Why I Went Plant Based (And You Should Too) — A Case For Plant Based
One of the first questions I get asked when people find out I’m vegan is “what made you decide to?” There are multiple parts to my answer as to why I adapted a plant based diet.
I’ve struggled with weight all my life. I love food and I just plain love to eat! It wasn’t necessarily that the food I was eating was always unhealthy, I mainly had issues with self control when it came to portions. And I’m a stress-eater. I was an active athlete from a young age, in extremely good shape, and weight was never an issue until I went to college. The freshman fifteen found me and my weight continued to fluctuate into adulthood. About a year ago, I decided to take back control of my healthy lifestyle.
I was exercising regularly, eating better, monitoring my portions, and I began to get back into shape and to a healthy weight. At that time, I also began cooking vegetarian meals several times per week.
Side note: I HATE the word diet! Like hate, hate, hate it. For me, it’s a way of life, not a diet. In my opinion, diet also implies you’re always hungry. However, in this blog, I will be referring to it as a plant based “diet” because it IS a way of life.
One Friday night this past October, my husband and I decided to watch a documentary. (I guess that’s as wild as Friday nights get after you turn 30 🤷♀️). We decided to watch “The Game Changers” and change it did! We converted to a full plant based diet two days later.
What is the difference between a vegan and plant based diet?
First of all, let’s define the difference between the two.
The confusing part is this: there is no official definition of a plant based diet; it is defined differently by different people. You can ask 10 people what they consider a plant based diet, and chances are, you will get several different answers.
Some view it as a loose interpretation between vegan and vegetarian. In this blog (as defined below), a plant based diet is considered to be no consumption whatsoever of animal products, animal by-products, and ingredients derived from animals. (Also called a vegan diet.)
A plant based diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. No animal products or by-products are consumed. This includes, but is not limited to: meat, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and for some, honey. This also includes ingredients derived from animal parts. For example: gelatin, casein, whey, and foods fortified with vitamin D.
Veganism is a way of life. Vegans do not eat anything from animal sources or anything containing animal products (as defined above). In addition, vegans do not use products derived from animals or that are tested on animals. This includes not wearing leather, fur, silk, or wool; not using any products tested on animals (cosmetics, cleaning solutions, etc.); and staying away from products that are filtered using animal parts, including some wines, beers, and sugars. (Shocking, I know! We will dive into this in a later post.)
For the purposes of this blog, I will use the terms “vegan diet” and “plant based diet” interchangeably since this definition of plant-based does not include consumption of any meat products.
For me personally, I eat a full plant-based diet and follow a vegan lifestyle (to the best of my ability.) There is not one perfect vegan, me included!
So why did I become a vegan?
I will go into greater detail about each of these subjects in later blog posts because there is a lot of content to cover in each. But here is a general overview of why I went vegan.
Health reasons for converting to a plant based diet
My grandfather passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 52 when I was 4 years old. I also have a family history of other cardiac conditions. I’ve always been conscious of the fact that developing some sort of heart condition could potentially become a reality for me one day, and it’s terrifying!
When I started researching a plant based diet, the first thing that resonated with me is that it’s good for your heart. A plant based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and decrease high blood pressure and cholesterol.
For someone with a family history of cardiac complications, this hit me hard. By eating a healthy plant based diet, I now have better control over my health and can lower my risk of developing cardiac-related illnesses.
There are tons of other health benefits of eating a plant based diet which you can read about here, but all of the benefits to my heart was the number one reason I chose to start eating a plant based diet.
Environmental reasons for converting to a vegan lifestyle
I’m going to list a few statistics and allow them to speak for themselves.
- It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk
- 1,850 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef
- 667 gallons of water to produce one pound of butter
- 2,052 gallons of water to produce one pound of leather from cows
- It takes 300 gallons of water to produce one pound of rice
- 34 gallons to produce one pound of potatoes
- 99 gallons to produce one pound of apples
- 26 gallons to produce one pound of tomatoes
Ethical reasons for converting to a vegan lifestyle
I will be tackling this poignant subject in much greater detail in a later post. For the time being, here are just a few statistics for you to think about:
I realize that my convictions are different from other people, and I respect that. I ask the same in return.
Since the end of this post got a little somber, to lighten the mood, let’s end it with the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin:
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me”
And now that song is going to be stuck in your head the rest of the day. You’re welcome 💃
Originally published at https://acaseforplantbased.com on March 2, 2020.