I’m very excited to share this fabulous guest post with all of you from Lauren at The Holy Kale. (Love that blog name!) Lauren is a certified nutritionist and her website is a fantastic resource for learning about a plant-based diet and how it benefits your mind, body and soul.
As we begin the year 2012, we make lofty goals, set high expectations and resolutions that we know we will not follow through on. We set ourselves up for guilt, disappointment, and self-loathing, only to leave ourselves worse off than when we began. So instead of our usual tendencies, let’s take some small steps toward permanent, healthy change, through the movement toward plant-based vegan eating.
We all know that eating less meat is “good” for us, and that we would be healthier without the steaks, ribs and chicken tenders, but the question still remains for most… “Why?” and “ How Much Better?”
Is changing to a plant-based vegan diet going to really make that big of a difference?
Living a plant-based, vegan lifestyle not only impacts your life but the world around you as well. The way that you eat is no longer just a preference of taste, but a vote for your physical and spiritual health, for the health of your community, for the environment, and for the animals. Without getting overly preachy here, your choices make a difference…and I mean a big difference.
This life is about being conscious – conscious of the way you treat yourself, the way you treat others and how you contribute to this life. Therefore, why not be conscious of how you fuel your body and impact this earth. We are here to make a difference and we have been given the gift of life, so let’s honor that gift and be mindful. We have the power within to make a change in our own life, and by changing ourselves we will change the world around us. To make a positive change in world, it can be as simple as adopting a plant-based vegan diet.
What will I gain?
We must look at all change in this instance as a chance to grow and gain something new, not as something lost. I will point out the numerous ways in which your life in its entirety will become infinitely better once you decide to leave the animals out of the equation.
1. A Plant-Based Vegan Diet prevents Disease, Cancer and Degenerative Illnesses.
According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, nutritional research at Cornell University, “The vast majority of all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and other forms of degenerative illness can be prevented simply by adopting a plant-based diet.” The American Heart Association reports that vegetarians “have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and some forms of cancer.
2. A Plant-Based Vegan Diet promotes a Healthy Weight and Immune System.
Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters do, and they are also far less likely to be overweight. In fact, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans.
Weight gain can result from toxicity and hormone imbalance, two factors that are directly related to eating hormone-laden meat and dairy foods.
3. A Plant-Based Vegan Diet reduces Toxicity
Meat and dairy are highly contaminated with antibiotics, hormones and toxins (arsenic, pesticides, heavy metals) that are extremely harmful to the human body, which can lead to antibiotic-resistance, hormone imbalance, and full-body toxicity. Not to mention, the more toxic the body is the more body weight you hold onto. Fat tissue is simply a defense mechanism of the body to protect itself against foreign toxins, so the cleaner you eat, the leaner you become.
Secondly, a toxic body sets the stage for the development of an array of symptoms including chronic disease, inflammation and even cancer.
4. A Plant-Based Vegan Diet promotes an Alkaline Body
A plant-based vegan diet comprises of nutritionally dense foods such as; vitamin-rich leafy greens, mineral-rich grains and seeds, as well as fruits packed with antioxidants, which all set the stage for an alkaline environment. In an alkaline environment no pathogens can flourish, therefore leading to a disease and symptom-free body. The more plant-based foods that you consume, the more you can lower your risk of a host of diseases including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and several types of cancer.
5. A Plant-Based Vegan Diet Saves your Bones and your Kidneys
All meat (animal flesh) is highly acidic and causes the leaching of minerals from your bones. Furthermore, it breaks down into metabolites that are extremely hard on your kidneys, which can lead to kidney stones, gout, dehydration, osteoporosis and edema. Red meat is often made out to be the bad guy, but consuming the carcass of any animal will lead to these issues.
The body is not only a chemical being but also an energetic one, picking up on various frequencies from the world around us and influencing our very biochemical body. Everything from the energy of people around us, to the biological changes of the earth impacts our physiology. Therefore, we must be conscious of the energy of the food we eat. Since the saying “you are what you eat” still holds true, have you thought of what the energetic impacts of eating flesh is?
Death hormones are actually created by the animals as soon as they are killed, leading to the transference of “death” energy from the animal to your body. The method of death of the animal is highly significant (typically mass slaughter lines in which the animal experiences great fear and trauma right before death) thus releasing the so-called “death hormones” into its tissues at the time of death. These toxic hormone residues are rarely addressed and may directly interfere with human hormone balance. Studies show that these “stress hormones” in animal tissue can negatively affect human tissue leading to an array of symptoms. Long gone are the days of respecting life of the animal you are about to take for food. Animals are aware and they sense things on a different level than humans. They know they are being slaughtered… but do you think they know why?
We are all one, one vibration, one entity, one force. We must live in peace, we must protect those around us, even those beings less than ourselves. While animals may have been put on this earth as part of the food chain, we have certainly abused our right. We have taken a humane biological circle of life and have turned it into a horrific and abusive profit generator. The process of obtaining meat for food no longer resembles that which was first laid out for us as hunter and gatherers. Therefore, we must re-evaluate the principle of eating animal flesh.
Did you know that many cultures rooted in spirituality have preferences for not eating meat based on the principle of nonviolence?
The Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists support vegetarianism and the Jewish people only eat meat that has been prayed for and that has been slaughtered humanly. The principle of nonviolence applied to animals is connected with the intention to avoid negative karmic influences, which result from violence. Therefore, they abstain from eating any flesh, especially that which was unjustly treated.
Vegetarianism is also mandatory for those who practice Hatha Yoga based on their perception of its negative impact on the body. They choose to eat only high-quality food, because they are convinced that food shapes the personality, mood and mind. They believe that meat is said “to promote sloth and ignorance and an undesirable mental state known as tamas, while a vegetarian diet is considered to promote the desirable sattvic qualities essential for spiritual progress.”
Your body is a temple – treat it as such.
“If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is stop eating meat… It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot; ecology, famine, cruelty.” Sir Paul McCartney
1. Global Warming: According to a recent UN report, the meat industry causes more global warming (through emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) than all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined. Furthermore, researchers at U of Chicago determined that switching to a vegan diet is 50% more effective than switching to a hybrid car.
2. Water Resources: More than ½ of all the water consumed in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food. A vegetarian diet requires only 13% of that!
3. Pollution: Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the U.S. According to the EPA, the run-off from factory farms pollutes our rivers and lakes more than all other industrial sources combined.
Raising animals for food is “one of the top 2 or 3 most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” United Nations
Moving toward a plant-based vegan lifestyle can seem daunting, but simply see it as a choice in evolution. We all have the power to change, and the innate desire to be the best that we can be, so make the choice to tap into that power and move towards the path of self-progression- for yourself and the world.