There's plenty of scientific evidence to justify a transitioning to a plant-based diet, and it seems the stories of personal transformation; curing a host of diseases, losing unwanted weight, manifesting an active lifestyle are the things that make the biggest impression.
There will always be plenty of ready-made excuses for those who have lost their battle with leaving behind an omnivore’s diet; they fill food networks with dreadful accounts of fatigue, illness, hair loss, anxiety, diminished sex drive, and mental/emotional breakdowns after they have quit consuming animal products. The problem with their accounts, and one they almost all have in common, is that those who made the vegan leap and failed, did so with a lack of diligence sufficient to understand intelligent veganism. One can dine on fast foods, processed foods, and all sorts of junk foods and wash them all down with soda and still call themselves a vegan. Many backsliders have evidently tried to do exactly that.
There are even those who turn to veganism in order to support serious eating disorders (E.D.s), and this type of unintelligent choice can represent a dangerous slide from health to pathology. Anorexics/manorexics and orthorexics (a controversial new disorder compulsively avoid foods thought to be unhealthy or unnatural) are examples of those who opt for a strict vegan diet for all the wrong reasons. By making proper and intelligent choices veganism can be used as a effective tool to recover from all types of E.D. including anorexia, bulimia and orthorexia.
There are piles of documentation and books, such as The China Study, and whether you choose to believe them or not, there's no disputing the fact that a diet rich in plant-based, un-processed, un-altered food is a smart diet. Undeniably there are countless healthful consequences of a well informed vegan diet and lifestyle. Even so, we are bombarded by endless excuses for why someone simply cannot go vegan, but the assertion that veganism, when done properly, is not healthy; well that’s just plain bunk.
It often seems the most persuasive evidence supporting a healthy vegan diet is anecdotal. The vegans, who eat and shop intelligently, are paragons of good health. Regardless of whether they’re young or in their 50s, 60s, and 70s they rock on with glowing intensity, often looking much younger (in some cases as much as 20 years) than they actually are. Many of these vegans have conquered afflictions such as obesity, chronic disease, depression, and an array of food-related disorders by exclusively eating a delicious and nutritionally dense diversity of plants. If there's a single lesson to be learned from seasoned vegans, it’s that this diet empowers.
Above and beyond anecdotes, there's considerable scientific evidence showing that veganism is a wise way to eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims that a well-planned vegan (and vegetarian) diet is "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." And please note that this is a much more cautious assessment than many studies suggest.
According to a less restrained study; "vegan diets are effective in treating and preventing several chronic diseases." The adaptation of a low-fat vegan diet can substantially mitigate the impacts of type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson's disease. Veganism reduces the risk of colon cancer. Vegans have a better "antioxidant status" than non-vegans. Veganism is more effective at combating obesity than almost all other prescribed diets. Veganism has been shown to significantly lower risk factors associated with cardiac disease.
There are also transformations initiated by a healthy vegan diet that extend far beyond physical health. For those who so desire, their plant-based diet can be a potent political criticism of our broken food system. We're looking at a diet for which the ultimate beneficiary is the individual. In no way does healthy veganism serve the corporate or industrial gods. In fact, it counters their greedy interests. Veganism keeps these executives up at night. As long as people keep eating meat, they're happy, even if it costs their animal eating customers their health, not to mention the animal cruelty involved.
Consider the prospect of simultaneously giving corporate food executives nightmares while achieving personal dietary empowerment. At the same time you’ll lower your carbon footprint and minimize animal suffering. If this has any appeal, then veganism is for you. But here's the catch, you have to do it right, and doing it right means consuming a wide variety of nutrient-rich plant-based foods and following the simple nutritional guidelines outlined HERE.
Stay tuned…Coming soon, “Snacking – Vegan Style”
Rae Indigo is ERYT 500