We’ve all heard of meatless Mondays by now and may have even given them a try. If you’re an overachiever, you may have taken it one step further by including a vegan dish with your healthy lunch or dinner.
The vegan diet is plant-based and void of meat and animal products such as dairy, honey, and eggs. It takes commitment, but the health benefits are overwhelming.
A few headlining benefits of eating vegan include:
Reduce Heart Disease
Multiple studies have linked red meat consumption to an increased rate of heart disease, and a recent study has pinpointed why. According to an article published in the online journal Nature Medicine, red meat contains L-carnitine. When bacteria in the gut digest L-carnitine, it is turned into TMAO, a compound that has been shown to clog arteries in mice. Clogged arteries are a leading cause of heart attacks. The vegan diet is excellent for keeping arteries clean and the heart happy.
Reduce The Risk of Cancers
Recent statistics have cited that approximately one-third of worldwide cancer cases are preventable. To put that in perspective, that’s an estimated 340,000 cancer cases per year in the U.S. alone that could have been prevented with a healthy diet and exercise.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, avoiding dairy products reduces the risk of prostate cancer while avoiding meat reduces the risk of colon, rectum, breast, kidney, and pancreatic cancer.
Growing up, we were told that drinking milk builds strong, healthy bones, but according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, that is not the case. Animal proteins leave acidic residues in the blood, which causes the body to dissolve bone to release calcium to neutralize the acid. By avoiding animal proteins such as dairy and consuming whole plant foods such as beans, seeds, and green vegetables, you strengthen your bones and lower your chance of developing osteoporosis.
Prevent and Reduce Diabetes
A recent study found that vegans reduce their risk of diabetes by 78% compared with people who consume meat daily. Research has revealed that saturated fats found in animal products contribute to insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes.
Along with consuming foods low in saturated fats and ridden of chemicals found in animal products, vegans are typically adept at maintaining a healthy weight. This is another factor in reducing the risk of diabetes.
A vegan diet is also optimal for individuals already diagnosed with diabetes. Research published on the American Diabetes Association reveals that a vegan diet low in fat improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Simply put, a well-balanced vegan diet can help lower blood sugar levels and better manage diabetes.
The benefits of the vegan diet are overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to get started. Instead of going full vegan, try one or two days a week with no animal products, or prepare a vegan dish daily for a healthy lunch that will boost you through the afternoon.
Our favorite vegan dishes are easy to prepare and portable. Think wraps, bowls, and soup. A grilled zucchini hummus wrap is an excellent vegan dish for crunch and nutrition. We love sweet potatoes and kale, both of which make for a satisfyingly healthy lunch in a loaded sweet potato. Prepare the night before and simply reheat for lunch.
The vegan diet is not only kind for animals, it’s kind for your body. At Rootastes, we strive to offer at least one vegan option on our daily menu.
Meg is a dreamer, entrepreneur, and homesteader based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She loves her cats, feasting, and road trips in her green VW Bug.