Whatever initial motivation brought you here, you might still be wondering whether or not trying a plant-based diet for 21 days is really worth the effort. Here are a couple of reasons why you should give it a try. You don’t have to be motivated by all of these, but hopefully at least one is the inspiration and catalyst you need to take the plunge!
It’s good for your physical health
Most doctors, nutritionists and dietitians will agree: the healthiest diet is one that avoids processed foods, limits fats and oils, and is primarily plant-based. In the Harvard Health Policy Review, David Katz, MD and director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center reiterated that a primarily plant-based diet (including for protein consumption) is a critical tool in combating the obesity epidemic. Additionally heart disease continues to outpace all other diseases as the leading cause of death in the US and while the American Heart Association highlights the link between cholesterol and heart disease and provides information on managing cholesterol intake, cholesterol is only found in animal products so avoiding and reducing the consumption of animal products goes a long way towards preventing cholesterol-related heart conditions.
Even if you are a completely healthy and active individual, animal products in large quantities may be affecting your health in subtle ways. The Physician’s Committee quotes primary research that suggests that up to 75% of adults globally have some form of lactose intolerance which affects their ability to break down dairy products, causing anything from mild digestive irritation to regular stress on digestive organs. High sodium usage in both fresh and preserved meats can cause high blood pressure and additional strain on your body. A recent TIME cover store highlighted how chronic inflammation (caused by diet) is the secret killer linked to heart attacks, alzheimers and some forms of cancer.
The medical and scientific community has broad consensus that a primarily plant-based diet is healthier, leads to weight loss in obese and overweight individuals and helps maintain a health weight in everyone else, and can help prevent some of the most common causes death including heart disease. Try 21 days of a plant-based diet as a first step to reducing the consumption of animal products in your house, and towards a healthier, longer life.
It’s good for your mental health
Setting and achieving personal goals can have a big impact on your mental health. Research has shown that being able to break out of your comfort zone and try (and achieve) difficult goals can make you more productive at work, better able to deal with conflict or crisis in the future, and more creative.
But beyond the simple act of setting and achieving a goal, trying a plant-based diet for 21 days can help you break bad habits. Consumption of fats, salt and sugar have been linked to the human body producing opioids – the same chemicals found in drugs like morphine or heroin. Effectively your brain produces drugs that make you feel happy when you eat these foods, leading to literal food addition and cravings for more fatty, sugary products. Eating a strict plant-based diet while avoiding processed foods can cut out the vast majority of these triggers, helping you break an addition to food. Besides, if you can’t stick with a plant-based diet, and cut out those animal products and processed foods for 21 days… maybe it’s worth considering if you’re already facing some level of food addiction. What better way to check yourself than with a 21 day vegan diet?
It’s good for the environment
Did you know that livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, and this output is expected to increase by 80% by 2050? And that eating vegan for 21 days, you would personally save 24,200 gallons of water, 990 pounds of grain, 660 sq. ft. of forested land and 440 lbs. CO2 equivalent?
As we face unprecedented climate change and destruction of our environment, individual efforts to reduce water and electricity usage continue to be important for our world. However environmentally-conscious global citizens can make a much bigger impact by reducing their consumption of products produced by some of the worst culprits in deforestation, methane gas production and water usage – the agriculture and livestock industries. A small effort from you can make a big difference for the planet so try 21 days of vegan eating to see how easy it is to go green.
It’s good for animals
Empathy for all living creatures on earth has been a powerful motivator and talking point for vegans for years. While everyone is motivated to switch to a plant based diet for different reasons, avoiding taking animal lives unnecessarily is very inspiring for many people.
Beyond simply considering the fact that you are taking the life of a living thing for your personal enjoyment, research continues to uncover amazing facts about animals that make it harder to treat them as dumb service creatures. From sheep’s excellent memories to chicken’s maternal bonds with their eggs, animals lead complex emotional lives (as any dog or cat owner could tell you) and if you are motivated by reducing the amount of animal products you consume and reducing the suffering of at least a few animals that would have otherwise ended up on your plate, then you should try a 21 day vegan diet.
You don’t have to do it forever
Finally, if the thing that’s holding you back is how daunting it seems to go cold turkey (so to speak) on animal products, remember that you don’t have to go vegan for life to reap a large helping of the environmental or health benefits. After 21 days, if you want to reintroduce animal products to your diet and use the experience to help reduce your consumption of processed and animal foods, that’s great! Whatever reasons brought you here, this is about giving a plant-based diet a good old college try with the help of some awesome recipes. To get started, sign up for the free 21 day email course and start eating a plant-based diet today!