bad ways to do everything, and it is definitely possible to be a junk food vegan. But if you eat a plant-based vegan diet, you will inadvertently eliminate all the unhealthy, fatty foods and toxins that cause weight gain. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine published this article on how to lose weight properly on a vegan diet. Once you make the move towards a vegan lifestyle, you will have more energy to exercise so you can sustain your new, healthier body.
8. You’ll love the food
We promise! And the food will love you back. If you’re worried about what you’ll have to sacrifice in order to go vegan, it’s only because you have not explored the vast and delicious world of vegan cuisine. In addition to the growing vegan industry providing tasty alternatives to meat and dairy, most cities boast at least a few awesome vegan restaurants, many of which are world-famous such as Millennium and Candle 79. And when you feel like experimenting in your own kitchen, check out these delicious vegan recipes!
9. You’ll be cool
For all the above reasons, going vegan has become a lifestyle trend among doctors, scholars, celebrities, athletes, nutritionists and more. Just to name a few: Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Carrie Underwood, Dr. Neil Barnard, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Bill Clinton are all vegan. Being healthy is the new black. The best way to start is with your diet. And the healthiest most sustainable diet is vegan.
10. It’s easy!
If saving the world, solving world hunger, and a healthier lifestyle aren’t reason enough to skip the meat, it must be because you’re lazy to make sacrifices and changes. Going vegan has become increasingly easy and convenient. First of all, by sticking to grains and produce, you’ll be eating the healthiest vegan diet of all by default. But just because you decided to go vegan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite foods. There are hundreds of free resources to help you figure out how to make it work for you. Websites like Yelp and Chowhound will help you find the best vegan friendly restaurants in your area. Documentaries like the “Forks Over Knives” and “Food, Inc.” provide great information and statistics to motivate you. Don’t forget– all natural foods are inherently vegan. There is no proof that people have to eat animal meat or products to be healthy, yet evidence is overwhelming that you are better off without it.
Got another reason to share? We’d love to hear your feedback! Add a comment with your own input or questions on going vegan. And if you found this article useful, help spread the word by sharing our top ten reasons to go vegan with your friends by using the share buttons below!