September 13, 2009

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Veganism is a word that often scares people and why wouldn’t it? Most people think a vegan diet is bland, lacking flavor, variety and most importantly,PROTEIN!

But these thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being a vegetarian myself for many, many years, and a vegan off and on, my diet consists of a multitude of foods. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds & healthy fats. If you think about it, meat is one type of food, all the other food out there is vegetarian in a sense, as long as it’s in it’s whole state. So you ask, where do I get my protein from on a vegetarian/vegan diet?
And I answer, plenty of places. One, whole grains, especially quinoa, amaranth and millet are high in protein, perfect protein in fact, as well as loads of vitamins and minerals. They are a nutrient-dense food and easy to digest. Secondly, veggies are a great source of protein. Protein is made up of amino-acids and when you ingest amino acids, they turn to protein in the body and there are tons of aminos in veggies. Legumes, nuts and seeds are all sources of high levels of protein.
Numerous studies have shown that animal protein & products, in fact, are a large contributor to cancer, more specifically, liver cancer. T. Colin Campbell’s book,The China Study proves this enormous and sobering fact through 20 years of food and nutritional studies conducted using people and rats. Campbell also proved that active cancer cells can be made dormant by changing from a diet consisting of animal products to a plant-based diet.

Brendan Brazier, Professional Ironman Triathelete and author of Thrive, The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life, touts a vegan diet for highest & quickest recovery rate after long and grueling workouts. Brendan ate every kind of diet under the sun, but after 20 years of experimenting with food, he concluded that eating a diet free of animal products resulted in a phenomeonal boost in energy, reduction in stress, quickest recovery after workouts and unending vitality.
Yes it is true that we need protein to survive, but Americans especially, have taken protein to an unhealthy level. We are eating above and beyond what our bodies need to survive, grow and heal, which can lead to an acidic environment, arthritis, digestive problems and a whole slew of other ailments. Studies have proven that plant protein allows for the slow-yet-steady synthesis of new proteins in the body, which is the healthiest way to acquire protein. To read another article on the vegetarian diet and protein, check out Veg News.
This is not meant to make meat eaters feel badly. This is to an bring awareness that anyone can get sufficient amounts of protein by following a vegan/vegetarian diet. It does take some planning and level of commitment, but it’s worth it and I promise you will feel healthier, look better and maybe even live longer!! Remember your body is like a bank account, you are making an investment in your health! SO give it a try, give up meat maybe once or twice a week. How about on Mondays? Check out Meatless Monday’s for some amazing Veg recipes!

 

Melissa Costello

Author, Speaker, Culinary Plant-Based Nutrition & Health Empowerment Coach | Cleanse Expert

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