"I could never go vegan, "... "Isn't it hard in college?"... "I don't know how you do it!"
The three phrases I hear most from my peers.
I just came across an article from Forks Over Knives titled "Why College Is The Best Time to Go Vegan" and couldn't resist the urge to elaborate in agreement with everything :)
1. ENERGY LEVEL - hmm... what's the word? THROUGH THE ROOF! I'm not talking like uncontrollable, but the perfect amount to wake me up early in the morning for a workout, survive at least six hours of class or work everyday, and fall asleep soundly every single night. But if I'm not convincing enough, ask Brendan Brazier about his studies with professional athletes who eat plant-based diets. Or read these "5 Reasons It Rocks to be a Vegan Athlete" on One Green Planet. Also, looking to build muscle? No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no problem.
2. IMMUNE STRENGTH - plants are bursting with phytonutrients, which are little powerhouses found only in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They strengthen the immune system to fight off harmful compounds called "free radicals". In fruit, they're known to protect cell damage, internally and externally, and support collagen to keep joints and bones pain-free. In vegetables and grains, they're best known for cancer-fighting properties. Click here for more information from The World's Healthiest Foods.
3. NO RESTRICTIONS - three cheers for this one! Seriously, "vegans tend to weigh about 18% less than the average American, even while eating as much as they need to", according to the article I'm referring to in this post. Don't believe me? Check out what Amanda from applesandamandas or Steph Yu from happyandhealthy96, or this girl from Cheap Lazy Vegan eats in a day! When we cut out meat, we also cut out tons of calories and fat and protein, so it's important to accept and embrace the idea of eating more! Calorie-deficiency can be common when transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, so here are some resources to be sure you're eating enough:
- Vegan Nutrition Information - Happy Cow
- Protein - VeganHealth.org
- RawTil4 - The Banana Girl
- I'm A Doctor Who Specializes in Diet + Nutrition. Here's Why I DON'T Have Concerns About Vegan Diets - MindBodyGreen
4. LESS EXPENSIVE - want to know how much I spend on groceries each week? About $35-$40. THAT'S IT! Here's what I buy:
- 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce
- 1 bag of spinach
- 2-3 heads of broccoli or cauliflower
- 1 bag of carrots
- 4-5 zucchini
- 4 apples
- 2 bags of grapes
- Cantaloupe or honeydew (sometimes)
- 1 avocado
- 1 bag of frozen fruit or veggies
- 6-7 potatoes (or a really big bag)
- 1 container of mushrooms
- 1 can of beans or lentils, or a block of tempeh
- 1 loaf of bread (sourdough or whole wheat)
Occasionally, I buy some dates, granola bars, vegan cookies, or appetizing frozen meals from Trader Joe's, but I still manage to keep my grocery trips under $45 dollars. Peanut butter, potatoes, rice, and beans are some of the least expensive foods available, and they're totally welcomed in the a vegan lifestyle. Here are 6 more tips from Care2 Healthy Living and more from This Rawsome Vegan Life. Basically, buy in bulk, shop farmers' markets, and cook at home as much as possible. College students, you can't deny this one!
5. CABRS ARE FRIENDS AND FOOD - yes, you heard me. Carbohydrates are our bodies' main fuel source, and those found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans will NOT turn into fat as easily as we've been fooled into thinking. The results of this study prove that de novo lipogenesis, the body's process of turning carbohydrates into fat, is very uncommon, as carbohydrates are the main source of fuel and are burned off easier than fats are. Focus on the complex carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
So, how do you feel now? Even you're out of college or not there yet, these same reasons to vegan are still beneficial. Who doesn't want to save money, not get sick as much, have more energy, eat as much (healthy) as desired, and enjoy carbs?
If you're still questioning veganism, that's okay! Keep researching and ask questions and, most importantly, discovering what works best for YOU. Whether you like Starch Solution, Rawtil4, Junk Food Vegan (not recommended), or Whole Foods, there's something out there that is meant for your body type and preferences - no animal products required :)