3 Reasons to Consider Going Plant-Based
1. Health Benefits
I began re-evaluating my health choices a couple years ago when my doctor informed me that I am at risk for high cholesterol. Heart disease runs in my family and it has been my goal to fight against heart disease through diet and exercise.
To read my post about potential health benefits, click here.
2. Sustainability of the Environment
The beef industry is one of the worst for the environment. Poorly run farms let their cattle overgraze which releases more carbon stored in soil. It is estimated that a cow releases 160-320 liters of methane per day.
Red meat is an American staple but we should limit meat consumption and consider purchasing from sustainable farms.
To read my post about sustainability, click here.
3. Humane Reasons for the Animals
At the grocery store we’re confronted with an overwhelming amount of labels and brands of chicken breast. What we may not always consider though is that most of these chickens were cooped up in tight cages where they couldn’t even spread their wings. In some of the best cases, they were “cage-free” meaning they were allowed to roam “free” in the shed with no exposure to the outside environment.
If you are a carnivore, consider where you purchase your meat from and how humane the farms truly are as labels can be deceiving.
To read my post about humane practices, click here.
4 Week Vegan Diet Recap
Week 1 & 2 – I had no problem the first couple weeks of the challenge. In fact, I thought it was very sustainable. I ate very wholesome prior to the diet so during these first couple weeks, I didn’t feel any inclination to eat animal products. I felt lighter, more energized, leaner, and healthier. My energy was so high that I didn’t even feel the need to drink that second cup of coffee some days.
Week 3 – I began to feel the effects of what I believed to be vitamin B12 deficiency. Not only was I feeling lethargic but I was developing headaches more than usual. I began supplementing vitamin B12 daily. Although prior to the challenge, I did not eat much meat, my body was not used to the sudden change in no-dairy or animal products. Also during this week, I started craving cheese, badly!
Week 4 – I was just about checked out during this final week. I realized this diet is a bit too restrictive for my needs. I persevered though and did not eat meat. Overall, I still felt healthy and energized but I was unhappy with the cravings that were not being satisfied. Unfortunately, the vegan alternative cheese did not do it for me.
I typically get a lot of stomach cramps but I noticed feeling a lot less of this while on the plant based challenge. Although 4 weeks is likely not enough time to truly effect the microbiome of the gut, I feel as though eating a plant-based diet could improve symptoms of IBS over the long term. This is because plant based diets limit dairy which is offer a trigger for stomach irritation. Additionally, a plant based diet is often high in fiber which assists in improving digestion.
To be completely honest and transparent, I admit that I did eat cheese in week 3 of the challenge. I FAILED.
I truly believe that everything in moderation is essential for healthy living. This vegan diet recap reminded me to be more mindful and cautious about what I put in my body. I am a big fan of a flexitarian diet as I believe it allows for a healthy relationship with food. It is less restrictive but still encourages healthy choices. I plan to continue to eat wholesome ingredients which are mostly centered around plants. I believe that sustainable and humanely produced animal products in moderation is fair for my lifestyle and needs. It is my personal choice to re-introduce eggs and cheese because I enjoy those foods and appreciate the nutrients I obtain from them.
We all make health choices everyday. These choices are personal, just like our finances are personal. The goal is not to tell you how to invest or how to eat, but it is to encourage mindful decisions backed by evidence.
Are you thinking about going vegan? Let me know in the comments below. Or, if you already are a successful vegan, what was the most challenging part for you when you first began? What health choices have you made recently to improve your life?
Thanks for sharing!