After recently watching the documentary “Forks over Knives” on Netflix, my fiancé and I felt compelled to rethink what we were eating. Over thousands of years, the human body adapted to eating plants, but meat? Not so much. Meat is a huge industry in the United States, and most of us probably grew up eating meals based on beef, pork, and chicken. However, our bodies crave the nutrition from fruits and vegetables. Everybody knows this, but many don’t actually try to base their meals on plants. Maybe you should need a little extra push. So, why go on a plant-based diet?
Here are 6 reasons to go on a plant-based diet:
1. You’ll Save Money
Think about how much money a month you spend on meat, eggs, cheese, and milk. Probably around $10 per day. Now think about replacing that amount for fruits and vegetables. Once you’ve armed yourself with lots of spices, the most expensive part is actually out of the way. You could be spending less than $5 a day for food by eating plant-based meals! You can do this by buying in bulk, joining a community farm, going to a farmer’s market, growing your own plants, and shopping at different grocery stores.
2. The Meals Will Be More Interesting
How often do you make meat and potatoes? Spaghetti and meat sauce? Eventually you recycle the recipes and keep eating the same boring meals. Why not shake things up a bit? Consider recipes like black bean quesadillas with avocado, creamy coconut curry, portobello burgers, vegetarian gumbo, and more. Don’t those sound a little more interesting? Have your significant other, friends, or kids help join you in the cooking process for some fun and quality bonding.
3. You’re Raising Your Intake of Healthy Foods
You’re probably wondering…what about protein? Don’t worry, you can get most of your protein from beans, whole grains, lentils, legumes, nuts, and tofu. Instead of eating too much protein from meats and getting most of your calories from starches, you’ll be raising the nutrition levels of your diet by making these protein alternatives the stars of the meal with fruits and vegetables as the sidekicks.
4. It’s Environmentally Friendly
With a plant-based diet, you’ll be doing the world a favor. Animal agriculture causes forests to be cut down for animals to graze on the land, causes nearly 1/5 of greenhouse gases, causes huge amounts of waste pollution, causes species extinction, and causes huge amount of water consumption, and more. Why not reduce your part in all of this by eating more plant-based meals?
5. Reverse or Reduce Your Chance of Diseases
Animal products are high in trans fat and saturated fats, and they expose us to toxic levels of antibiotics and carcinogens. If you want to reduce your chances of a shortened lifespan, gaining weight, clogging your arteries, heart problems, cancer, and memory-based and motor-based diseases, then eating plant-based meals is the way to go.
6. You’ll Feel Happier Overall
By reducing your intake of meat, dairy, sugary and refined foods, and increasing your intake of probiotics from nutritional foods, you’ll reduce the inflammation in your brain, sleep better and lower your levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Plus, you’re digestive system will overall run better, which means fewer bellyaches and blocked plumbing issues.
Eating plant-based foods will definitely be a lifestyle change, and your body will have to adjust to the differences in your diet. Just be careful about your intake of oils, hidden fats from nuts, and calorie intake as well. The transition should be slow and gradual. You don’t need to give up meat completely. And guess what? It’s okay to eat a hamburger or steak every now and then, but you should view that more as a special treat. If you do choose to be a vegan or vegetarian, educate others on the benefits. 🙂
What plant-based recipes do you suggest?