Surveys show that health is the number one reason people switch to a plant-based diet. There are so many healthy benefits to a vegan diet that many books have been written on the subject. Studies have shown that a diet free of animal products can add as much as 15 years to a healthy person’s life. About 70% of all diseases are diet related. A vegan diet reduces the risk for many chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, digestive disorders, allergies and asthma. Vegans have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancers, such as colon, breast, stomach and esophageal, as well. Meat digestion puts extra stress on the digestive system and causes unnecessary strain on the liver and kidneys. Animal products clog arteries, slow down the immune system, decrease energy and can even cause sexual dysfunction.
Vegetables, grains and fruits contain no cholesterol, are low in fat, and contain large amounts of fiber, calcium, protein and vitamins. Animal foods on the other hand, are full of cholesterol, high in saturated fat, contain no fiber and are very high in calories. In addition, animal flesh is full of hormones, antibiotics, tranquilizers, preservatives and pesticides.
Many people believe that giving up meat means giving up protein, and therefore they won’t have any energy. This myth has been marketed by the beef industry and the public has heard it enough that most of them actually believe it. Proteins are the building blocks of life and are extremely important, but carbohydrates are actually the best source of energy. Vegans who eat a well-balanced, whole food diet, have absolutely no problem getting the proper amount of protein and have plenty of energy.
The truth is, most people get too much protein in their diet, which isn’t good for their bodies. On average, Americans get more than twice the protein they need daily. The average female should consume 44 grams of protein a day, while the average male needs about 56 grams. Since people should eat 2000-2700 calories a day, this means that between 8 and 9 percent of calories should come from protein. Animal flesh is very high in protein, but is extremely high in calories and contains very little of the other things human bodies need, such as vitamins and fiber. Animal protein is high in sulfur-containing amino acids, which deplete calcium from the body. Because humans lack the enzyme necessary to digest and process animal protein properly, it puts excess stress on the liver and kidneys, which can deplete energy from other areas of the body, leach calcium from bones and cause a weakened immune system, while fat and cholesterol can clog arteries and cause heart disease. Most grains, legumes and vegetables are full of protein, fiber and vitamins and have very little calories or fat. They don’t cause the extra strain on the body’s digestive system the way animal protein does, and even use less water to process.