Is There Really Any Benefit in Veganism?
‘Vegan Muscle’ (@VeganHeartBeat) July 18, 2016
Vegans rarely have their offerings of food tried at the company picnic. Aren’t they all hippies? Through understanding and actually facing the horrors of animal agriculture, I became a vegan over three years ago. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. At the time, my health nor the environment were factors in my decision to become a vegan, but both were positively impacted beyond my expectations. There are overweight vegans and there are junk food vegans, but in general, vegans proactively eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Seeds, nuts, and grains are added to the mix. All animal products are eliminated. Consumption of artery clogging beef, pork, and chicken are cast out. Beef and pork’s high fat content in which most of that is saturated, is no longer included in meals. Even cage free chickens are eliminated. Wait! What? I thought chicken was a healthy alternative to red meat? Not in the slightest. You are consuming corpses. Eggs aren’t any better. Why have we been told that meat, dairy, and eggs are wholesome for us? How have we bought into such a lie that is killing us slowly? Big pharm, lobbyists, and the government are all in it together. Push back and become a vegan. Veganism is a far cry from a fad diet. Veganism is a compassionate lifestyle with copious amounts of benefits. Animals benefit. People benefit. Planet Earth benefits.
When people choose the vegan lifestyle, all animals breathe a huge sigh of relief. One less person to demand animal products is a check in the win column for these sentient creatures. Hopefully, one day, the world will look back in time aghast that people actually raised, slaughtered, and consumed animals. As more and more people choose vegan, more and more animals are rescued to animal sanctuaries. Less animals are raised for slaughter. The dairy industry is a perfect example. People are actually ditching dairy and that is a very good thing. Plant based milks are large and in charge right now. Dairy farms are going out of business and legally fighting the companies producing the non-dairy milks just for claiming that they are milks too. People are waking up and facing the realization that dairy milk is produced from a mother to grow her baby big and strong; not for human consumption. Dairy milk is made to make a baby cow go from 80 pounds to 1000 plus pounds very quickly. Cows are artificially inseminated just to have their babies taken from them within hours to steal their milk for humans. The cycle continues pregnancy after pregnancy until their bodies can’t take it anymore. They are then sent to slaughter. A non-pregnant, non-lactating animal can’t produce milk. There is no such thing as a happy dairy cow unless they are living at animal sanctuaries. Cage free chickens are all the rage right now. Cage free chickens can be raised in a barn, never seeing daylight, laying on top of each other, beaks snapped off purposely since they start pecking at each other under so much stress. It’s perfectly legal. Following their disgusting upbringing, the chickens are washed in a chlorine solution after slaughter to kill all the germs and bacteria due to their horrific unsanitary stressful farm lives. This process is so unhealthy for the human body that US chickens are banned from import to the UK and most of Europe. Eggs are literally a chicken’s menstrual period. One egg contains as much cholesterol as a Big Mac. They are high in saturated fat. How does that convey into the incredible edible egg advertisements the egg industry has been pushing for years? No wonder people are confused.
Those who have switched to veganism are seeing great benefits. Ask any vegan you know and they will have a litany of positives that have come out of their new lifestyle.
They can sleep at night, now knowing they aren’t contributing to the holocaust of animal agriculture. Their health takes a huge boost. Personally, once I chose the vegan lifestyle, I lost 40 pounds. 40 POUNDS! That was without trying. That was just by eliminating meat and dairy products from my body. You are now consuming all plant based foods. Plants are high in fiber, low in calories. They are known as preventative foods. Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and many other health issues are prevented or alleviated with a vegan diet. Will you never get sick again stepping into the vegan lifestyle? Of course not, but you are making a conscious effort to improve your life. Does veganism cure or curb every disease and issue? Of course it doesn’t. There are too many outside factors also playing havoc, but veganism can help your odds of staying healthier. You have eliminated cholesterol and introduced good fats. Fruits, veggies, and legumes are mega nutritious. Ounce for ounce, they pack a punch of vitamins, minerals, and loads of good for you stuff. Phytochemicals in plants help prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost healthy enzymes, and works with antioxidants to support your immune system.
One in three American adults have high cholesterol due to their daily consumption of animal products. High levels of cholesterol build up to plaque in the arteries causing blockage, heart disease and stroke. The nature of my employment requires me to have an extensive physical every year. Within three months of becoming a vegan, my blood numbers of cholesterol and triglycerides were almost perfect. My doctor and I looked back through the last 10 years and the difference was very impressive going from a dairy and meat heavy diet to a vegan! Who doesn’t know someone who has had stents inserted or a heart attack? They are then prescribed antiplatelet medications, Statins, and beta blockers to keep the arteries open. Wouldn’t it be much easier to just incorporate a vegan lifestyle? Popping a pill is easy. Veganism is extreme. The food you eat is either moving you toward or away from disease said Dr. Vikki Peterson. For years prior to choosing veganism, I had high blood pressure and was prescribed Lisinopril. Lisinopril lowered my blood pressure, relaxed my blood vessels, and prevented diabetes related kidney damage. Spoiler Alert, medication is all just a faded memory now due to my improved health. Cardiovascular problems are rampant in the US. Our Western diet loaded with meat and dairy is the culprit. Veganism changes our poor statistics with over all better cardiovascular health. My older son who was in his late teens, gave up dairy for two weeks because of an article he read about the inflammation it causes a persons body. Guess what? His acne completely disappeared after his two week trial. He isn’t vegan yet, but he does not drink dairy milk anymore. The proof he needed was there.
The Big 3
When someone new finds out that I am a vegan, I usually get the standard of three questions.
Protein always seems to be a topic of controversy when it comes to veganism, but it shouldn’t be. Many people think the only way to get enough protein is through meat. Wrong! Legumes, like lentils, nuts, and beans combined with grains mesh to make a complete protein.
Beef, it’s what’s for dinner! Not in my house! Yes, iron is important. It plays a central role in your body’s function. Spinach, tofu, brown rice, pumpkin, cashews, and oatmeal are just a few of many sources of iron.
B12 seems to be a huge concern too. It neednt be. Nutritional yeast is loaded with this vitamin. Many, nondairy milks and cereals are fortified with this vitamin. If you aren’t sure your needs are being met, take a daily supplement. There are numerous choices. The internet can be a jack pot of information. The resources of what’s what are readily available. Now that we’ve hit the big three of where do you get your, let’s move on to more benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
Several studies have reported that vegan lifestyles provide beneficial plant compounds which are richer in potassium, folate, magnesium, calcium, Vitamins A, C, and E compared to meat and dairy dense lifestyles.
Potassium balances water and acidity in your body, stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases in cancer. Avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and spinach are just a few examples of good sources of vegan potassium.
Folate is found in Asparagus, broccoli, okra, citrus fruits, beans, and Brussels sprouts. Essential for women who are pregnant, folate is vital for making red blood cells, synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA.
Nuts, seeds, and greens are great sources of magnesium. Magnesium is important in bone and cell formation, nerve function, blood coagulation, energy production, and nutrient metabolism. Since most plants are high in fiber and prebiotics, vegans possess better gut health. Antioxidants are compounds which inhibit oxidation and protect the body from aging, chronic inflammation, disease, and cancer. Plants contain those numerous antioxidants we need. Calcium Don’t let the dairy industry fool you into believing that the only way to get the calcium a body needs is through the milk of another species. Calcium is important for not only your bones and teeth, but for muscle contractions and blood clotting. Some great plant sources of calcium are leafy greens such as kale, mustard and collard. Broccoli, beans, and almonds are also great ways to get the same. Don’t forget about oranges, blackberries, chia seeds, and kiwis to name just a few more. Calcium fortified juices and non-dairy milks are great too.
Vitamin A can be found in leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products and fruits. Everyone knows vitamin A is important for normal vision, but it’s also important for the immune system and reproduction. Vitamin A helps the hearts, kidneys, lungs and other organs is proper working function.
Vitamin C boosts your immune system, keeps gums healthy, and helps bruises heal faster. Some vitamin C sources are fruits, broccoli. Bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin E has potent antioxidant properties. Protection of your cells against damage, aiding in certain skin conditions, boosting hair growth, and even supporting healthy vision are only a few of the numerous benefits. Fruits, wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds, and butternut squash are loaded with vitamin E.
Several studies show that diets without meat lead to lower body mass indexes. Energy levels are much higher. Skin is also healthier. Body odors are eliminated or reduced. PMS is less intense. Migraines are too. Since most plants are high in fiber and prebiotics, vegans possess better gut health. Antioxidants are compounds which inhibit oxidation and protect the body from aging, chronic inflammation, disease, and cancer. Plants contain those numerous antioxidants we need. . Isnâ€™t it odd that I can relay many of the benefits of veganism by showing the reality of eating meat and dairy? Over 800 studies show that red meat and all processed meat is highly carcinogenic to humans. Red meat has a high risk of colorectal cancer, prostate and pancreatic cancers. Have you ever seen all the great benefits of meat posted on their packages other than the protein grams count? WHO (the World Health Organization) identified red meat, processed meat, alcohol, arsenic, cigarettes, and asbestos in the same category as the highest risk of cancer. Why would anyone want to eat meat? The FDA (Federal Department of Agriculture) reported that 80% of all antibiotics prescribed in the US are used in animal agriculture. Can you wrap your head around that number? 80%! In 1946, farmers started adding antibiotics to their animalâ€™s feed. Animals grew faster and put on more weight. Antibiotics compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which animals are raised. Modern industrial farms are ideal breeding grounds for germs and disease. Close confinement, laying in their own waste, constant stress, and lack of space to move are just a few reasons antibiotic use is rampant. I’m pretty sure you’ve caught on by now by the horrors of eating animals compared to the benefits of eating plants. It only gets more appalling.
Earth; the mother of all planets as we know. Poor mother Earth is suffering as much as the animals, as much as us, and all are needless. We have tons of starving people in the world. Do you know that more than 700 million tons of grain goes into animal agriculture? Seven hundred million tons of grains could eradicate world starvation, but we are too busy perfecting that perfect steak on the grill. A Cornell University study found that it takes eight times more fossil fuel energy to produce animal proteins than plant based proteins. Animal agriculture takes thousands of times more water to raise a pound of beef than it does to raise a pound of plant. Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human made greenhouse gas (GHG) after fossil fuels. The leading cause of air pollution, water, and deforestation, animal agriculture puts a huge strain on Earth’s energy sources. Seventy billion animals are raised annually to satisfy our cheeseburger, chicken wing, or Easter ham obsessions. Seventy billion animals are raised ANNUALLY for human consumption. Over a third of the world’s grain production is used to feed livestock. ‘Producing a single hamburger uses enough fuel to drive twenty miles and causes the loss of five times its weight in topsoil’, said by John Robbins (The Food Revolution). Nearly half of ALL the water used in the United States goes to raising animals for food. The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook stated that to produce a days food for ONE meat eater takes over 4000 gallons of water. For vegetarians, that number is reduced to 1200 gallons. For a vegan, the number is reduced even more to 300 gallons. Waste, land pollution, and air pollution by these animals are giant detriments to planet Earth.
There really is no disadvantage to going vegan. It’s an awesome lifestyle. It’s compassionate. It’s healthy (or mostly healthy if you don’t gorge on Oreos all of the time). You have a whole new world opened up to you of new foods to try. I never had kohlrabi until I became vegan. I never had beets before becoming a vegan. I never had Indian cuisine before becoming a vegan. Tofu scared me. I had never opened my omnivore eyes to these delights. I had to learn how to cook all over again without meat, dairy, and eggs. It was difficult at first, but only because of what was ingrained into my thinking of not being vegan for most of my life. I lived. I learned. I have adapted. The challenge was never too difficult to tackle. Vegans simply take the compassion we have for animals and direct it to our new lifestyle.
Take the Challenge
My challenge is to you to open your eyes. Open your hearts. Try our 30 day vegan challenge and experience the health benefits of living a plant based lifestyle. Go meat free, dairy free, egg free. It’s not that difficult with all the new products, growing numbers of vegans, and internet advice. Your health will thank you. The animals will thank you. Mother Earth will thank you.