Why Vegan, many people ask?
For some, the answer is right above you, in the title. A Vegan Diet gives you Energy, keeps you Healthy and is as “natural” a diet as you can possibly eat.
Some Vegans have strong convictions about the welfare of animals. The killing and eating of these creatures is for most of us, a terrible image, even if we choose to eat meat. Others choose a vegan lifestyle to lose weight or “cleanse” their systems of animal protein and its harmful byproducts. Whichever reason is chosen, there are primary and secondary benefits to your health, to animals and to the environment.
What is a Vegan Diet?
A Vegan diet is one composed totally of natural foods, where there are no animal proteins or byproducts eaten. A Vegetarian, on the other hand, does eat animal byproducts, such as eggs or milk.
For most people, going Vegan is a moral choice that ends up with them feeling healthier. For a few, the Vegan Diet was recommended for health reasons or sometimes for weight loss. What is quite striking about the Vegan Diet is how it seems to stabilize the appetite.
The Vegan’s Relationship with Food
Unlike many other styles of eating, which are often haphazard, the Vegan
appears to have a lot of control over what they eat and what they don’t. If you watch a Vegan dining, you’ll see that they don’t appear to have food cravings at all. They eat slowly and seem to savor each mouthful of food.
I’ve yet to see a Vegan who overeats or ingests large portions of anything.
Studies have shown that portion controlled eating can extend one’s life by 10 years or more. If you ask a Vegan, they’ll tell you they eat normal portions and that it becomes easy to tell when they’re full. Again, quite different from many people who’s eating habits appear to be out of control.
That’s one of the first things you’ll notice about Vegans, possibly even more quickly than they realize it themselves – their relationship to food changes.
As their appetites becomes stabilized, they appear to eat more slowly, enjoy what they’re eating and maintain a reasonable weight. Many will tell you it has greatly influenced every aspect of their lives; that they’ve become less food driven and less frenzied overall about most aspects of their lives.
Physical and Emotional Stability
Vegans, in general, appear to be very calm and controlled, but not in the often rigid or uncomfortable sense. Their energy is palpable, sometimes infectious and they’re generally very pleasant to be around. Along with the Vegans’ energy comes a new interest in moving their bodies, and many of them find it easy to stay thin. If you ask a Vegan if their approach to life has changed, they may not be able to qualify it or tell you where it comes from, but as an observer, you’ll see the gradual changes. You’ll notice that Vegans sleep deeply and when they are awake, are very alert with an improved ability to concentrate. After some time, there appears to be an emotional calm that envelops them, one that they begin to recognize in themselves. In fact, many Vegans may notice that their lifestyle has changed along with their diet and yet not be able to tell you why. They say they are more mellow, with less anxiety; that they can control their food intake and portions to the point where they no longer think about food as much, or in the same way. Food often becomes less of an “issue” for Vegans and they will tell you they feel better, often without an exact explanation or realization of the changes.
Vegans will say they feel healthier, that their digestive systems work better and that they have more energy than they thought they could ever have. They will often tell you that they are more balanced in their food choices and that it seems to be affecting their emotional life in a positive way.
As to all the so-called “drawbacks” to the Vegan Diet, I have yet to meet one who becomes more sickly, has less energy or seems more emotionally distraught. Quite the opposite seems to be the case. Most articles on the effects of vegan eating styles mention a renewed energy. Many Vegans feel more balanced emotionally, report high energy and improved mental clarity. Could it be that humans were meant to eat in this fashion? A wonderful question, especially if eating this way seems to promote so many positive changes in people. Many studies support a shift to a Vegan lifestyle. The human digestive system, for example, may have been designed to digest plant material and not flesh. This theory is supported by the amount of hydrochloric acid in the human gut which is 1/20th that of a typical carnivore.
Raising Animals for Food – Many Issues
Whether or not you have an issue with raising animals for food consumption, the fact remains that most animals aren’t treated very well and don’t have much of a life to speak of. They’re warehoused, fed substandard food and are given massive injections of hormones and antibiotics which studies suggest is a big contributing factor to Mersa and other flesh eating diseases. These resistant bacteria are continuing to grow at an alarming rate and many believe their flourishing is linked it to the over-medicating our farm animals. Most of these resistant strains can be lethal. People who have been affected by these kinds of diseases will often make sure any meat, fish or fowl they eat subsequently, is thoroughly cooked.
Raising animals also takes a toll on our planet. For example, in the United States alone, over half the water used is for animal production. The water used to produce 5 one pound hamburgers is equivalent to what a person uses in a whole year! Another problem is that animals create a lot more waste than humans, in fact, over 130% more! Animal waste is the single largest water pollutant we know of and most of it remains untreated. Some animal waste gets used to further cultivate crops, but even when it does, the waste often still seeps into the ground water and leaches out into our own water supplies. Much of it ends up in our rivers, lakes and streams. Not only does that make us more susceptible to disease, but we’re also wiping out species that need to live in a clean, H20 habitat. If those arguments aren’t sufficient, raising animals for human consumption is the single greatest cause of deforestation in our country and around the world!
There are a number of great books on the market that have taken up the study of Vegans and their lifestyles including why they appear to have more energy and why they seem to stay so healthy. When you ask Vegans, most of them will tell you that a Natural Vegan diet has had an extraordinary impact on their bodies and minds and that it has improved nearly every aspect of their lives. Eating green and going green go hand in hand. If more people were to adopt a Vegan lifestyle, we would eliminate a number of diseases that are directly related to raising large quantities of animals for food, and that in turn would decrease our water pollution problems as well as the hazards that come with the deforestation of our planet.
All in all, eating Vegan has the power to produce an amazing “cleanup”, not only of our bodies, but of our entire world. Imagine that!
“The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Living” by Larry Cook, 2009.
“Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth.” John Robbins, H. J. Kramer Books, New York: 1997.
The Eating for Energy Blog. By Yuri.
“Disease Prevention and Treatment: Thousands of Research Studies and the Clinical Experience of Physicians around the World.” Melanie Segala, Editor,
Saul Kent and Williams Faloon, Directors of Research at The Life Extension Foundation. Life Extension Media Publishers, 2008.
“Eating Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating.” Eric Marcus, McBooks Press, New York: 2001.
“Health and Energy with Raw Foods.” Peter Gillham. 2010.
I Went Vegan and Lived to Tell About it, Claudia Koerner, Orange City Register, N.J. 4/42011.
“The Kind Life”. By Peter Gillham, 2009.
“Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry.” Gail. A. Eisnitz. Promethus Books, New York, 2007.
The Vegan Food Pyramid from “Vegan Peace.” by Wanda Embar, 2008.