There is something for everyone in this lifestyle and regardless your reason for choosing a plant based life, you will impact your health, the health of the planet and reduce animal suffering.
1. It’s hard to separate the benefits of eating plant based because they all tie into each other - which is what is so cool about it! When we choose not to eat animals and animal products we are practicing Ahimsa. Ahimsa is the First Yama (or guideline) in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Simply stated, Ahimsa means to practice non-violence. Meaning, do no harm to yourself or any living creature and practice non-violent thoughts. This begs the question, what is worse - eating meat or getting pissed off at the people eating meat around you? Your thoughts can be as damaging to you as the meat is to the person eating it. When practicing Ahimsa, we are mindful about what and how we are consuming our food and digesting our thoughts and experiences.
2. It’s good for your health Plant-based diets have been associated with (Idiots Guide Plant Based Nutrition):
Lowering heart-disease mortality
Supporting sustainable weight management
Reducing medication needs
Lowering the risk for most chronic diseases
Decreasing the incidence and severity of obesity and hypertension
Reversing advanced coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes
In the words of Julieanna Never and Raymond Cronise, “Your genes may load the gun, but your lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
The wonderful thing about this lifestyle is you can experiment with it and potentially notice shifts in your body relatively quickly. For example, when Jodh began running Half Marathons in 2011 she would have such significant IT band tension, she would take anti-inflammatories after long runs. One year after going totally plant-based, she found herself running longer, stronger and without that debilitating IT band pain. Now she is training for her first Marathon and finds her recovery time to be vastly improved. Blood work will also let you know where you stand and it’s possible to see dramatic improvements in blood work in as little as thirty days. Six months after going vegan, Jodh’s historically high cholesterol (even on a vegetarian diet) dropped more than 40 points into the normal range. Given her significant family history of heart disease and high cholesterol this was quite motivating.
3. This brings us to the environment. The impact of animal agriculture on our planet is staggering.
About 1⁄2 of the worlds water goes to raising animals for food
It takes 2400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat and only 24 gallons of water for 1 lb of wheat
Turkeys, chickens, pigs and cows are the largest producers of methane in US which is 20x more powerful at trapping heat within the earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide
Meat egg and dairy produce 65% of the worlds nitrous oxide which is 300x more powerful at trapping heat within the atmosphere than carbon dioxide
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment - from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet. (vegansociety.com)
Quite simply, we do not have enough land to feed a growing population an animal-based diet. While 800 million people do not have enough food, we continue to waste valuable agricultural land by obtaining only a small fraction of its potential calorific value. The world’s population is increasing and viable agricultural lands are diminishing. Factory farming is detrimental to the communities of people living around the farms who are living with the health consequences associated with animal excrement being sprayed onto the land and into the air in their communities.
We have all been there - hosting a dinner party, or invited to a potluck and not sure what to bring. Bringing a plant-based dish means you are bringing a dish that most of your friends will be able to enjoy. The vibrant colors, the textures, the fresh-ness - will look so beautiful on the table. We aren’t talking about throwing frozen green beans in the microwave and heating them up (oh was my mom the only person who did that?). We are talking about a dish that is loaded with color, texture, flavor, smell - whether it is cooked or raw, it will be so delicious!
What’s so easy about Plant Based Cooking?
Get to learn which flavor combinations you like and can recycle them
It’s inexpensive, buying bulk helps, buy what is on sale and in season, menu plan around that
If something doesn’t taste good or the texture isn’t right try repurposing this ie the veggie burgers that became veggie crumbles
It’s not like it’s raw/undercooked meat - it won’t make you sick if you eat it and you don’t have to be overly cautious about washing, in fact some dirt is good for you
Get to experiment with new foods and experience so much variety
Most anything is now available in a plant based form
Most of us are fiber deficient and eat half (or less) of the recommended daily fiber intake. This is an easy way to get your fiber in!