Since May is the first month of my 3 months of wellness, I think one of the first things that I need to work on is my diet.
Now, I’m not saying that my diet is bad; for a college student without extra money to spend on extra food, especially since I have a food plan with my sorority, my diet is decently healthy. But I have had a hard time sticking to the diet that I really want to be on. And what is that diet?
I know that through recent years, veganism has hit almost a fad level in our culture, but what people usually forget is that this diet has many benefits other than “losing weight”. It also goes beyond PETA and animal rights. (I will say that I do believe that animal cruelty is a problem and I think animals deserve love, not to be killed.)
Living on a vegan diet has been proven to reap lifelong health benefits, along with emotional benefits, since knowing you’re saving lives is a pretty decent feeling. Also, veganism doesn’t mean that you have to cut out everything that you like to eat; it just means that you have to switch up some ingredients in all your favorite recipes.
Another myth is that all you can eat are vegetables and that you never get the correct amount of protein. Fact check: you don’t need to eat meat in order to get protein. You also don’t need to eat dairy or drink milk or eat eggs to get the protein that your body needs. That’s an argument used that doesn’t have any basis in reality.
Yes, a vegan does need to eat larger servings in order to get the same amount of calories that a meat eater gets from eating a quarter pounder. Or nachos. Or whatever else. But that also doesn’t mean that a vegan diet has to be more expensive or that it even is more expensive than a typical American diet.
According to an article published in the Seattle Times on January 2 2018, the average American “consumer will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004”. The article continues on to say that “adults should eat 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein a day” to remain healthy, but the average adult will eat “almost 10 ounces of meat and poultry each day in 2018” (that’s at least 5 ounces more than the healthy amount).
On nutritionfacts.org an article about veganism talks about the fact that up until the 1990’s, the leading cause of food-related deaths had to do with malnutrition; but after the 90’s the new leading cause of food-related death is “over-nutrition”. The “greatest disease burden”, as the article states, is high blood pressure which is a disease attributed to over-nutrition. The article also links chronic disease to over consumption of processed foods and animal products.
And those are only two of the proven health benefits that come from eating a vegan diet. Really though, a person doesn’t even have to become completely vegan. You can reap some health benefits from cutting out some processed foods and animal products. I’m sure you’ve all heard about Meatless Monday’s where for one day a week, people cut out meat from their diets.
In a study done by Elizabeth Blackburn (a Noble Prize winner, btw) and Dean Ornish, it was found that consuming a vegan diet can cause 500 genes in the body to “change in three months”; it also turned on genes “that prevent disease” and turned off genes “that cause cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses” (you can check it out further here).
I know that there are countless other health, environmental, and ethical reasons for going vegan, but it would require a much longer post for me to go through and discuss all of them. If you want some more information about it, I recommend that you go check out www.vegan.com where you can find recipes and easy ways to implement veganism into your life (if you’re interested in doing so).
Any way, so from now on I’m going to make the conscious effort to eat vegan, especially once I’m out of the sorority house and buying my own food. As the month, and the summer, goes on I’ll make sure to keep track of all the recipes that I make and give you all information on how I feel after going full vegan.
If you want a great list of recipes, you can also take a look at my Pinterest board Vegan Recipes where I’ve been collecting all the recipes that I’m interested in making for myself and my boyfriend.
Let me know in the comments what you think about going vegan and what you’re favorite recipes are!
Over and out,