There are so many incredible reasons for choosing to go vegan. The major motive is a concern for animal welfare and/or the environment. I will spare you the horror stories about the abuse that animals endure as they are raised for human consumption; however I do encourage you to investigate this topic on your own. The meat and dairy industries are also seriously harmful to the earth. Once you are aware, then make your own dietary decisions. At the very least it will give you an appreciation for why people who have a reverence for life and respect for animals choose to avoid being meat, dairy, and egg consumers.
A more upbeat reason for being vegan, although not any less significant than animal rights and a desire to save the planet, is for good health. Research consistently shows that people who consume more plant foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes, develop lower rates of disease. Plants contain phytochemicals, many of which have been linked to fighting cancer. Full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, unrefined plant foods are the key to energy, radiant skin, and weight management. Meat and dairy consumption, however, is associated with many chronic diseases.
Being a healthy vegan is not as simple as just avoiding all animal-based foods. Sure, soda and certain cookies may be vegan but they are not providing much nutrition. Look at food as a source of fuel for your body. It makes sense to give yourself the greatest quality food that you can in order to enjoy the best possible health. Once you make the connection between how you feel and what you are eating, you will naturally gravitate to enjoying fresh colorful fruits and vegetables.
Question where your food came from. Educate yourself about factory farms and slaughterhouses. Figure out what you value in life and take a look at your diet to see how it coincides with your beliefs. Learn which foods are the most nutrient-rich and have been associated with lower rates of heart disease and cancer (hint: plants, not animals!) Don't take my word for how beneficial ridding your diet of animal products can be for your health. There are dozens of life-changing books and other resources out there. If you are in need of food ideas there are amazing vegan cookbooks and an infinite number of delicious recipes to discover online. Check out websites such as vegsource.com or veganhealth.org to learn more.
Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition Housecalls.com.