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Do It for Your Health

Your body will thank you

Plant-based diets are more popular, and chic, than ever. Doctors are advocating it. Celebrities are tweeting about it. A recent Harris Interactive study found that approximately five percent (16 million people) of the U.S. population is vegetarian, and about half of them are vegan. While that may not sound like a lot, the number of vegans has doubled since 2009. What’s also promising is that 33% of the population in the U.S. is eating vegetarian and vegan meals more often, even though these people don’t classify themselves as vegetarian or vegan. The tides are turning, yes they are!

What may be behind some of the shift are the evidence-based health benefits of a plant-based diet. It’s hard to deny the facts; indicators for chronic disease, cancer, obesity, and our overall health as a nation are all pointing in the wrong direction. You don’t need a prescription to start a vegan diet, just the desire to feel better and perhaps live longer. An investment in your health today means potentially lower costs for medical care later.

  • An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • If you avoid animal products, for even part of the day or week, you can weigh 5 to 20 percent less than meat eaters.
  • According to a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, research has found vegan diets to be appropriate for people at all stages of the life cycle — even people at crucial stages, such as growing children, pregnant or lactating women, and highly active athletes.
  • Worried about your protein? According to dietary standards, a 140-pound woman should have roughly 46 grams of protein a day, and for a vegan that might come from a cup each of cooked spinach (5 grams), lentils (18 grams), and tempeh (a soy product with 41 grams).
  • After reviewing 7,000 clinical studies of the links between diet and cancer, The World Cancer Research Fund concluded that processed meats (hamburgers, hot dogs, meat in frozen dinners, sandwich meats, bacon, etc.) are dangerous for human consumption.
  • It’s normal for humans to be lactose intolerant. Mammals only need to produce the enzyme lactase (the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose) until they are weaned. For humans this is somewhere between 2-4 years old. After that we are officially weaned from our mother’s milk and ready to get our complete nutrients from solid foods. Humans were never intended to drink cow’s milk, nor include it as a lifelong part of our diet. Dairy is linked to high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Antibiotics regularly administered to livestock on factory farms causes bacteria to mutate, leading to diseases that are medication-resistant. The run-off from factory farms is in our water supplies which means these antibiotics are being consumed not just from the meat or milk we drink, but from our water.

What more evidence do you need to start shifting your diet from one that can harm you to one that can heal you?