The Benefits of a Plant-Based, Whole Foods Diet: Why Veg is Best

June 15, 2011
By veggiegirl97 BRONZE, Kennesaw, Georgia
veggiegirl97 BRONZE, Kennesaw, Georgia
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference!" -Winston Churchill

Hello! I hope you all are doing well. I want to discuss something very dear to my heart. Everyone wants to live the healthiest and longest life possible, right? To achieve this goal of longevity, you should really consider adopting a plant-based, whole foods diet. Why? There are countless reasons.

The first reason why you should switch to a plant-based diet is, obviously, for your health. The animal protein and fat that come with eating meat, dairy, eggs, and the like have been scientifically proven to significantly raise your cholesterol and blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These three chronic illnesses affect an alarmingly large number of Americans and lead to thousands, possibly even millions, of deaths every single year. Only around two to three percent of all cancers can be conclusively linked to genetic factors; therefore, the vast majority of these cancers may be reversed or prevented by environmental factors, diet and lifestyle. Eating a wide variety of whole grains, nuts, legumes, and lots of fruits and vegetables that are naturally rich in vital nutrients helps fight off these debilitating diseases.

Another reason you should change your diet is for the animals. Over ninety percent of the more than 16 billion animals that are consumed in the U.S. every year are produced in factory farms. These animals are kept in filthy, cruel, horrifying conditions where they have absolutely no quality of life whatsoever. They live a life full of neglect and abuse before they are violently killed. If this cruelty were inflicted upon dogs, cats, or other “pets,” it would be a very severe crime. Yet the pigs, cattle, chickens, and other animals raised for meat are no different than the pets we treat with such love and kindness. They think and feel just as our beloved pets do. In fact, studies have shown that pigs are actually smarter than dogs. Factory farmed animals are treated as mere machines that are raised for one and only one purpose- to be slaughtered for consumption. They are fed unnatural diets to make them grow bigger faster. For example, corn can be produced so cheaply that cattle are being fed corn instead of grass. Their bodies can’t even digest corn; it makes them fat and physically sick. The meat producers must then pump the sick animal full of antibiotics, and the person that eats the cow’s meat ends up consuming these antibiotics. This leads us back to the issue of health- these artificial substances can be harmful to your well-being. Because plants don’t feel pain, there is no cruelty involved in a vegetarian diet. Eating a cruelty-free diet full of living, vibrant plant-based foods will give you more energy and make you feel more alive.

The third reason to adopt a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle is for the environment and the world. Animal agriculture wastes precious resources like fossil fuels, and it pollutes our water, the land, and the very air we breathe. Imagine this: more than half of the water used in the U.S. goes into animal agriculture. Since animals produce such large amounts of waste, there is a lot of runoff. All this runoff contaminates our rivers, lakes, and oceans, so we are left with tons of dirty, polluted water! Also, we produce huge quantities of grain to feed these factory animals. To produce one pound of meat, sixteen pounds of grain are needed. If all this grain was fed directly to the people of the world instead of to the animals, theoretically, we would have sixteen times more food - enough to feed the world’s growing population comfortably. The way animal products are being produced now is simply not sustainable.

Many people think that it is too difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to eat right. This is simply not true! You just have to buy produce in season, and buying things such as brown rice and dried beans in bulk is also helpful. A simple, quick dish of beans and brown rice is a complete protein, very high in fiber, and loaded with good nutrients. Pair it with some green veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, or kale, and some fresh fruit and you have a stellar meal. This is just one easy example. There are endless possibilities for easy meals, including whole-wheat pasta with red sauce, a veggie sub or wrap with hummus, a lentil and veggie stew, a baked sweet potato with cinnamon, and a huge salad with legumes, avocado, and lots of veggies. There are lots more options, too, if you enjoy cooking and want to get creative!

There are so many reasons to change your diet; these are just a few. Remember, you can sit around all day, watching television and eating Oreos and potato chips and still be vegan, but you definitely won’t be healthy. Avoid processed, artificial, chemical-laden, “fake” food and instead, eat a large variety of whole, organic, plant-based foods, including legumes (nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, etc.), whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, bulgur, whole-wheat couscous, etc.), and fruits and vegetables. This kind of diet along with an active lifestyle will give you energy, fight off disease, and help you live a longer, healthier, happier life. Do your research, be educated, know what’s best for your body, and do it! You only have one body- love it and respect it! Going veg is also one of the best things you can do to make a difference in the world - you can save animals, save the planet, help end world hunger, improve your health, and also help the slaughterhouse workers, who have almost no rights and are forced to work what is said to be “the most dangerous job in America.” With all these reasons to adopt a plant-based, whole foods diet, the better question you may ask yourself is, “Why wouldn’t I?”

The author's comments:
Veganism is something I feel very strongly about. I have been a vegetarian since birth and became a vegan several months ago. I hope people will realize all the benefits of a plant-based, whole foods diet and consider changing the way they eat.

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This article has 3 comments.

PurpleLotus said...
on Mar. 15 2012 at 12:31 pm
PurpleLotus, Oxfordshire, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Actually it is not hard to see how veganism can be very healthy. 'bad' cholesterol (the one which is linked to heart disease and certain types of cancer) is found only in animal products. Veganism is animal-free. Just a couple of days ago in the UK we heard that official diet guidelines say that red or processed meat should be reduced or avoided for a healthy diet as it can lead to heart problems and cancer.

And there is nothing wrong with arguing the ethical reasons for veganism along side the health ones. I noticed you didn't actually have a counter-argument for animal ethics-veganism. And yes, I am vegan :) and liked the article.

blazzobob said...
on Sep. 12 2011 at 2:28 pm

Yet another Rah-rah article.  Its healtheir according to whom?   Where are your abstracts to back up your claims.  I see no links or commentary of studies published in the NEJM to support your claims that a vegan diet is somehow "healthier."

What I do see though is a lot of "animal rights" rhetoric positioned in the guise of going vegan = longer life BS.  Let me guess you're a card carrying member of PETA...


GpaB said...
on Jul. 2 2011 at 2:03 pm
Well written, informative and so well researched.  Really enjoy the personal, conversational style.  Great job.


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