By Guilford Joe Thomas
A vegan lifestyle is not yet a mainstream alternative, but it is quickly getting there as an increasing number of people look for healthier ways to eat and live.
There is also an ever-growing body of conclusive evidence that supports the claim that peak health comes mainly from a diet of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Researchers the world over are discovering and reporting that meat is not your best source of protein and that milk is not the perfect food for humans.
But there is still some confusion as to what veganism is all about. Vegans are people who do not consume any animal meat or by-products, no seafood, no dairy food, no eggs. Vegans are opposed to the killing of animals for any non-compassionate purpose. Furthermore, Vegans avoid wearing or using any clothing or items manufactured from animal parts.
There are many documented benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Here are just a few:
- Compounds called phytochemicals which are only found in plants, help to substantially reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Plant foods contain fiber. Animal foods contain no fiber. Fiber is critical in the proper digestion of food and the regular elimination of waste from your body.
- Plant foods contain no cholesterol. Cholesterol can block arteries and cause heart attacks and create other health problems associated with poor blood flow.
- Lean meats, chicken, shrimp, dairy, and eggs are very high in cholesterol.
Research has shown that a vegan diet is the best way to prevent or cure diabetes. A study of Adventist vegans revealed that they were half as likely to have diabetes as compared to meat-eaters.
Many of us are not as far away from a Vegan lifestyle as we may think. Here are few ways you can get closer to becoming Vegan and noticeably improve your health:
- Add more plant-based foods to your daily diet. You will get relatively fast positive results. You can start with one entirely plant-based meal each day.
- Eat a variety of colourful plants daily. Vegan food can be just as tasty and appetizing as what you are eating now. You can “spice up” vegan food the same way you “spice up” meat dishes.
- Eat fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains, that you have not tried in the past.
- Drink less fruit and energy drinks
- Drink more water. A simple test to find out if you are drinking enough water is to check your urine. If it flows freely and is light in color and free of odor, then you are well hydrated. If it’s dark and has a strong smell and you are not taking any medication that affects the condition of your urine, then you should drink water immediately.
- Blend fresh ginger and turmeric, add a dash of black pepper, and drink daily as a refreshing, nutritious tea.
- Don’t eat processed meat
- Reduce the number of processed foods in tins and packages in your fridge and pantry
- Cut back on your consumption of all meats organic or otherwise
- Eat more green plants. Kale, Spinach, Ochroes.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Sugar provides no nutrition.
- Use less oil in food preparation (including olive and coconut oil)
- Eat less fried foods
- Use less salt. Himalayan salt is the best and most nutritious type to use. It also adds great flavor to your food
- Don’t waste your money on supplements. You can get almost all the nutrients you need from plant-based whole foods.
- Don’t use processed seasonings. Make your fresh seasonings by blending garlic, onions, cilantro, chive, etc. You can make whatever combination of these and other fresh seasonings that suit your taste. There are many great youtube videos that show you how easy it is to make your blends of fresh seasonings.
- Make time to cook your food. Many of us claim that we don’t have time to cook, but we spend time doing things that are not remotely as important to our health.
- A vegan lifestyle is the safest and healthiest way to lose weight. You will lose weight effortlessly, and you will notice an increase in your energy level.
Finally, adopting a vegan lifestyle is in many ways a life enriching experience. You will feel great physically. Your skin will have a healthy glow. You will have healthier hair and nails. You will be much sharper mentally. Your anxiety level will decrease, and you may also feel more at peace with yourself and the world. No animals need to be killed for us to live healthy lives.
(Guildford Joe Thomas is a vegan and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. He has a passion for healthy living and is a strong advocate for eating whole and plant-based foods. His recently published book, Let Food Be Your Medicine Today –Live Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods, is now available at www.Amazon.com.)