Depositphotos_12004698_m WHY VEGAN?

Vegan is a diet and lifestyle that is free of animal-products. The vegan diet is plant-based. You enjoy all of the amazing fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices that the earth has to offer. A vegan also would be free from animal products in all other aspects of their life. This extends to choices of clothing, health and beauty products, and beyond.

People go vegan for many valuable reasons. Most often it’s for one of the following: for the numerous benefits for human health, for the sake of farmed animal welfare, or for doing their part to help preserve the planet’s resources for future generations. Another reason is the realization that feeding farmed animals is disproportionately utilizing grain resources that could go instead to feed hungry people in developing countries. Whatever reason resonates with you, adopting a vegan diet is a win-win for our health, the planet and the animals.

Here are our top seven reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle.

1. Going vegan improves your health.

Transitioning to a vegan diet has proven health benefits: a lower risk or reversal of symptoms of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. Plant-based foods also assist in weight loss, improved energy, and clearer skin. A vegan diet has been adopted and endorsed by the president of the American College of Cardiology Dr. Kim Williams, by Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s Dr. Neal Barnard, and is touted by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, director of the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at the Cleveland Clinic, and featured in the life-saving documentary, Forks Over Knives.

2. Going vegan saves the environment.

A plant-based diet is ‘greener’ than one with meat, milk, and egg products because raising animals consumes so many of the planet’s resources. The livestock industry is one of the world’s greatest sources of pollution. By eliminating animals from the food system, global warming would slow since so many of the chemicals involved, such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrous oxide, are produced by farmed animals. Reducing animal production would halt the clearing of land for cattle grazing and feed crops, such as land in the rainforest, save countless gallons of fresh water, and reverse the polluting of waterways that pass near factory farms. For instance, for every one pound of beef, 1800 gallons of water is used, and 900 for every gallon of cow’s milk.

3. Going vegan means enjoying amazing food and trying out a lot of unique and innovative products and ingredients.

Everywhere people are discovering how tasty vegan cuisine can be. Vegan chefs taking first prizes in ‘Cupcake Wars’ while world class, casual, and top award-winning restaurants emerge. As such, more and more people are singing the praises of the amazing tastes and creations of innovative vegan chefs and home cooks alike! Beyond Meat has a Beast Burger, Hampton Creek has an eggless mayo that beats traditional mayo in taste tests, and Gardein has fish filets that can be paired with Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Tartar sauce. Trying a vegan diet may be your chance to see how nutritional yeast makes a cheese sauce, to try the varied creamy functions of the cashew, or to explore accented spices such as cayenne and cardamom.

4. Going vegan can mean slimming down.

Vegans on average are quite a few pounds lighter than vegetarians, flexitarians, and omnivores, and many report endless energy, a lighter feel, and a skip in their step after converting and sticking to a vegan diet. Concerned about meeting your body’s nutritional needs on a plant-based diet? No worries! It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

5. Going vegan spares animals.

Cruelty-free eating translates into some 100 animals per year per person, on average, that do not need to be born, raised, and slaughtered for food. This spares cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and other farmed animals from inhumane but legal farming practices that see them as industrial units of business, and not sentient beings who feel fear, pain, and the effects of confinement.

6. Going vegan betters social justice.

With so much hunger and malnutrition in the world, the practice of feeding animals to feed people, when people could be fed directly with grains that go to animals, cannot be ignored. One pound of beef takes thousands more pounds of feed to produce, and even in countries where children go hungry, surpluses are fed to animals. Deforestation in lands of indigenous people and the contamination of people’s air and water from animal agriculture are other serious social justice issues to consider.

7. Going vegan can help you find community!

The buzz about veganism means that people are in endless conversations on social media, the latest vegan news is often trending, and vegan meetup groups are getting together for outings ranging from restaurant visits to activism.  There are dating sites for compassionate vegans to meet their match!  From celebrities to everyday people, many are taking the steps towards a diet that includes a huge helping of compassion and a large serving of healthful eating.  Veganism is on the rise and seems like it is set to multiply exponentially, as some say, the wave of the future!  Get in on it before the tipping point for an exciting ride.

Want to start preparing some more vegan foods?  Check out our blog post on kitchen gear for top suggestions.