Word Count: 1622
Time to Read: 9 minutes
It’s been called a cure for Cardiovascular disease or a quick way to drop 20 pounds fast.
It’s true that the health benefits are endless. Animal-free. Cruelty-free. Plant-based. Whatever you call it, veganism is perhaps one of the stricter diets on the menu.
It takes some self-control, but the advantages are well worth it. Which is why more people are considering converting to a vegan meal plan, and for good reason.
The National Center for Health Statistics classifies an alarming 70.7% of adults as overweight, and 37.9% as being obese. The main reasons behind this are diets high in saturated fats and little to no exercise.
Making the change to veganism swaps out unhealthy fats and processed foods for nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. This can be life-changing for your mind, body and overall wellbeing.
So, get the skinny on what happens to your lifestyle when you go vegan.
Healthy Body, Happy Mind
Mindful eating is not rocket science, it’s listening to your body’s signals. Just like your body tells you when it’s full, it speaks up about foods that make it feel good or bad.
Too much sugar can lead to diabetes and too many saturated fats can cause heart disease, so the list goes on. On the other hand, eating too many plants can lead to a healthy heart and mind.
Vegan diets are packed with nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to function. The ingredients found in vegan meal plans have been proven to:
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Lower blood sugar
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve kidney function
- Improve Psoriasis
- Reduce migraines
- Reduce risk of Cataracts
- Improve mood and balance hormones
All of these benefits, and vegans are known for having a lower body mass index than the average American. A properly balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods and heart-healthy fats does lead to weight loss.
Now, on to the beauty benefits - when we feel good, we look good. Vegans have also reported clearer skin, healthier hair, and less offensive body odor. Chalk it up to increased collagen production, better functioning kidneys, and all those extra vitamins and minerals.
Feel Full Longer with Fiber
When hunger strikes, many Americans turn to animal products and processed foods. While this may satisfy an immediate craving, it does little in the long run. Who isn’t guilty of scarfing down a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips only to find themselves raiding the freezer for ice cream an hour later?
Fiber-fortified foods (berries, vegetables, and whole grains) keep your body fuller for longer periods of time. Full bellies mean more time (and energy) that can be spent on a morning yoga salutation or vigorous cycling session.
For those new to the vegan scene, flaxseed is your new best friend. Full of fiber, this superfood also boasts Omega-3’s and antioxidants. Ground it up for better absorption and blend into a smoothie with banana, almond butter, cocoa nibs, coconut milk, spinach, and avocado.
Insoluble fiber also does wonders for your bowel movements - keeping them regular, healthy and right on schedule.
What do cauliflower, carrots, and cashews have in common? When incorporated into a vegan meal plan, they can help your body fight cancer. Studies have shown that moderate exercise combined with a vegan diet can reverse cancer.
Highly processed foods are linked to causing cancer. Swapping them out for plant-based foods that are high in antioxidants helps combat free radical damage.
These vegan-friendly foods are packed with powerful cancer-fighting nutrients:
- Bean sprouts
Another thing vegans don’t have to worry about? Illness and disease that comes from contaminated animal products, or added growth hormones and antibiotics.
Plants Are a Protein Powerhouse
Newly vegan? Go nuts!
Vegan virgins often wonder where they will get their protein from now that animal products are off the table. Balanced your diet with nuts, seeds, and grains. They are easy to add to any meal and help stabilize energy levels from morning to night.
Ancient grains such as quinoa and farro are packed with protein and serve as a delicious base for those currently trending and “insta-worthy” Buddha bowls.
Hemp and chia take the seed lead, but other alternatives include pumpkin, pepita, or sunflower. In addition to Omega-3’s, hemp seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids.
Enhance salads, smoothies, pasta or vegan baked goods with seeds, nuts, and grains to meet your daily dose of protein. Homemade cashew cream is a delicious dairy-free alternative and can be used as a veggie dip, pasta sauce or dessert topping.
Colorful Plates and Creative Recipes
Taste the rainbow, literally.
Many people have the misconception that going vegan is all greens, all the time. Quite the opposite - the more color on your plate, the better. Vegans who load up on orange sweet potatoes, purple beets and red tomatoes reap the benefits of a variety of nutrients, from Vitamin A to folate.
Another falsehood is that vegan diets are just one tasteless salad after another (no cheese please!). For added nutrients and flavor, toss in:
Sunflower or pepita seeds Oven-roasted chickpeas Grilled corn Fried avocado Tahini Fresh herbs or spices Seasoned edamame
While many restaurants do offer vegan-friendly items on the menu, a vegan meal plan does require cooking more. But this is a good thing, allowing you greater control over ingredients and portion sizes. Busy moms don’t have to fret with these recipes for vegan meal planning.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner don’t have to be boring. All your favorite dishes come in tasty, animal-free alternatives. Tacos, burgers, pizza, cakes, macaroni and cheese - you name it.
McVegans Have More Options Than Ever
Even McDonald’s now offers a McVegan burger. Vegans have spoken, and the food industry is listening. Vegan fast food is a thing, and it’s popping up all over the country.
Many restaurants now offer meatless burger options, grilling up black bean patties or portabella mushrooms. In addition to a gluten-free crust, certain pizza places will top your pie with vegan cheese and endless veggies. Your favorite bagel shop spreads on hummus or a tofu schmear.
Here is a list of fast food chains favorited by vegans:
- Bareburger - a handful of vegan patty options on sprouted grain bread
- Plant Power Fast Food - it has a drive-thru window
- By Chloe - one of the fastest growing Vegan chains
- Chipotle - try the Sofritas, you won’t be sorry
- Kona Grill - has their own vegan menu
- O’Natural’s - offers flavorful vegan soup to go
- White Castle - actually offers a vegan slider
As more restaurants get in line behind McDonald’s and offer vegan menu items, we can expect to see more all-vegan chains pop up all over the globe. Trendy vegan chains such as By Chloe are taking cities by storm, even drawing in non-vegans with delicious homemade recipes and fun branding.
Good Gut Bacteria
Your digestive system is home to tons of gut bacteria or microbes. While this may seem like a giant ick-factor, know that not all gut bacteria is the same. Studies have shown that plant-based diets encourage the growth of good bacteria.
Prebiotics and probiotics help develop a healthier gut, and they don’t have to come from dairy. Here is a list of alternatives that do the trick:
- Green bananas
- Coconut yogurt
A vegan diet can lead to better digestive health, leaving less room for gas, bloating and indigestion.
Sustainability for the Future
Vegans are on the way to saving our planet one carbon footprint at a time.
Processed food corporations and big food farm conglomerates will tell you otherwise, but a vegan diet is a sustainable food source. Compared to animal farms, plants use less land, water, and energy to grow.
Feeding cattle and chickens deplete a greater amount of resources, which is alarming when one considers world hunger. A bulk of the grains needed to feed American livestock are purchased from countries in need, as their families go on hungry.
Our ecosystem has also begun to see the effects of deforestation and soil erosion. Farming livestock also produces dangerous greenhouse gas (more so than automobiles), further contributing to global warming.
You’ve heard about growing concerns over the methane emissions of flatulating cows? If not, it’s worth looking into.
Farmer’s Market Friendly
With a vegan meal plan, most of your grocery shopping can be done right at your local farmer’s market. Think fresh air, shorter lines, and friendly farmers.
In addition to those fabulously fresh fruits and veggies, markets often carry pure maple syrup, nut butter, coffee, and vegan baked goods.
Supporting local farmers is not only a positive influence in your community but it keeps massive food conglomerates in check. The U.S. is known for its unbalanced distribution of wealth, so it’s important to give back to small businesses at every opportunity.
Making the Switch to a Vegan Meal Plan
Whether you made the switch to veganism for better health, environmental factors or animal ethics, it’s a BIG lifestyle change.
Technically speaking, a vegan dinner can consist of a bag of Fritos, a sleeve of Oreos and a bottle of vegan-friendly craft beer. But that doesn’t mean it should.
To truly reap the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, one does need to become a plant eater. Your vegan meal plan should be about balance, portion control, and mindful eating.
Are you ready to make the change? If so, check out our vegan meal planning service. It’s the easiest way to follow a vegan diet.