Most people probably know at least one vegetarian or vegan. They like to remind others about the animals that died for the burger being consumed, or they claim that they have not been sick in more than two years. As annoying as they are, they might be on to something. A plant-based diet can do more than help someone lose weight and cause minimal harm to animals. It can save one’s life. In the documentary Forks Over Knives, it suggests that the high cholesterol medication, Lipitor, is the most prescribed drug in the world. People in America are arguably sicker and more obese than any other country in the world while paying more for healthcare.
Even by going vegan, you can still eat junk. Oreos are vegan and have trans fats, which are animal fats and plant oils put into foods to give them a longer shelf-life. Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol and lower the good. Basically, if your food can spoil and go bad (e.g. fruits and veggies), that is actually a good thing. Food that can sit in your cupboard for years, such as chips, soups, and cookies, are not good for you.
First Lady Michelle Obama stated, “Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are all diet-related health issues.” By adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet, these health issues can be greatly diminished or even reversed.
How a Plant-Based Diet Can Save Your Life
Let food be thy medicine.
One of the biggest questions concerning going vegan or vegetarian is where will my protein come from? Suddenly, people have become worried about their protein intake. Although before going vegetarian, I never in my life had anyone ask about my protein. Most people actually get too much protein in their diets via unhealthy sources, such as red meat. Eating healthy foods such as legumes (beans), nuts, soy, peas, and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) will give you just the right amount of protein needed. One thing you can’t get from a plant-based diet is a proper amount of B12. This can be supplemented through B12 shots by your doctor, or by taking a supplement).
It is important to note that one thing you cannot get from a plant-based diet is the required amount of B12. However, this can be supplemented via B12 shots from your doctor or by taking a supplement.
According to Lori Robin Wilson, a certified Whole Food Plant-Based chef, “Going vegan has made me feel connected to all living things. This has made me more compassionate and empathetic, but also non-judgmental of how others are doing their own paths. It’s helped me see how what I put in my mouth impacts my entire state of wellness. And it’s given me enthusiasm for food! I’ve never been a good cook, but after six months in a plant-based course, I learned how to create magical meals using only whole food plant materials. I felt empowered. And I feel a part of the cycle of life in positive ways—I grow plants, I harvest and cook them, I put the scraps in my worm bin, I harvest the compost and feed my plants! The cycle is complete! And I am one with it all.”
To learn more about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet, check out the documentary Forks Over Knives, Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet, and Kris Carr’s website. Carr was diagnosed with terminal cancer over 13 years ago. By switching to a plant-based diet, her cancer has not spread or worsened. She also has a documentary on her journey called Crazy Sexy Cancer.
Blog and Opinion by Lisa Miles
Edited by Leigh Haugh