The discussion of a plant-based lifestyle and how it can help your health has been a hot topic for a few years now. With movies like Forks Over Knives and What The Health being known to challenge omnivores into a different way of thinking, there are so many reasons to switch over today.
As heart disease has been the number one cause of death in the US for the past 80 year, we need to start thinking about why nothing has changed and why millions of people die from the disease every year.
We beg to ask the question. How can something that is harming the planet, ultimately do your body any good? We hear the rumble of protests from muscle building fanatics and protein addicts. Sorry but no matter how you look at it, too much meat is simply not good for the human body. When digestive bacteria break down protein, ammonia is formed. The liver then converts that to urea which the kidneys excrete through urine. But too much protein creates a build-up of ammonia in the blood, which puts a heavy burden on the liver and kidneys. Why is this relevant? Because the liver plays a massively important role in your health. It’s responsible for breaking down and eliminating toxins. It filters half a gallon of blood every single minute! The liver also makes vitamins A, E, K and B12, all of which are vital for good physical and mental health. It even produces one of the body’s very own antioxidants: glutathione, a powerful free-radical scavenging enzyme.
Because of the toxicity of our modern lifestyles, we need to keep our livers as healthy as possible. If the liver is overloaded, for example if it has too many toxins to deal with from food (too much protein or too much junk), our environment, medication, periods of excess, etc., it can no longer work properly. This decreases your natural detoxification capacity, leading to toxin build-up. An over-taxed liver affects the immune system’s ability to fight infections, and can lead to jaundice and even cancer.
Where’s the link between meat and cancer?
A couple of years ago, a World Health Organization report created quite a splash when it linked meat consumption and cancer. The review of over 800 studies confirmed that an excessive intake of processed meat increases the risk of certain cancers, particularly stomach and colon. This is because processed meat contains artificial preservatives and colourants, for instance, the commonly used sodium nitrite. This is added to meat to keep it looking pink and fresh for longer, when meat naturally goes a silver/grey colour shortly after being exposed to the air. But then, supermarket aisles wouldn’t look as appealing lined with packets of grey meat. Sodium nitrite reacts to the meat protein during cooking, creating carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines.
Chemicals In Your Meat
Let’s go deeper still. Even before the meat is processed, animals are artificially grown. Artificially, because they are given unnatural feed, usually made with a combination of genetically modified grains specifically designed to fatten the animal quickly. Because the conditions the animals are kept in are so appalling, they get sick and have to be given antibiotics and other medications. Unsurprisingly, traces of these pharmaceuticals and GMO’s end up in the meat, on our plates, in our waterways and in our bodies.
Individually, these chemicals are worrying enough, but no one has studied their synergistic effect on human health. Through our food, water, environment, toiletries, air, we come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands of man-made chemicals every day. We might not be able to control everything, but we can remove one source of toxicity from our lives by going meat-free.
You Can Easily Be a Junk Food Vegan
However, simply removing meat from your diet doesn’t necessarily improve health, especially if you switch to junk food veganism. Mock meats and processed vegan foods can make the transition easier, but these products are usually full of undesirable ingredients like refined sugar, artificial flavours, preservatives, fillers, e-numbers and trans-fats.
The fact is, whether you are ready to go completely vegan, or want to begin reducing your meat consumption, if you’re going to protect your health, there’s a simple formulation the majority of scientists agree on plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, lots of legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats—as unprocessed and natural a diet as possible. This happens to be the best diet for the planet too.
Switching to a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet is Key
We’ve talked about healthy plant-based eating before in how to shop like a pro and easy swaps in the kitchen to help you get started. It doesn’t have to be this time consuming, complicated affair. Switching to a whole foods plant-based diet is the healthiest for you, the animals and the planet. Crowding out the wrong foods by including more of the right foods is key. So less sugar, processed fats, packaged foods that are typically filled with a range of ingredients that our body does not recognise, and even simply include more greens to start with.
You will notice a change in how you feel with your energy, bowel movements, mood and even help you lose some weight.
Not only will you notice a change in yourself, but you will also contribute to a whole ripple effect of wonderful things. So what’s holding you back from getting started?