There are very few things that nearly everyone on earth can agree upon. But, I would be willing to bet that; the desire for a long healthy life would be the one thing the vast majority would all agree they want.
Below we will discuss how becoming vegan can help you achieve the health of your wildest dreams, extend your lifespan and give you the quality of life you’ve always wanted.
But, before you decide to go vegan, we had best define healthy.
The reason is that most people have an interesting view of what it means to be healthy, as you’ll see below.
When I was lecturing to an auditorium of health enthusiasts, naturopaths, chiropractors and other clinically tenured persons, I asked a question.
I asked “with a show of hands how many of you here think you’re healthy?”.
Most of the room had their hands in the air.
I said “keep your hands in the air if you’re on one or more medications”.
The majority of the hands were still in the air!
A murmur of ‘whoa’ was heard throughout the auditorium.
Most people think that if they are overweight, on 1 to 5 medications and see their doctor so much they get volume discounts that they are healthy.
This is simply not the case.
People see it as being the new normal, but, it’s not normal, optimal or healthy.
What Does It Mean To Be Healthy?
Here is the dictionary.com definition: “possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mentality: a healthy body; a healthy mind.”
However, lets break it down so it’s really simple.
Being healthy means that you are;
- In your normal BMI range and or not overweight/over fat. There are athletes outside their BMI ranges that are quite lean, so, we won’t count them. What we are really looking at is being over fat.
If you’re over fat, it’s not healthy no matter what the anti-body shaming crowd hopes you’ll believe. This is about your health, not poorly placed political correctness.
- Do not have one or more diseases, chronic or otherwise.
- Are not under a doctor’s care for any malady whatsoever, which would include not being on any drug(s) to correct or remedy a health issue.
- Are able to exert yourself to at least the minimum level for your age group without problems or complications. Here is the motto to remember: You can be fit without being healthy, but, you can’t be healthy without being fit. This really is to say that; you could be very physically fit, have a great physic and be the envy of your friends but not be healthy and have cancer, high blood pressure or an imminent heart attack on the way soon. However, to be truly healthy you also have to be physically fit.
- We could throw mental health in here too. However, the problem I’ve always had with that is; who gets to define what crazy is, and what almighty authority proclaimed him or her to be sane so that they may judge you?
So, we’ll just stick to the physical aspects as they are much easier to quantify anyway.
You may think that the above definition(s) could be slightly altered. But, we are just using it as a basis for common ground.
Accepting this as a standard for this conversation, it’s quite clear that the vast majority of Americans and those in other prosperous, developed nations are not healthy and most aren’t even close.
So, What’s The Answer To Obtaining And Maintaining Health?
I would like to just say becoming vegan and get that part out there.
BUT! Is that really the truth?
If you go vegan will your life change? Will you become more healthy and fit? Will you lose body fat and look better in swimwear? Is the vegan diet really that powerful?
Let’s find out below and answer this question once and for all. Then, at the end of the reasons below it should be clear to everyone that either going vegan is the way to go, or it’s a fairy tale told by tree huggers left over from the 60’s that just won’t go away.
Let’s have a look for ourselves.
10 Reasons Becoming Vegan Is The Best Way To A Long And Healthy Life!
The leading cause of death in the United states for both men and women is Coronary heart disease with heart attack frequency being one about every 45 seconds.
The risk of a man dying from a heart attack is over 50%.
Coronary heart disease is the number one killer for women as well with 1 in every 4 women dying from it in the United states.
But get this, the risk of a person in the U.S. dying from a heart attack who eats no meats is only 15%.
Now for the big one; the risk for a U.S person dying from a heart attack that eats no meat, dairy or eggs is only 4%!!!
The reason women don’t have as high a level of Coronary heart disease to begin with is that women on average don’t eat as much meat as men.
To be as close to being heart attack proof as possible, your cholesterol level needs to be under 150, as those under this level very rarely have heart attacks.
The average American has a cholesterol of 210, the average vegetarian is 161 and the average vegan is 133.
So, as you can see, the ONLY dietary habit that is under the level of 150 is the vegan diet. Vegetarians who consume dairy, eggs or both are still well above the threshold.
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Let’s put this myth to rest right here and now.
If you polled vegans as to the number one question they get, you’d likely hear “where do you get your protein?” as the number one most asked question.
Just to show you how simple it is to get your daily protein in when you’re becoming vegan, I’m going give you the DRI’s and list several examples below that will completely put your mind at ease. I’ll give you great talking points should anyone ever ask you where you get your protein as a vegan (which will be almost daily).
Here Is The DRI (Daily Recommended Intake) For Protein
The DRI replaces the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) even though it’s essentially the same thing. It seems that someone in the government got bored and decided it needed a new name.
This was about as needed as your friends rearranging your furniture while you’re on vacation and removing all the light bulbs knowing you’re coming back home after midnight.
The DRI for men’s protein is 56 grams and the DRI for women’s protein needs is 46 grams per day. To figure it by your body weight you just times your weight in pounds by 0.36 grams or .08 grams per kilo and it gives you your needs.
So, how can you meet these requirements on a vegan diet?
Here Are Some Protein Meal Examples:
The garbanzo beans, black beans and kidney beans all have 7.5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup boiled.
Then in that salad you have 2 cups cooked chopped broccoli that contains 5.2 grams of protein. You have an array of other veggies that give you 3 more grams of protein which is easy to do.
Then, you top it off with a nice 2 ounce serving of Tahini dressing that has another 9.6 grams of protein.
This is a great dinner that most anyone would love to eat. Your total protein just for that one meal is 40.3 grams.
So, you just got over 40 grams in one meal.
Let’s take a look at one more meal just to make sure that’s not a fluke.
B). We’ll do breakfast in this meal. In this meal you are going to have scrambled tofu breakfast burritos that taste amazing.
Here are your ingredients and the protein they supply:
- 1.5 cups of firm tofu = 30 grams of protein.
- 2 whole wheat medium tortillas = 10 grams of protein.
- 100 grams of an average salsa = 1.5 grams of protein.
Total = 41.5 grams of protein for breakfast.
So, as a vegan you have no need to worry about where you’re going to get your protein from. There are plenty of fruitarians who eat NOTHING but fruit who exceed their DRI for protein.
In fact, it’s truly difficult miss getting your protein requirements on a plant based, wide variety vegan diet. Heck, even spinach has more protein than beef calorie for calorie.
Now, WHY is this a REASON to go vegan?
Very simple. When you eat animal products, you fill your body with artery clogging fats and cholesterol which causes the number one killer of both men and women in our country, coronary heart disease.
Of course there are hundreds of other reasons such as the environment, animal welfare etc… But, the focus of this article is becoming vegan for your health and answering the question; will going on a vegan diet really improve my health and help me live longer?.
There are 100’s of health benefits to a vegan diet as well. But, the one we have focused on here is that; when your cholesterol is below 150 you are essentially heart attach proof.
Since dietary cholesterol is only found in animal products, you can see the correlation as plain as day. If your diet is not full of fats and cholesterol you will have a very hard time dying from it.
You don’t need studies to tell you that, it’s just common sense.
The vegan diet has shown in study after study after study to dramatically reduce the instance of cancer in humans.
Just a few examples:
A). Colon Cancer: A Harvard study showed that meat eaters have more than a 3 times greater risk of developing colon cancer than those who ate meat rarely. That means if you eat meat you’re more than 300% more likely to get colon cancer than those who eat it rarely.
So, imagine the benefits of not eating it at all.
B). Breast Cancer: In Japan, women who ate meat on a daily basis had 8.5 times (that’s 850%) the instance of breast cancer than those who rarely ate it. Once again, just imaging the benefits of not doing it at all.
Because otherwise, it’s about like saying you only do cocaine once in a while and you think that’s ok.
A huge piece of news for you ladies
In the Harvard Nurse’s Health Study, they found that; eating the amount of cholesterol from just one egg every day shortens a women’s life as much as smoking 5 cigarettes every day for 15 years!!!
C). Prostate Cancer: A study conducted by Harvard found that men who are meat five or more times per week had 2.5 times the instance of prostate cancer than those who ate it less than once per week.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that; if you get all these benefits from only consuming meat from rarely to once per week, over those who consume it daily or often, then your benefits would really go up from not eating it at all.
It would be like saying, well, I only smash my forehead with a hammer once a week so it’s ok. I’m not using bandages very often any more like I used to.
So, the question is; how much better would you be if you didn’t smack yourself in the forehead with a hammer at all?
In a very large study by Harvard University which studied several hundred men for a period of several years (the reason for the vagueness is that, many men dropped out due to length and some men died of other causes such as accidents, old age or other reasons etc..), they found that; men who ate even 1/4 of an egg per day had more than twice the instance of their prostate cancer spreading to other areas of their bodies including their bones.
Researchers speculate the reason is due to a compound in the eggs called choline as increased levels of choline in the blood have been strongly associated with developing prostate cancer in the first place. So, this new evidence indicates that it also spreads it as well.
Here’s a bit of news you should know!
In another study by Harvard men who ate even less than 2.5 eggs per week had an 81% increase in death associated with prostate cancer. 81% is no small number.
If you only go vegetarian and continue with dairy and eggs you’re increasing your risk of death from many diseases in huge amounts. We’re not talking about 1/2 of a percent or something. Just this one disease is 81%!!!
The benefits to becoming vegan are of course that you don’t have to deal with any of that. You can live your life with greater health, knowing you’re not intentionally putting nails in your coffin.
- Pesticide Transfer:
This is one that most people have never heard of before, but, is a HUGE factor in all of our lives. Because, if they’re finding it in mothers breast milk, then it’s in all of us, male or female and it’s being fed to our babies.
Farmed animals are basically pesticide concentration machines. A cow eats around 24 pounds of food a day. That’s 8,760 pounds per year. They are storing all of those pesticides, fertilizers and other nastiness from all that food in their bodies, mostly in their fat.
The people that eat animals are getting concentrated doses of that junk in every bite.
Those toxic chemicals end up in us.
Here are a few of the tests that have been done.
A). 99% of mothers tested in the United states were found to have significant levels of DDT in their breast milk.
DDT as you may know is a pesticide KNOWN to cause birth defects and was banned on Dec 31st 1972. However, there is still enough in our soils that animals such as cows concentrate it and it ends up inside of you.
How do we know this? Because only 8% of vegetarian mothers had DDT in their breast milk. Vegan mothers were not tested and logically would have been less or even near zero.
B). Meat eating mothers had 35 TIMES more chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides in their breast milk that non meat eating mothers.
That’s huge. This is not one of those lame studies where they found .0012% difference or something like that. This was 3,500% more!!!
To put this into perspectives that we can all appreciate, let’s look at it like this:
You earn $100 per day and you get a raise of .0012% you now make 1.2 tenths of one cent more per day.
But, if you get a raise of 3,500% you now make $3,500 per day.
NOW you can see how huge that number really is.
- Antibiotic Resistant Diseases:
Did you know that we feed over 80% of all the antibiotics used in America to our food animals?
The proof in this is that; In 1960 the percentage of humans found to have staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin was 13%. In 1988 that number had jumped to 91% and today it’s thought to be getting close to 100%.
It’s all over the news, our antibiotics aren’t working anymore and one of the major fears is; when will the new super bug hit us. Not, if there will be a new super bug, but, when will it strike.
The antibiotics fed to farm animals are present in their meat, eggs and milk. This means that, those that consume animals products containing them are getting one or more antibiotics ingested with each serving they consume.
Antibiotics are meant for very short term usage. However, those consuming animal products are getting extraordinarily long term, constant doses of them.
When you go vegan you’re no longer subjugated to the constant bombardment of antibiotics in the animals products and this represents a massive benefit to your overall health.
It’s estimated that our ancestors ate as much as 100 grams a day of fiber. Yet, the average American on a Standard American Diet (SAD) only consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day.
Switching to a plant based whole foods vegan diet increases fiber content back up pretty close to that of our ancestors considering the vast majority of their foods were in fact plant based.
Why is this important?
B). 43% of Americans suffer from common GI (Gastrointestinal) disorders and 8 out of 10 with chronic symptoms remain undiagnosed even though they may well be treatable.
C). Over 70% of Americans have irregular constipation. That is; constipation that comes and goes with bouts ranging from infrequent to very frequent.
Elimination is a very big deal. Dr. Bernard Jensen is thought to have coined the phrase: “Death Begins In The Colon.”
If you’re not eliminating properly, then you’re a walking toxic soup with feces backed up rotting inside of you.
Becoming vegan, with all of its fiber and bulk that it adds to the diet will help to keep you regular and free from many diseases and ailments that are easily avoided when you go vegan.
Diabetes is the 6th leading health factor cause of death in the US at this time. It’s number 7 if you throw in accidents, but, we are only talking about preventable chronic diseases here, so, it’s #6.
There are many studies on diabetes reduction or elimination on a vegan diet. So, let’s just take it right from the horse’s mouth.
Published right on the American Diabetes Associations website is a study titled: ” A Low-Fat Vegan Diet Improves Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Randomized Clinical Trial in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes.26”
The study found that those on the low fat, plant based vegan diet had a 28% drop in fasting serum glucose concentration.
They also found that; 43% of the vegan group were able to reduce their type 2 diabetes medications. This is huge and represents far greater findings than the best lipid lowering drugs currently available.
The study also noted that; diabetes is relatively low in occurrence among those following plant based diets.
As stated above, there are many studies that show similar or even greater findings. But this one is right on the American Diabetes Association website.
- Weight Loss:
It’s only logical that a high carbohydrate, low fat, plant based vegan diet would have an effect on fat stores in your body. However, it’s actually incredibly surprising just how massive of a change this can really make.
A really well done study published in the American Journal Of Medicine by Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) tracked 59 post menopausal women.
Dr. Bernard along with colleagues from Georgetown University Hospital and George Washington University split the group into two sub groups. One following a high carb, low fat vegan diet and the other was on the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines diet as a control.
The vegan group ate a completely unrestricted diet of as many fruits, vegetables and whole grains as they wanted and noticed amazing weight loss transformations.
In The chart below you’ll see that vegans are the only group that are in the healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) range.
This is astounding when you think about it. Not even the vegetarians who ate milk or eggs were able to attain healthy BMI levels.
Many people that are considering becoming vegan have this as a concern. They want to know if it will help them with their weight loss. In nearly all cases, once you go “plant based whole food vegan”, you’ll never have weight issues again.
The reason for the distinction of a whole foods plant based vegan diet is that; there are plenty of junk or processed food vegan products out there. If you eat them, you can be just as fat being a vegan as a meat eater.
But, if you eat a real diet, that’s based on whole plant foods in their natural forms you should have no challenges at all.
As a matter of fact, many actually have to eat far more on a vegan diet to even meet their minimum caloric needs.
Losing weight on a plant based, low fat vegan diet is so easy, it’s nearly impossible to fail at it.
- Body Oder And Bad Breath:
This is why a fruit flush has become such a hot cleanse and stayed that way for the last 50 or so years.
The people who do this eat nothing but fruits for 3 to 7 days (most people doing 3 to 4 days) to clean their bodies out.
But, what if you never had to do that?
What if you were simply clean every day?
Well, when you eat a plant based vegan diet rich in fruits and vegetables every day you never have to do a fruit flush, because what they call a ‘cleanse’, is your every day diet.
It’s kind of like this; it’s easier to just keep your house clean every day than it is to never clean it for the first 20 years and now decide to do a flush.
Just think about it. For those 20 years they’ve been living in filth. Then they do a short cleanse in hopes of cleaning up a little.
You can’t clean 20+ years worth of junk out of your body in 3 days. You have years worth just stored in your fat cells alone.
This is why people who go vegan report getting cleaner and feeling better and better months and even years after becoming vegan.
However, the bad breath and body odor do typically go away pretty quickly, usually within the first month or two.
- Living The Longest:
However, the vast majority want to be physically active and posses their mental faculties well into old age.
To do this successfully there is no better culture to study than those living on the island of Okinawa in Japan.
There are a few lists that put them as the longest living people in the world. There are also a few lists that dispute that saying they are number 2 or number 3.
Either way, they live a long time. But, the reason they make our list in the number one spot is that they possess the greatest quality of life into their elder years that has ever been legitimately documented.
Not only do they have the highest percentage of PROVEN centurions living today with a grand total of 740 of them (at the time of writing). But, they have the most active seniors you’ve ever seen as well.
In the year 2,000 Seikichi Uehara, a 96 year old, defeated an ex boxing champion in his 30’s with thousands of people watching and cheering him on.
Or in the interesting case of Nabi Kinjo, the 105 year old that killed a poisonous snake with a fly swatter.
The peoples of Okinawa not only live long, but enjoy their old age as well.
Why is this so important for our discussion today?
The typical diet in Okinawa pre-western influence only contained about 1% to 2% of its total calories from animal products.
In other words, most all of their protein and of course calories came from plant based foods.
There Is No Better Lifestyle
If you’re not yet vegan then you may wish to consider investigating doing so. The more you look and the deeper you look, you’ll find that becoming vegan is the best way to stay healthy, age well and live a more productive and fulfilling life.
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- Diet For A New America by John Robbins