A plant based diet is great for both your health and the planet. It’s one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from disease, stay lean, and help the environment at the same time. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider eating more plants!
Plant-based foods are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, which can protect you from chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer. Plant-based diets also tend to be low in unhealthy saturated fats.
#2. Weight loss
Plant-based diets can help you lose weight, since fruits and vegetables are low in calories. A study published in Preventive Medicine found that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day helped people lose about two extra pounds over a 12-week period compared with those who ate less than one serving per day. This report concluded that eating more produce increases weight loss by helping people feel fuller with fewer calories, thereby reducing overall food intake.
#3. Save money
We all know that eating a healthy diet can be more expensive than eating fast food or packaged goods. But, we’ve heard from countless people who have said they were able to reduce their grocery bill by at least 20 percent once they started eating more healthfully. It may not seem like much when you look at what you’re paying for your groceries week-to-week, but when you add up how much extra cash that leaves in your pocket over a year, it adds up quickly.
#4. Boost your mood
A person who eats a whole foods, plant-based diet will feel better emotionally and physically. Numerous studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans tend to be calmer and less stressed than meat-eaters. They often report fewer mood swings and anxiety than people with meat-heavy diets, and vegetarians tend to rate their overall mental health as higher than nonvegetarians do.
#5. Help heal the planet
Plant-based diets are healthier for animals, people and planet. The meat industry is extremely harmful on our planet, thanks to its high carbon footprint. By eating a plant-based diet, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 50%. Because of their heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants, animal agriculture is also one of the leading causes of pollution.
#6. Free up time
Plant-based eating is not as time consuming as some people think. You can prepare a quick and easy plant-based meal in under 30 minutes, and with practice, you’ll be able to do it in even less time. And you won’t have to spend hours and hours shopping for ingredients at health food stores (some of which might be hard to find). As long as you have whole grains, legumes, vegetables, herbs and spices on hand you should be good to go.
#7. Satisfy cravings
Many of us get cravings for sweets, salty snacks, chips and other junk foods. Cutting back on animal products reduces your need for added salt, sugar and fat. This is great news if you’re trying to avoid heart disease or high blood pressure (and even if you’re not). You can keep some treats around that will satisfy these food cravings without wrecking your health.
#8. Treat yourself!
I find it’s much easier to not treat myself than it is to keep myself from eating something that I shouldn’t, says Whitney English, founder of The Veganista and longtime vegan. You don’t have to worry about finding a place that you can buy vegan food at 1:00 in the morning. It makes life simpler and keeps your goals on track.
#9. Preserve animal lives
It may sound unrealistic, but even if you decide only to go vegetarian or vegan for one day a week, you’re helping hundreds of animal each year just by cutting back on your consumption of meat and dairy. More than 25 billion land animals are slaughtered for food annually—more than 1 million per hour—in what amounts to an ongoing genocide against these innocent creatures.
#10. Share your love!
If you’re eating a healthy plant-based diet, make sure everyone knows! Post information about your decision on social media and talk to your friends and family about it. Some may be interested in trying it themselves. Or, if they’re not interested, that’s OK too—we won’t tell anyone! You can still share with them that you love how great it makes you feel and how great they look when eating healthy. Everyone wins!