You’ve just made the switch to becoming a vegan. Your body feels great, your energy level is sky rocketing, you’re contributing to making the planet more sustainable and you are saving the lives of innocent animals. Life is great! I find in talking to many people who have switched over to a whole foods/plant base lifestyle for health reasons to be challenged to continue their journey of eating this way. Why? You can control what you eat at home but eating out can be somewhat difficult when restaurants substitute animal products in many of their foods.
Your food cravings can be another issue. The world is certainly changing for the better with more vegan options available in restaurants and supermarkets, but are they healthy? You see, eating vegan is great for your health but are the processed options a better solution to keeping your health and weight in check? Sometimes it’s easier just to give in to temptation of eating animal based foods, especially from friends and family. Eating processed vegan food can be time saving when you’re in a rush. Whatever your reason, here are some reminders to help you keep on track by staying healthy and happy for the rest of your life with a whole foods/plant base lifestyle.
1. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “you look great, what type of diet are you on”, I would be a very rich women right now. Diets don’t work. Eating healthy, especially a whole foods/plant base diet is a lifestyle, not a diet. If you are eating food whenever you want and are not counting calories and you still see the weight come off, it’s not a diet. I’ve never believed in diets, and in fact, they do more harm than good.
Incorporating more plant base foods into your daily eating regime allows for more antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber. And we all know that we need these for optimal health, there’s no question about it. As you start to eliminate all the crap from your diet such as animal protein and processed food, you are actually absorbing more vitamins and minerals through plant base foods, therefore, become healthier.
2. Ethics. Let the truth be told. Many people become vegan not so much for health reasons but for the ethical treatment of animals. People’s perception of how animals are grazing in a green pasture, munching on greens and living the good life, are not true. Factory farming is the norm for how people get their animal products and is an inhumane way of treating animals. It’s not just farm animals that suffer but also wild animals taken from their mothers at a very young age to perform in circuses and live in zoos to entertain use. These animals don’t live the good life. They are stripped away from their natural habitat and forced to perform and live in unruly conditions and suffer abuse more than you will ever know.
Do you have any idea of how factory farming is impacting our environment? Did you know that about one-third of the world water consumption is for producing animal products? Did you know that meat production is the leading cause of climate change? By adapting a whole foods plant base lifestyle, you are not only improving your health, but saving the planet for future generations and saving the lives of innocent animals. To learn more about how our food choices affect the environment, you can watch the documentary, ‘Cowspiracy’.
3. The hype of advertising, read the labels. On a daily basis we are pushed with opinions that make us question, ignore, and dismiss the very simple foundation of our health. We assume that pharmaceuticals and supplements are the solution to all of our health problems but many times they lead us down a road to increased disease and illness. We want instant gratification to become thin and lose weight so we pop pills not knowing how they mi impact they will have on our bodies short and long-term. We assume that the labels on food boxes that say ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-calorie’ are helping us with our weight-loss goals. When did we start putting all of our trust into labels without even questioning the motivation behind it?
The rate of obesity, CHD, diabetes, and common cancers is on the rise. Instead of our health care system prescribing food as a preventive measure for these diseases, medication is given as a band-aid to control it. Along with this band-aid relief of drugs and pills, comes additional side effects. Adapting a whole foods/plant base lifestyle, there are no uses of pharmaceutical drugs to control or slow down these diseases. Instead, these conditions can be controlled and in many cases, reversed by the nutrients absorbed into the body.
4. Be a better athlete. Until you’ve actually tried changing your eating habits to a whole foods/plant base lifestyle, you cannot experience the noticeable difference in energy levels. Plant base foods are so much easier to digest. It’s no wonder how so many athletes often feel slugglish during their training as they are taking in a large amount of animal protein. Plant protein, on the other hand, can be found in various plant foods and it’s nutrient dense, not calorie dense like animal protein. With this new profound energy level, your can reach a higher level of performance from being able to train more frequently and longer.
If you suffer from chronic problems that have held you back from performance, more than likely they can be reversed or controlled through a whole foods/plant base lifestyle. The influx of nutrients and vitamins you absorb through your body will help increase your immune system and in turn stay healthier so you can train longer and better.
5. Controlling exactly what goes into your body. I think this is one of the top reasons besides health, environmental, and animal welfare, that I enjoy the food that I eat. I like to control what I put into my body. Have you ever looked at packaged foods and wondered what the ingredients are or what they mean? I can’t even pronounce most of them. If you don’t understand what an ingredient is, then why would you put it into your body? Do you know the implications of that particular ingredient on your body? These are questions you should be asking yourself.
Many people think that adapting a whole foods/plant base lifestyle will take up too much of their time in the kitchen. This is so not true. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated and when you use simple ingredients together to create a dish that is not only healthy, but tasty. You also avoid additives, preservatives, artificial colours, and many other chemicals that are contained in animal products and processed food.
Art and I have both been whole foods vegan now for just over a year. The reason I use the term whole food vegan is because we don’t consume refined sugar, and limited processed food along with no animal products. We like to get our nutrients from the food itself. We also don’t believe in consuming our nutrients in the form of a pill, which in many cases can be more harmful to our health.
When you look at our food industry, the people who create our food recommendations and daily dietary allowances, are the same people who have a vested interest in the meat and dairy industry. They have a financial interest behind them so the guidelines they create dependent on how much of their products they can sell. When you live on a plant base/whole foods plant lifestyle, you take your own health into your hands. There is really no vested interest from any group. Do you see any beet or carrot councils or lobby’s for spinach and kale? I don’t think so.
Have a fit day!
Maureen & Art
P.S. Don’t forget our ‘Go Vegan Challenge’ starting on March 19th on facebook.