Why I Eat Plant-Based (and why I’ll never go back)
In January of 2015 I decided to experiment with eating a plant-based diet. I say “plant-based” and not vegan because I realize that veganism is more of a whole lifestyle and that I was just looking to try the whole thing out.
I also realized that going full vegan was a big move and I didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself. If I wanted to eat honey or cheese, which were not “allowed” in a vegan lifestyle I would.
In fact, I even decided that if I wanted to eat meat periodically, maybe once a week or so I’d do that too and for a while I did. Every Saturday when I had my Victory Meal I’d usually have a burger or pizza with pepperoni.
I decided to try out a plant-based diet for a few reasons. The first reason was that as a nutritionist I simply couldn’t deny the benefits. Those who were able to eat a plant-based diet properly would experience a tonne of health benefits including improved digestive health, decreased stress, longer life, less chance of disease or sickness and a lot more.
These benefits come for a few reasons, the main ones being how animal products are processed in the mainstream food industry. The chemicals and hormones that are used are unfathomable and the lack of hygiene in the processing plants is mind blowing.
With this in mind one could argue that the easy way to avoid the above is to eat local, free range meats and I completely agree. If your intention is to avoid all of the chemicals and bacteria that you’ll get from mainstream meats then this is definitely the best route.
However there are other reasons to not eat meat when it comes to a health perspective. The truth is, meat is really hard on our digestive system and takes a lot of energy to process. Anywhere from 30 to 70% of the calories from meat goes to actually digesting it once eaten. The high amounts of energy used to digest meat could be better used to enhance our immune system, recover from illness and injury or even lend to muscle growth. Extra energy also means more youth and vitality.
Besides the health reasons I’ve also been lead to eat plant-based because of the effect the food industry is having on the planet. A staggering amount of natural resources are used to grow, package and process meat which is having some detrimental effects on Earth. If humans keep growing at the rate we are and continue consuming animal products like we do then soon enough there won’t be any food left to eat. Not to mention the destruction of our forests and wildlife in an effort to keep up to the demand of natural resource consumption.
Finally, although my opinion of life and death is a bit more complex than most, I will say that the way animals are often treated before they become our food is really heart breaking. I believe that no living thing deserves to be treated with utter disrespect, particularly an animal that is being used to nourish our bodies. If a person does choose to eat animal protein I believe they should at least choose to eat animals that lived a happy life and were put to rest respectfully.
So now, seven months later I’ve continued eating plant-based and believe I’ll never turn back. Oh and to answer the obvious questions; my strength has actually increased, my athleticism has too and my muscle mass has stayed at a consistent level. My fat percentage has gone down however and my recovery time is off the charts.
If you’re considering a plant-based diet but aren’t sure it’s for you, I actually am happy to send anyone a free plant-based diet at anytime. I can’t promise you’ll have the same amazing experience I have or that you’ll stay fully plant-based forever but I believe that even one or two plant-based meals per day, per person could really do some great things for our planet.
By Ricky Goodall, Meditation Instructor & Certified Nutrition Coach