Five Reasons to Go Vegan
Thinking about going vegan? Maybe famous people talking about the compassion angle has touched your heart, maybe you just bought Beyonce’s favorite cookbook, or maybe your vegan friend’s comments about chicken coops are finally getting to you.
Regardless of your initial motivation, we thought you might like to hear a few more benefits of removing animal products from your diet. So if you’re sitting on a fence between the cattle farm and the bean trees, consider these five reasons to go vegan today.
Many of us heard in middle school that greasy foods lead to greasy skin, so we simply bought thicker cover-up makeup and kept chomping on those fries. The underlying truth, however, hasn’t gone anywhere. Diet does impact skin — and the vegan diet can impact it in a lovely way.
According to Dr. Deepa Verma, high-fiber and low-saturated-fat foods help control sugar metabolism — which is suspected to cause acne. Also, the antioxidants that come from all those fruits and vegetables can reduce zit formation, make your skin glow and prevent damage to cells and tissues. Vegan diets also eliminate dairy, which is another acne culprit.
Out-of-whack hormones take many forms. Fatigue, mood swings, headaches, trouble concentrating, blood sugar issues, changes in libido, irregular periods, trouble sleeping, stomach issues. The list goes on, so it’s reassuring to learn that eating vegan can usually help.
Avoiding meat means cutting out the genetically modified grains animals are typically fed; eliminating milk spares you the oestrogen those pregnant cows put out; and the detoxifying power of vegetables removes toxins and hormones from your body while helping to balance levels of oestrogen. Seeds and nuts are helpful too: lignans that are found in sunflower, sesame and flax seeds work to moderate oestrogen levels and — along with nuts and other seeds — have omega-3 fatty acids, which are building blocks to anti-inflammatory hormones (called eicosanoids). Speaking of healthy fats, those that you get from avocados and coconuts really help with sex and stress hormones — so bring on the guac and pina coladas!
And no, it’s not because you’re so weak from steak abstinence (as the haters might try to make you think). A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that diets too low in fiber and too high in saturated fat and sugar — all of which are unfortunately common with today’s omnivorous habits — are linked with disrupted, less restorative sleep.
The vegan diet, on the other hand, is famously rich in fiber and low in saturated fat — essentially the recipe for good sleep. When journalist Jere Downs wrote about her experience with trying a vegan diet, she shared her pleasant surprise that sleep was “deep and uninterrupted” and that her “eyes pop open at 6am.”
More energy — if you choose wisely
One challenge of following a healthy vegan diet is the limited access to foods that are, well, vegan. Being a vegan doesn’t mean skipping the meat and just eating the sides at your friend’s dinner party or downing frosting-free pop tarts for breakfast. Okay, it can mean those sometimes. Vegans are human too.
To thrive on a vegan diet, you must plan ahead and eat a diverse array of smartly-chosen foods. PETA says this includes plant-based protein, omega-3s, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and iron. If you’re about to embark on veganism — or if you've been a practicing vegan for years — it would be wise to consult with a nutritionist (or at least a good vegan cookbook) to ensure you’re regularly meeting your body’s needs for day-to-day strength, health and vitality.
There’s one particularly selfless reason to go vegan: it’s better for the environment. As Dr. George C. Wang writes in his piece, Go Vegan, Save the Planet, data surrounding how a meat-based diet impacts the world is compelling.
Consider Wang’s most stunning facts: Emissions from production of beef and lamb are 250 times higher than that of legumes production; more than one-third of the world’s grains go to feeding livestock instead of the nearly 800 hundred million people who are currently going hungry; and 80% of all Amazon deforestation is due to cattle-raising.
Even Mother Nature wants you to skip the burgers for awhile.
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