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4 Powerful Reasons I’ve Chosen to Live a Plant-Based Lifestyle
A little note – I’ve exchanged the word “diet” for “lifestyle” as I feel that more accurately describes my intentions. I don’t plan on this being a short-term fad that I start and stop. The word “diet” implies a short-term, difficult sacrifice – however, I plan on creating a mindset of joy and longevity around this process by discovering new foods that I enjoy and reaping the benefits of a healthier food intake.
- To give me a reason to stick it out. It needs to be bigger than just a “want”. I need to know deep down why I feel this change is important.
Acknowledgement of hurdles I expect to encounter
- Knowing these challenges upfront will help me proactively take measures to overcome them.
Goals/milestones I want to reach
- To feel a sense of accomplishment along the way and help keep me motivated.
A step-by-step plan
- A breakdown so I know where I have been, where I am, and what I need to do next. Keep my progress on track and prevent stalling out.
My article today is going to explain why I feel this change is something that needs to happen.I have four main reasons I want to start a whole foods, plant-based diet:
1) My Little Girl (and future children)
I’m no longer just responsible for my own eating habits
Now that E is eating more and more solids in addition to breastfeeding, I have become harshly aware of the fact that I am no longer responsible for just my eating habits – but hers as well.
I also realize that now is the best time to accustom her taste buds to healthy, nutritious foods. This seems to be the better solution, rather than forming bad habits that will lead to poor eating and health as she grows up.
This generation is the first that is predicted to live shorter lives than their parents.
Take a moment to think about that and how serious it is. A huge contributing to this prediction is our society’s poor diet. A daily diet high is sugar, animal products, processed foods and empty calories while being low in absorbable nutrients.
We are an overweight society that is essentially starving nutritionally.
So, as E grows and develops, being raised on a healthy diet will help avoid these illnesses and obesity while fuelling her for brain and body growth.
I want to raise kind, considerate, responsible and compassionate children.
Finally, apart from the nutritional and health benefits, I want her to grow up to be a thoughtful, responsible and compassionate person. I want to help her learn to make ethical choices when it comes to animals and our planet.
2) My Own Health and Energy
I feel old… Seriously.
I ache and am tired all the time. I felt like this before having E, but since then it has gotten worse. If I could sleep for hours on end, I would; and I feel as though I am in a constant fog.
To me, these are all signs that I am not healthy. I may not be overweight – but skinny doesn’t mean healthy. I judge by how I feel and not how I look. (And I’m only talking about weight – I look tired and worn down, and when I don’t wear make-up people tend to ask if I am sick.)
I used to blame my aches and pains on my old injuries and being too rough on my body when I was a teenager. But, to my surprise, when I cut out sugar and eat healthier – all these disappear!
I want to be around for a long time with my family, and cleaning up my eating habits is the best way to do what I can to be around for as long as possible.
I’m not the only one.
It’s no secret that in our society, there is a steady rise of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. I truly and whole heartedly believe this is primarily due to our food choices. Meat and other animal products, refined sugars, highly processed foods all contribute to the decline of our health.
We are eating foods that contribute to these diseases while not providing adequate nutrition to strengthen our bodies to fight off illnesses – it’s a lose/lose.
I have personally witness profound changes in health when people begin eating well and nourishing their bodies.
While I am lucky enough to have never been diagnosed with a serious illness, I don’t feel healthy; so don’t want to wait till I am truly sick to start making the change.
3) Prevent Animal Cruelty
The commercial meat industry is cruel.
Plain and simple, no way around it. These animals live horrible lives and are neglected things that should be considered basic care (fresh air, adequate space, being outdoors, basic veterinary care, etc.) only to end these miserable lives in fear and pain.
People are petitioning against circuses and places like Sea World; But, hardly anyone is calling out the commercial meat industry!?
We no longer need to eat meat from a nutritional standpoint.
I feel that it is unethical to kill something if it isn’t required to survive. It used to be that people hunted and killed wild animals for survival. Now it is a case of eating factory farmed animals out of convenience and social norm.
A plant-based diet can provide excellent nutrition without relying on meat or animal products. Protein, calcium and iron can all be attained in adequate levels through eating a whole foods diet, and is even absorbed more easily by the body.
There are several documentaries on Netflix that show just how awful the lives are of these animals raised to feed us. These movies are partially what motivated me to finally take this plunge.
I feel that as a good and decent human being, I can’t continue being responsible for contributing to this unnecessary suffering.
You can do an Internet search of “factory farming” or “commercial meat farming” if you have never looked into how awful the meat industry is.
4) The Health of Our Planet
The meat industry is very hard, if not detrimental, to our planet’s wellbeing. From threatening our water supply, to greenhouse gases, world hunger and deforestation, the side effects of raising animals for consumption is having global impact.
Raising animals requires an enormous amount of water. When you consume meat or other animal products, you are essentially taking in the water that was used to raise the animal (both directly and through growing crops). 1 pound of beef takes approximately 20,000 pounds of water to raise, while 1 litre of milk takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce!
The greenhouse gas emissions put off by the meat industry are more than every form of transportation combined!
Everyday, acres of rainforest are cleared to make room for meat animals. Rainforests are vital to our planet health.
There are people starving and dying everyday, and yet the grain produced to feed the animals we eat is more than enough to feed the world’s population twice over. In fact, there is no shortage of food, it’s simply being used in inefficient ways.
There are even more issues with the commercial meat industry that we could talk about such as:
- Waste pollution
- Air pollution
- Oil consumption
- Ocean pollution
- Food contamination with salmonella, E-coli, etc…
Documentaries you can find online or on Netflix that I have watched
- “Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough.”
“Forks Over Knives”
- “The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.”
- “Food Matter examines how the food we eat can help or hurt our health. Nutritionists, naturopaths, doctors, and journalists weigh in on topics organic food, food safety, raw foodism, and nutritional therapy.”
“Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”
- “100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well— with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health.”
- “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.”
So there you have it. 4 reasons why I feel that I need to make the change to a plant-based lifestyle and some documentaries that may motivate you to join me!
This change will benefit my family, myself, animals and the planet. (and YOU if you join me) It’s so much bigger than just me!
I hope that reading through this will motivate you to consider a change as well. For yourself and the bigger picture.
I will continue on with my plan of documenting my journey here for you to follow along and I appreciate any comments or questions you may have. As I am just starting out, and learning along the way – I may not have all the answers for you, but I will do my best to find them and offer support to anyone who wants it!
My next article will cover what challenges I expect to face and how I will try to proactively plan to overcome them. I also have a food journal started that I will share with you all.
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