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- 1 You’ll lose weight…without trying to
- 2 Giving up meat heightens your energy levels
- 3 Your digestive system will thank you for it
- 4 You’ll be helping your body reduce inflammation
- 5 Up the potassium, lower your blood pressure
- 6 Better skin, brighter eyes
- 7 It can reverse diabetes
- 8 You’ll enjoy better sleep when you give up meat
- 9 It’s not just the body that benefits
- 10 Bonus point – The benefits go way beyond you
Giving up meat can be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around, but knowing the benefits in doing so can help those who struggle with the idea make an informed decision about their dietary lifestyle.
Despite growing awareness of how the food industry conducts its business, there is still a shocking lack of information getting through to the general public, so we thought it was about time that we wrote an article shedding some light on the many benefits of going plant-based.
You’ll lose weight…without trying to
Diets. No one likes them, and yet so many of us are seemingly addicted to striving for unnatural weight loss and putting ourselves through unnecessary pain and anguish…especially when the beach holiday has just been booked!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could eat as much as you wanted and still shed the pounds? Well, with a plant-based diet you can do exactly that.
Providing you stick to whole foods and get a range of fruit, veg, grains, nuts and legumes, you’ll find that losing weight simply isn’t as difficult as you’ve been led to believe. Not only that, you’ll feel great, too.
Cutting out processed foods and animal products is the fastest way to lose weight without making yourself grumpy and sad, so why not give it a go?
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Giving up meat heightens your energy levels
The good news continues, especially for those who suffer from the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Going plant-based has an amazing effect on the amount of energy that you’ll have, and you can sustain that boost in energy throughout the day.
The knock-on effect that this has on your life is not to be underestimated. You’ll suddenly find that you want to exercise (especially cardio exercise that helps burn that excess energy), you’ll be more productive and you’ll get to do more of the stuff that you love to do simply because you’ll be energised enough to do it.
The reason why this is the case is because the vast majority of the animal products that we consume are extremely hard to digest. This means that if you are eating meat, dairy and eggs on a regular basis there’s a high chance that your digestive system will become overwhelmed so your body sends all of its available energy to tackle the problem, leaving you feeling low and lethargic.
Add to that the fact that so much of what constitutes a plant-based diet is high energy food and you’re onto a winner. However, it’s also worth pointing out that huge portion sizes of starchy veg like potatoes will knock your energy levels for six, too, so be sensible about the amount that you have on your plate. Little and often is a much better way to go.
Your digestive system will thank you for it
As we touched upon in point two, eating a plant-based whole food diet is fantastic for your digestive system.
Think about it for a minute from your gut’s point of view. Would you rather deal with fuel that is essentially made up of water and fibre or would you prefer to take on board a load of stuff that is sinewy and tough? Not a difficult question to answer, is it?
While we are not going to go as far as to say that humans are not genetically designed to eat meat, it’s abundantly clear that a diet high in meat is seriously detrimental to one’s health. We’re simply not made to process the excessive volumes of animal products that has become standard fare in the western world.
Giving up meat and processed foods will leave your body cleaner and make it feel less overworked. Don’t believe us? Give it a try for 30 days and tell us how you feel. The gauntlet has been thrown down! 🙂
READ NEXT: WHAT IS THE BEST VEGAN DIGESTIVE ENZYMES SUPPLEMENT?
You’ll be helping your body reduce inflammation
While inflammation can be a good thing in some instances, such as when we injure ourselves, having long-term inflammation within the body is most certainly not. The number of diseases that start with chronic inflammation is frightening, so we really should be doing all that we can to reduce the amount of inflammation found within our bodies. Giving up meat and going plant-based will help you do just that.
Animal products such as milk, cheese, eggs and meat, along with the majority of processed foods, are all going to adversely affect the amount of inflammation that your body produces. Plant-based whole foods, on the other hand, are jam-packed with natural anti-inflammatory properties that will get to work and help reduce inflammation…before it’s too late.
A study conducted a few years ago showed that the vegan diet can significantly reduce the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in our bodies. As this is one of the key indicators of inflammation, the benefits of lowering this protein are obvious. So, come on, eat more plants!
Up the potassium, lower your blood pressure
The amount of potassium you get when you switch over to a plant-based whole foods diet is incredible, so, yes, giving up meat really can have an effect on your blood pressure levels, and quickly, too.
Common vegan foodstuffs such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes are all rich in potassium, which is a key mineral that can, amongst other things, help to regulate your blood pressure – perfect for a healthier life.
Animal products, on the other hand, have very little potassium and can lead to hypertension as well as increasing bad cholesterol levels. Giving up meat will, therefore, help your heart, your arteries and lower the risk of strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease and even dementia.
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Better skin, brighter eyes
Fruit and veg is packed full of the good stuff such as vitamin A, C and E.
Couple that with the fact that these foodstuffs also have lots of water and a shedload of antioxidants and it’s easy to see why fruit and vegetables are the perfect way to achieve the best looking skin and brightest eyes you’ve experienced in years.
Saturated fats can block our pores, too, so cutting them out by giving up meat will help keep your skin glowing naturally. Replace the bad fats with the good ones that can be found in flax seeds and avocados and you’ll also lower the chances of age-related macular degeneration, too.
It can reverse diabetes
Yes, that’s right, you can actually reverse type 2 diabetes by giving up meat and taking on a healthy plant-based whole foods diet instead. Take a look at the video above from Dr Michael Greger of nutritionfacts.org to find out more.
You’ll enjoy better sleep when you give up meat
Once your body gets used to having all of that goodness flying around, you will find that your sleep becomes more predictable and less haphazard as you’ll likely be suffering less from the stress and anxiety associated with high blood pressure and general ill health brought about by consuming large quantities of animal products.
It’s also more likely that you will be consuming foodstuffs that actively help promote healthy sleep. Things such as kale, almonds, broccoli, sweet potatoes and spinach to name but a few, all contain vitamin B6, magnesium and tryptophan, the perfect nutritional combo for a great night’s sleep.
You don’t have to solely rely on your everyday diet either. A study conducted not too long ago showed that consuming two kiwi fruits one hour before bed can improve the duration and quality of sleep whilst lessening the time that it takes to drop off.
It’s not just the body that benefits
Giving up meat can also have a dramatic effect on our mental health, too. The key here, however, is balance.
In order to get the most from your mental health whilst on a vegan diet, it is important to make sure that you are getting a few basic needs met by what you are consuming and how you live your life generally.
Healthy fats are essential – think nuts and avocados – as is a good amount of vitamin D. The latter is often the tricky one to maintain good levels of as vitamin D is not easily found in vegan foods, so supplementation may be advisable – especially if you live in a part of the world that doesn’t get vitamin D from sunlight all year round like the UK.
Essential fatty acids are more easy to control and the majority of plant-based whole food vegans are already aware of the importance of eating plenty of leafy greens and seeds such as flax to keep these levels in good shape.
Remember, there are bad vegan diets out there. Just because you have stopped eating meat does not mean that you are being healthy. This is why we here at Happy Happy Vegan will always advocate a whole food plant-based diet that avoids processed foods as much as possible. Living on deep fried potato snacks is not an option!
FOR MORE ON VEGAN NUTRITION, CHECK OUT OUR COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
Bonus point – The benefits go way beyond you
As if all of these wonderful advantages to giving up meat are not enough, you will also be doing a great deal to help the environment, lessen the impact of climate change, and help stop the barbaric treatment of animals by the food industry as well.
So, why not set a date and try out giving up meat for 30 days? It really isn’t as hard as you think and the benefits of giving up meat are absolutely incredible.
Additional sources used in this article on giving up meat
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Bedford is a longtime vegan with a particular interest in nutrition and mental health. He is also a co-founder of happyhappyvegan.com.
When he isn’t sifting through PubMed or watching Dr. Greger do his thing, he’ll be banging away at a keyboard producing either copy or code. On the rare occasion when a screen isn’t in front of him, you’ll find David walking in the nearest available green space or exploring the Natural History Museum, of which he is a member.