A year ago, I was super pissed. I realized that I could no longer ignore the messages my own body was screaming at me, and it posed the question, “if you know better, why not do better?” It was my inability to answer that question that pushed me to set the hardest goal I’ve yet to meet. Let me explain why. My favorite food is a meal of chicken wings. A 6 piece BBQ with a side of seasoned fries was my ONLY recluse at 2 AM when I was struggling to get through my general chemistry lab notes due the next day. That meal was my go to when I was sad, upset or celebrating. Then, I watched the documentary What The Health on Netflix. Now, to be honest, it wasn’t life changing for me. I had already known the risks associated with the diet that most people consume. High in meat, processed foods, and dairy, the information they were presenting didn’t shock me. My ex, she was completely shook though, and that night, decided to go vegan, cold turkey. I tried it, and I succeeded for a week straight. It all fell apart though when my family decided to visit me and brought me their home-cooked meals they had been hinting at for months. I broke my meat and dairy fast at that point, after not consuming for two weeks. At first, it wasn’t so bad. The food tasted good and it reminded me of my childhood, my ex was disappointed but hey, get outta here, am I right? Dead wrong. That was the first night I regretted pulling an all nighter. Not the good kind either, like binge watching Netflix series or getting some work done on a project. No, I spent that night violently throwing what I had eaten for dinner, and probably everything I had eaten from age 10 until that point. I was so sick and weak in the morning, it was hard for me to even get up, and make the commute to class, and I lay there, pissed, because I knew I had to give up chicken wings, forever.
Fast forward a year later and I am still eating meat! Yay for failure! Not quite though. I like to think of myself as transitioning. To me, that means making the conscious decision to make healthier more beneficial choices for my health. It was around that time I started pole dancing as well, and overall, was on this health binge mission that still continues today. But why vegan? and how? To answer the why, I just could not ignore what my body was telling me. For a while, I would get severe migraines, so bad I could not move, talk or open my eyes. I would be confined to the bed, with a pillow over my head praying that an airplane wouldn’t fly past overhead. I would also have these fainting spells, where I would get so sick that I would collapse, I could not move or talk, I just felt extremely weak and on the brink of passing out. Both diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) run in my family, so I thought I was at the pre stages for any one of those conditions. However, I visited at least 5 different doctors, and not one could find a single thing wrong with me. However, when I stopped eating meat and dairy for just two weeks, the difference I experienced had me completely and utterly shook. So shook in fact, that I can’t even enjoy meat dishes the way I once used to. It was like my own body was forcing me to make this change. I felt noticeably happier, lighter, clear headed, and more complete.
I have not had ONE migraine since I changed my diet. I realized I heal so much more quickly from injury. I’m able to do more throughout the day and I’m getting better sleep. The changes I’ve experienced are endless. It was like a snowball effect, that one thing, a change in diet, literally changed my entire life. I’m not 100% vegan, I still eat meat, but I do so mindfully. I only eat kosher and I sub animal protein for something else when I see fit. If you are curious about changing your diet, even if it’s a shift to just become more plant based, check out these reasons below. They changed my life, may be they can change yours.
A vegan diet can be one of the healthiest ways to live. Plant-based diets should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because vegan diets often rely heavily on these healthy staples, they tend to be higher in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. Healthy vegan diets are abundant with vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron while also being low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
A plant-based vegan diet can reduce the risk of mortality from conditions such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Some cancers including prostate and colon cancer
Vegan diets can be healthy for anyone of any age, including children, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly. It’s important to note that vegans need to pay special attention to their diets to avoid specific nutrient deficiencies. There is little risk of deficiency in a well-planned vegan diet. For more information regarding vegan nutrition, visit this great resource Nutrition on a Vegan Diet.
In 2010, the UN released a report encouraging a global move away from animal products. The report states, “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”
Breeding, raising, and feeding animals for food is a tremendously inefficient use of our natural resources. Animals raised for food production are fed over half of the all the world’s crops. As our population grows, we require more and more agricultural space. 60% of worldwide deforestation results from land being converted for use as agricultural land, much of which is used for grazing cattle. An estimated 14% of the world’s population (over 850,000,000 people) suffer from undernourishment while we continue to waste valuable agricultural land and resources to produce animal products, therefore obtaining only a fraction of the potential caloric value. Continuing this foolish management of our natural resources is simply not sustainable.
Following a vegan lifestyle contributes less air pollution and puts less stress on our natural resources by requiring less land, fossil fuels, and water. As the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, a widespread movement towards vegan lifestyle is the most effective way to reduce pressure on our environment and may be absolutely crucial to our survival as a species.
As always, I love to hear from you? Are you vegan? strict meatatarian? Let me know below!
Until Next Time,