Being a vegetarian has often meant you can count on meat-eaters dismissing you as a granola-loving-tree-hugging-hippy. Crueler things have been said, certainly, but being criticized for wanting to eat healthy and spare unnecessary suffering is nothing short of confounding. And as America's waistline continues to expand, its heart rate goes up, and its cholesterol jumps through the roof, many folks who once found themselves critical of a plant-based diet are finding more vegetables on their plates and less meat. In fact, it's not just our own health that's changing our diets—concerns over pesticide exposure and environmental damage are two of the leading reasons many people are opting for organic food as well. Have you made the switch? Here are nine reasons the 'veganic' diet may soon be your diet of choice.
- Healthy Weight: It may be obvious, but there really are no shortcuts if you want to be at your ideal weight. Eating less of the bad stuff and more of the good (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) is a crucial change that must occur. And likewise, eating organic foods also spares you from exposure to pesticides that can disrupt your endocrine system and make it difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
- Longer Life: The healthier you are, generally speaking, the longer you'll live. And studies have shown that a plant-based diet can significantly impact your lifespan, even if you only adopt it in old age! Studies have found those who ate the least amount of meat have the lowest rates of cancer and other degenerative diseases. The healthier you are, the happier you are too and that can also impact your longevity.
- Younger Looking: It would make sense that if you're going to live longer, you're also going to look younger, right? Something like that anyway.…However, it's true that people who eat plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables benefit from the antioxidants that fight the signs of aging, boost skin collagen, and keep you looking younger.
- You Are Not An Experiment: If you live in the U.S., you're most likely regularly eating genetically modified foods without even knowing it. They make up 70 percent of the processed food in this country and are not labeled. Many studies have found human health risks connected to eating GMOs. Organic foods cannot contain genetically modified foods and that reduces your risk of illness and disease.
- Healthier Planet: Conventional agriculture and factory farming are degrading the environment. More and more people are becoming aware of this and it is one of the leading reasons for switching to a low-impact, organic, vegan diet.
- Fewer Sick Days: Animal products are far more prone to bacterial infections than other foods. In fact, the CDC estimates that nearly 50 million Americans get a food-related illness every year. You'll be less exposed to these illnesses on a plant-based and organic diet.
- Ocean Protection: It's not just the health of our air that's in jeopardy, but our oceans as well. Overfishing, shark-finning, and pollution have dramatically damaged the world's oceans. That makes it pretty hard to sit at the beach with a tuna sandwich and a clear conscience.
- Support Your Farmers: Organic farmers get paid a premium price for their crops versus conventional options. After the recession brought money consciousness back into focus, many individuals realized it's not just their own wallet that's affected, and that helped lead the way for more farmers’ markets and a focus on local economies. Not only that, but organic farming reduces the farmers' exposure to harmful pesticides as well!
- Better Meals: The vegan-organic diet is not limiting. In fact, it's just the opposite: a plethora of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, beans (see what I mean?), etc. Variety is the spice of life and diving into the plant-kingdom is one of the greatest ways to take advantage!