As we move into a new year, most of us tend to assess the previous year and make plans for the one to come. And with that reflection, we often make resolutions. Some of the top resolutions for many of us include losing weight, eating healthier, and getting in shape. You can give yourself the gift of health this year with one shift: changing your diet. A plant-based lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to meet all those weight and health goals once and forever.
The Health Benefits of Veganism
There are so many health benefits to eliminating animal-based products from your diet. When you switch to a plant-based lifestyle, you’ll start eating a variety of whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. These provide nutrients you might not otherwise find in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Some other benefits of going vegan include:
One of the benefits of clean eating is that you tend to ingest fewer calories. And since those calories are typically nutrient rich, high fiber, and dense,you can eat less while feeling just as full. That is certainly a great gift of health for the new year! Of course, losing weight on a plant-based diet means planning ahead. Nutter Butters and Oreos are vegan, but they are empty calories. Stick to the good-for-you stuff instead.
Lower Blood Sugar
Whether you are diabetic, prediabetic, or just want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, a plant-based diet may be one gift of health for your body. Certainly, all sweeteners are vegan and plant based, but some are a better bet to maintain low blood sugar levels. Swap out the processed sugar for coconut sugar, agave, stevia, maple syrup, or monk fruit. Snack on naturally sweet fruits such as berries, which don’t affect blood sugar levels like juices do. And remember that fiber slows the absorption of glucose and prevents spikes in your blood sugar levels, a win win.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
A diet that is high in fat proteins, trans fats, sugary foods, and sodium has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease (among other factors). By switching to a plant-based, whole-food diet, you’ll give yourself the gift of health now and well into the future. Plants naturally lower your cholesterol and fat intake while increasing fiber, all of which plays into a stronger heart.
Protection Against Some Cancers
Although cancer is currently the second leading cause of death among Americans, studies suggest that nearly a third of cases could be prevented with diet and nutrition. Researchers have found that vegans have the lowest incidence of cancer among any diet. That could be attributed to the higher fiber intake of most plant eaters, as well as the phytochemicals produced by plants, which are anti-inflammatory and may protect cells from cancer. Plus, meat has been directly linked to cancer, so cutting out even a little bit can result in an amazing gift of health.
The Road to a Plant-based Lifestyle
While completely eliminating animal products has been shown to have the biggest result on health, even reducing meat and dairy in your diet can make a dramatic difference. If the gift of health is on your list for the new year—and you currently eat meat or dairy—aim to cut it out of your diet one day a week to start. The Mayo Clinic offers some suggestions to transition to a healthier diet, including:
- Implement meatless Monday or just more plant-based meals into your weekly routine.
- Try beans, lentils, or vegetables as the major component on your plate instead of meat.
Take it one step at a time instead of going cold turkey, if that works better for you. Even small wins are wins!
The Gift of Health through Vegan Taste
If you’re just not sure where to start with your transition to a plant-based lifestyle, you may need some help. Vegan Taste provides a rotating menu of delicious, plant-based meals to incorporate into your diet. Made fresh by Chef Jason, each meal is ready to heat and eat, cutting down on planning and prep time.
See what’s on this week’s menu and place your order now!