There are so, so many benefits you get by moving away from an animal-based diet and toward a plant-based one!
Here are the top five that you'll see right away:
1. You'll start losing weight (if you need to).
You will probably drop unneeded weight really quickly because when you eat plant-based food and avoid animal foods, you amp up your metabolism.
Veg food has a high thermic effect, which indicates the amount of calories burned as body heat during digestion. So that means if you change absolutely nothing else, you're burning more calories by opting for nutrient-dense food that was grown in the ground or on trees.
Also, the fiber in whole grains, beans, and veggies works to slow the release of glucose (blood sugar) into your system, so you won't have wild cravings and crazy hunger, which cause you to overeat.
Lastly, you won't be getting the unhealthy fat you would from meat, chicken, and cheese.
2. You'll get, um, regular.
There is so much fiber in plant-based foods, and none — ZERO — in animal foods. Fiber acts like a scrub brush in your body and cleans you out. And because of that, your stomach will flatten out and you'll feel so much lighter and more energetic.
Fiber is the superstar magic dust that makes you healthy and gorgeous!
3. You'll feel healthier.
A bunch of those annoying physical ailments that you couldn't figure the origin of will go away.
Roughly 75 percent of the population is lactose intolerant, so if you're one of those people, when you eat cheese or butter or drink milk, you can get serious bloating or cramps, mucus-y phlegm that belabors your breathing, or weird rashes.
If you have pimples, they will likely disappear because you won't be getting all that estrogenic hormone inherent in milk. (Extra hormones wreak havoc on the skin, as does the milk sugar.)
You won't be exhausted because you'll be eating rock-star nutrients and antioxidants found only in plant-based foods. You'll also sleep well because you won't have the acid indigestion that comes from acid-forming foods like meat and cheese.
4. You'll save money.
Eating more plants means spending less cash on groceries.
Whole grains, lentils, corn tortillas, black beans, nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruits are so much cheaper than wheels of cheese and chicken breasts.
Yes, fresh veggies can be expensive, but not if you buy them at the end of the day at farmers markets, frozen, or on sale at the supermarket. That kind of simple food is the fare of peasants all over the world, so if you eat like they do, you won't be spending much!
You won't be spending money at the doctor because veganish people tend to be very healthy. (As long as you are eating healthy plant-based foods rather than subsisting on white pasta, chips, and vegan pizza.) And you won't be missing work to stay home nursing the flu.
You'll be super creative and productive at your job because of all of that amped-up energy — and success and money are created from that kind of work ethic.
5. You'll be happier.
People who eat plant-based foods have less depression, anxiety, and other mood problems than those who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Maybe it's as simple as how alive and purposeful you feel when you know you're making a positive difference in the world, or maybe it just feels so damn good to know you aren't contributing to an animal's pain or suffering in any way.
A study from the University of Warwick says it's actually measurable, "Happiness benefits were detected for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to 8 portions per day ... that people who changed from almost no fruit and veg to eight portions of fruit and veg a day would experience an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment. The well-being improvements occurred within 24 months."
In any case, it feels really great to know you are at the forefront of a movement that is rapidly taking hold — away from the unsustainable diet of yesteryear and toward a kinder way of eating — and that can make you feel proud and happy.
It's not black or white either. You can be veganISH. You can take your time and find your way, and you can keep leaning toward the better. The more you know, the better you'll do and the better you'll feel. And that is how you — and our crazy world — will progress and thrive.