The Benefits of a Vegan Diet: What the Meat and Dairy Industries Don't Want You to Know
On a vegan diet there is no obsessing over counting calories; starving yourself is a thing of the past. Maintaining a healthy weight on a natural, vegan diet is easy and natural. You can eat until you are full, and still lose weight. There is no need to stress about buying low-fat fruits, vegetables, or grains! Because nuts and seeds are high in fat they should be eaten in moderation unless they are raw (soaked or sprouted). Check out this page about sprouts for more information.
The meat, egg, and dairy industries spend millions of dollars trying to make you believe that their products are essential for good health. Just like the Tobacco industry wants you to think that smoking doesn't cause cancer and makes you look cool. But even relatively small consumption of animal-based foods is harmful:
"Among the many associations that are relevant to diet and disease, so many pointed to the same finding: people who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects [my emphasis]. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease"¹
But were am I going to get my protein?
When first introduced to the idea of a vegan diet, people are concerned with how they are going to get their protein. But the problem with the Western diet is that we consume way too much protein!
"We never talk about protein anymore, because it's absolutely not an issue, even among children," says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Hotel Management at New York University. "If anything, we talk about the dangers of high-protein diets. Getting enough is simply a matter of getting enough calories."²
This protein myth is fueled by the meat and diary industry. Fruits, vegetables, and grains contain more than enough protein for optimal functioning. Studies on the relation of protein to cancer have shown that:
"Foci development [the beginning stage of cancer] was almost entirely dependent on how much [animal] protein was consumed, regardless of how much aflatoxin [a cancer causing carcinogen] was consumed!"³
When people are exposed to carcinogens (very present in modern society) the seeds of cancer are planted. But just like in nature, without the proper conditions in the soil, the seeds of cancer cannot grow. Study after study has shown that the more meat and animal-based foods you consume, the better the conditions for toxins to grow, and the greater your risk of chronic disease.1-7
Many spiritual teachers like Ghandi and Buddha speak of the health and spiritual benefits of not killing animals for food or, especially, not paying people to kill animals for you to eat. When one's diet follows nonviolence, meditations like the mindfulness meditation are much easier to practice. When you are following a vegan diet, you create less suffering in your world and thus, create less suffering for yourself.
Although it is not common among Christians, Jesus also preaches against eating meat throughout the Bible. For example in The Essene Gospel of Peace, Book One (p. 36) Jesus says:
"'Thou shalt not kill,' for life is given to all by God, and that which God has given, let not man take away... For I tell you truly, he who kills, kills himself, and whoso eats the flesh of slain beasts, eats of the body of death. For in his blood every drop of their blood turns to poison; in his breath their breath to stink; in his flesh their flesh to boils; in his bones their bones to chalk; in his bowels their bowels to decay; in his eyes their eyes to scales; in his ears their ears to waxy issue. And their death will become his death."
Intense words, but he gets his point across. The Essene Gospel of Peace was found in the secret vaults of the Vatican. Before you decide to discredit the legitimacy of these texts, I suggest you read it. I care not where this information comes from, only that I can feel its truth and that it has positively impacted my life.
There is nothing in meat we can't get from plants
Our diet has no need for animal-based foods. Mother Nature, in Her infinite wisdom, gave us all the essentials of good health long before man discovered fire and could cook his food. Or rather, our bodies developed to thrive off of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds long before we became hunters.
Do you believe meat tastes good? Do you eat your beef or chicken raw, or do you have to do something to it and add some other ingredients to make it taste good? Meat only tastes good because we cook the life out of it and mask the natural taste with spices and sauces. If you don't believe me, try boiling some chicken without adding anything to it and see how it tastes!
Meat is like a drug, it will make you feel good temporarily, but it will hurt you in the long run. We can get all of our dietary needs met by following a vegan diet.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts supply all the nutrients that we need for optimal functioning. When you cook food by lighting a fire underneath it, you destroy many of its nutrients. Ever accidentally burn yourself while cooking? Look what it does to your skin! For optimal health, it is important to eat as many raw foods, like fruit and salads, as possible.
Just because you don't eat meat does not mean you are eating healthy
One mistake people who are new to the vegan diet tend to make is eating highly refined, processed foods instead of natural, whole foods. Anything with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or modified corn starch on the ingredients list should send you running the other way!
On a vegan diet you will naturally consume fresher foods without even thinking about it. But remember, the longer food takes to get from the earth to your mouth, the more nutrients it will lose. So try to buy most of your produce from farmer's markets (where it's also cheaper) and get it straight from the source. Or better yet, grow your own organic food. Canned goods should be minimized and eventually dropped completely. Dead food does not contain many nutrients (homemade fermented food is not dead).
When transitioning to a vegan diet, there is no need to commit yourself to more than you can handle. If you don't think you can drop all animal-based foods from your diet at once, that's okay. Commit yourself not to eat beef for a week and see how you feel, and how it's really much easier than it seems.
Start with gradually removing red meat from your diet, followed by pork, poultry (such as chicken and turkey), and finally fish. Reduce and drop milk, cheese, and eggs as soon as you can.
When transitioning to a vegan diet, some people have no problem dropping meat, but have trouble with dairy. Some people drop dairy like a bad habit, but find it hard to get used to meals not centered around meat. Some people have trouble changing anything and that's okay! Just do what you can to gradually transition into a healthier diet, the more you learn about it the easier it gets!
Find out more about our natural, vegan diet.
Read some simple healthy eating guidelines.
Check out our complete list of vegan recipes!
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1. Chenj, Campbell TC, Lij, et al. Diet, lifestyle and mortality in China. A study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties. Oxford, UK; Ithaca, NY; Beijing, PRC: Oxford University Press; Cornell University Press; People's Medical Publishing House, 1990.
2. Weisenthal DB, "Shattering the Protein Myth," Vegetarian Times (March 1995)
3. Campbell TC. "Present day knowledge on aflatoxin." Phil J Nutr 20 (1967): 193-201.
4. Kittagawa T, Owada M, Urakami T, et al. "Increased incidence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus among Japanese schoolchildren correlates with an increased intake of animal protein and fat." Gin. Pediatr. 37 (1998): 111-116.
5. Dip JB. "The distribution of multiple sclerosis in relation to the dairy industry and milk consumption." New Zealand Med. J. 83 (1976): 427-430.
6. McDougall J, Litzau K, Haver E, et al. "Rapid reduction of serum cholesterol and blood pressure by a twelve-day, very low fat, strictly vegetarian diet." J. Am. Coil. Nutr. 14 (1995): 491-496.
7. 34. Chittenden RH. Physiological economy in nutrition. New York: EA. Stokes, 1904.