The three main motivators for going vegan are (in no particular order):
Of course, we all have a story around our journey to exploring and going vegan. Even though each story is unique, it fits in at least one of the 3 categories above.
Last week, I wrote a lot about how our actions, including what we eat and wear, have long-lasting impacts on the environment so in today's blog, I thought I would touch on the second reason listed here. Health.
Some people come to veganism for their health after a scare. Maybe a heart attack, less than stellar test results, and sometimes, it's a matter of life or death. Others see their family suffer from illness caused by lifestyle and decide to take back the power of their own health and embark on an animal-free journey.
I would like to point out that some people who turn to veganism for health reasons operate more in the plant-based space. This means they change only their diet to vegan foods but don't concern themselves with veganism in any other aspect of their lives. Someone like this would not call themselves vegan, they could call themselves a plant-based eater, some just say plant-based.
Someone may even move into plant-based eating with no thought about veganism but as the plant-based and vegan worlds do overlap very often, they may start to learn about the animal cruelty side of the food industry and they may move fully into being vegan.
If you have health concerns, I would encourage you to consider and research veganism and how it can positively impact your health. I am not a doctor, so I am encouraging you to seek the information that will help you make an informed choice, and of course, talk to a doctor. There are many doctors who are vegan or plant-based and can guide you on your journey. Below are some of my favorites.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn - Dr. Esselstyn's focus is on heart disease. You'll hear him say "heart disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never existed." This is a shorter Tedx version of his talk, you can find the full version YouTube as well.
Team Sherzai (Ayesha and Dean) - Are a husband and wife team of doctors who focus on brain health. Last year they released a cookbook The 30 days Alzheimers Solution. The recipes are delicious! One of my favorites is the chickpea salad and of course the pie on the cover!
Dr. Michael Greger - Dr. Greger's focus is on the research. He and his team produce "bite-sized" health info through incredibly informative and short videos, podcasts, and articles on the impact food has on our health. From how plants heal us to how consuming animals hurts us, Dr. Greger and team have the research to back up the claims. He is also author of How Not to Die, How Not to Die Cookbook, How to Survive a Pandemic, How Not to Diet. and the How Not to Diet Cookbook. Finally, he also has an app (Apple & Android), called the Daily Dozen, where you can track how many servings of all of the life giving foods our bodies want us to consume each day. You can follow the Daily Dozen (from How Not to Die) or the 21 Tweaks (from How Not to Diet) or both. To follow the Daily Dozen, it's not necessary to read the book but the with the 21 Tweaks it definitely helps.
Dr. Saray Stanic - Dr. Stanic's focus is chronic illness. Check out her documentary Code Blue!
Dr. Ron Weiss - Dr. Weiss' office is on his farm where the farmers work with nutrient rich soil to grow incredibly nutrient rich food. I have seen Dr. Weiss for a one-time appointment and he is every bit of the caring doctor you would hope for. He listened to me, made eye contact, I felt seen and heard. I am also lucky enough to live within a comfortable distance to visit his farm and buy the most delicious veggies I've ever tasted on a regular basis. He also offers Telehealth options for those in NJ and NY!
Looking for a doctor who can help you navigate your health challenges, improvements and everything in between while also working within a vegan lifestyle or plant-based diet? Check out Plant-based Telehealth.
If you've been considering/or are already changing your lifestyle to benefit your health, where are you struggling or what has been the easiest change for you so far? Tell me in the comments below!