Going from an omnivore to a vegan is a pretty difficult and radical transition to make. On the face of it, it seems easy, but there are cravings and foods that just taste so good some people find them hard to give up (bacon, for example). Personally, I had a lot of trouble giving up double decker tacos at Taco Bell. If you need a little motivation, here’s a reminder of the vegan health benefits.
1. You’re probably going to lose weight
Cheese, meat, and eggs all have one thing in common: they’re high in fat. That bacon cheeseburger tastes really good but it also contains a bunch of fat. The average bacon cheeseburger has nine grams of saturated fat and a whopping 20 grams of regular fat. Never mind the cholesterol, we’ll talk about that in a minute. When I went vegan, I went from 210lbs to about 170lbs in 15 months. It’s not as dramatic as some people, but still pretty good.
2. You’ll feel less bloated
This was the first thing I really noticed when I went vegan. When you eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains, you’re eating more fiber. Fiber helps move things along down there and keep your digestive tract healthy. The result is feeling less bloated. It’s a really nice feeling too.
3. You’ll have more energy
When you switch to being a vegan, you inevitably eat more fruits and veggies. This provides you with natural carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, which help boost your energy. Many people have reported that they wake up, have their morning smoothie, and are bouncing off the walls before too long. Of course, you should also be careful. The change can also give you too much energy and give you a case of insomnia. Make sure you’re working off that extra energy!
4. Your skin will clear up
Meat means grease and grease getting into your pores will give you the kind of acne teenagers have nightmares about. You’re consuming less fat, which means healthier blood vessels, which in turn means your skin is getting more oxygen, which is important. Let’s not forget all those vitamins and minerals in the fruits and veggies that you’ll be eating instead of meat, either. Most of those have various skin-improvement properties.
5. You’ll get sick less often
I’m not talking about cancer or heart disease, because we’ll talk about those later. However, thanks to the increase in nutrients and decrease in fat, grease, and things that are bad for you, you’ll have a stronger immune system. That means fewer colds, fewer flus, and you’ll be less likely to catch those nasty bugs everyone is getting. You’ll also be far less susceptible to things like food-borne illnesses because you can’t get sick from eating undercooked chicken if you don’t eat chicken.
6. You’ll have a reduced risk of heart disease
There are studies out there that do state that a little bit of animal protein is good for you. However, people generally eat entirely too much meat and that’s why so many people are getting heart disease. Vegans eliminate the risk of overeating meat entirely and thus they have a lower risk of contracting one of the major diseases associated with overeating meat.
7. You may have a reduced risk of a bunch of cancers
Studies have shown that you can reduce the risk of many types of cancer by switching to a vegan diet. There are a myriad of reasons but the baseline reason is that you’re getting more nutrition overall and that includes more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You are also eating less junk food and less processed foods, which have also been loosely linked to contributing to cancer.
8. You’ll be reducing the bad things
Most vegans eat whole foods and that means they don’t eat processed foods. Refined sugars, refined grains, trans fats, and other things that come from processed foods have been linked to everything bad under the sun. When you go vegan you’ll be cutting these things almost entirely out of your diet and that means you’ll be healthier overall and at risk of fewer diseases.
9. The culture will likely lead you to improve in other ways
When people go from omnivore to vegan, they learn that there’s a culture associated with it. Once they quit the processed food, they quit the smoking, become more health conscious, and exercise more frequently. While quitting the processed foods is a huge deal, quitting smoking and exercising have an equally impressive list of health benefits. When you go vegan, you may as well join the culture because it can be as equally good for you as the diet.
10. It’s an easier diet to follow if you have diabetes
When you have diabetes you have to stay on a certain diet so you don’t aggravate your condition any further. According to a number of sources, a vegan diet helps keep your numbers where they need to be and it’s easier to adhere to (for some people) than the diets suggested by the American Diabetes Association.
11. You may be able to prevent macular degeneration
While fruits and veggies won’t prevent time’s natural way of making your eyesight worse, a vegan diet consuming plenty of them can make the process take place more slowly. More importantly, it can help you prevent diseases of the eye such as macular degeneration. Especially if you eat leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
12. You’ll probably live longer
While studies seem to have conflicting information about how long the vegan diet will extend your life, pretty much all of them agree that it will. Of course, as we talked about earlier, there is that culture that makes you quit smoking and exercise more too. Between that, those healthy veggies, and eating less toxic foods, you end up with a whirlwind of tangible health benefits that logically add up to living a longer life.
There are plenty of arguments to use a certain diet and vegan is no different. Just keep in mind that a lot of these health benefits don’t just come from the fruits, veggies, and grains but also from not eating as many processed foods. If you have any other awesome health benefits, let us know in the comments!
Featured photo credit: Cook Eat Delicious via cookeatdelicious.com