An exploration of the potential benefits of a vegan lifestyle: Although not always suitable for everyone, opting for a vegan lifestyle is a great way to make some healthy changes to your life, as well as positively affect the environment.
Put together by the team at The Goodness Project
Veganism really is only getting started, with more and more people switching for a healthier, vegan lifestyle.
A vegan lifestyle includes everything from a vegan diet to shopping sustainably and only using vegan products, so there’s many different routes to go down when looking at the benefits. For example, there are benefits of being vegan for the environment, and there are the well-established health benefits of the vegan diet.
Here are 5 of the main benefits of a Vegan lifestyle:
Lower Carbon Footprint
Because veganism is all about being kinder to the environment, one of the biggest benefits of a vegan lifestyle includes a lower carbon footprint. By only using plant based products, and not buying anything which has been tested on animals or has come from animal byproducts, you are doing your bit for keeping toxins out of the world.
Shopping and living sustainably also helps lower your carbon footprint. Examples include: growing your own fruit and veg instead of paying for pre-packaged and transported food, opting for recycled resources and only purchasing second-hand goods.
Taking meat out of one meal a week of every family in the United Kingdom would have the same environmental effect as eliminating 16 million cars from the road.
Saving The Animals
Of course, another one of the main benefits of a vegan lifestyle is saving the animals. By not eating meat or by-products of animal agriculture, you are sparing the lives of animals every single day.
- If the UK population was killed at the rate farmed animals are killed around the world, it would end in just 11 hours.
- Over a billion farmed animals in Britain are killed each year in slaughterhouses.
- Over 10 million pigs, 15 million sheep, 14 million turkeys, 15 million ducks and geese, 982 million broiler chickens, 50 million ‘spent hens’, 2.6 million cattle, 4.5 billion fish and 2.6 billion shellfish are killed in the UK each year – over 8 billion animals.
By choosing not to purchase animal products, the demand for animal products lowers, meaning that less animals need to be unnecessarily killed for food.
A vegan diet is known to help lower the risk of heart diseases and improve blood pressure, which is excellent news if you’re at a higher risk. There’s even more benefits to feeling your best: vegans tend to have lower cholesterol and body mass indexes (BMIs) than meat eaters, as well as less chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
A vegan diet is all about eating unprocessed foods, so it makes sense that it’ll be much healthier for you than other diets without the risk of heart disease and weight gain.
Those who ate mostly plant-based diets were 32% less likely to die from heart disease, according to 2019 research of over 12,000 people. As well as this, high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, is less common among vegans.
Healthier Weight Loss
Not only can a vegan lifestyle help your heart health, but also help with weight loss too. Because vegans eat a diet high in fibre and low in saturated fats, it’s much easier to shed any unwanted pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
Your vegan lifestyle will include lots of fruits and vegetables which are packed with vitamins and nutrients, as well as grains, beans and lentils which slow down digestion so you’ll feel fuller for longer. The end result is that you’re less likely to snack on things which will make you gain weight, and that you’ll feel more satisfied after meal times.
A vegan diet also often helps you reduce body fat without restricting calories.
The fact that a vegan diet is full of plant-based foods means it’s going to be packed with antioxidants and vitamins, as well as fibre and minerals, which will ensure your body is getting everything it needs.
Because a vegan diet focuses on whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, you’ll be able to get all the nutrients from protein plus other vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and Vitamin C.
The World Health Organisation actually states that the first step to healthy eating is to “Eat a nutritious diet based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals“.
You can eat lots of different foods when following a vegan lifestyle, giving you flexibility in your choice of recipes.
A vegan lifestyle also means avoiding processed foods, so you’ll be cutting out any unnecessary additives which are bad for your health.
These benefits might not sound that important (especially if you’re young and healthy!), but living a Vegan lifestyle has a massive effect on the environment and the world around you. There are several things that all new Vegans should know, and making sure that you’re aware of all the benefits of Veganism is essential when it comes to switching up your lifestyle.
The Benefits of Partial Veganism
Of course, not everyone can follow a Vegan lifestyle, due to many different factors. For example, some people may have specific dietary requirements which prevents them from switching to a Vegan diet. If this is you, there’s no need to feel bad or guilty for this. Remember that it’s always best to put yourself first, and check with a doctor if you have concerns about switching up anything you eat.
Even if you can’t stick to a fully vegan diet, living as sustainably as possible is vital for everyone in 2022.
Some things you can do if you can’t go fully vegan include:
- Limit the amount of air pollutants released by cars, by opting for public transport, cycling or walking.
- Shop at second-hand stores and limit the amount of fast-fashion products you buy
- Purchase shoes and jackets made with vegan leather instead of real leather
- Make sure that every cosmetic product you buy hasn’t been tested on animals. To do this, look for The Leaping Bunny logo on every product.
- Re-use and recycle! Purchasing refill packs instead of brand new bottles of cleaning products, shampoos and shower gels is a great way to cut down on how much plastic waste you create. As well as this, making sure you correctly recycle is essential.
With a little bit of forward planning, you can still take advantage of Vegan benefits and make sure that your lifestyle doesn’t have a negative impact.
Remember to always put your health before anything else, and most of all enjoy how you live!