A plant based diet, otherwise more commonly known as a vegan lifestyle is incredibly near and dear to my heart. If you’ve read my blog for any time you know that my recipes are only vegan and one of my missions and passions behind pouring so much time and effort into this blog is to encourage each and every one of you to adapt a plant based diet.
For years and years my mother-in-law encouraged all of her children to reduce their meat consumption and lead a more plant based diet-like lifestyle. Typical of children we all brushed her off and continued eating our steaks, seafood, and dairy products. It wasn’t until my father-in-law and cardiologist uncle-in-law decided to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle cold turkey did the rest of the family take notice.
Now that my husband, seven children, and I have been vegan for quite some time and have experienced the health benefits first hand there is no way we can in good conscience go back to our omnivorous lifestyle.
Unlike my other articles in this series, I am going to focus on our personal experiences rather than hard scientific facts.
Health Benefits of a Plant Based Diet (aka Vegan Lifestyle)
My husband was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes 8 years ago just before our oldest daughter was born. It was a shock and an enormous adjustment for our family to change our eating habits and lifestyle to help him lower his blood sugar. Being that he is insulin dependent, unless his body heals itself he will never be free of the daily need for insulin injections. Prior to adapting a vegan lifestyle my husband took approximately 25-30 insulin units every day. Some diabetic patients take 25-30 units of insulin at every meal because their health and food choices are so poor. Since changing our diet to a strictly plant based diet my husband has lowered his total insulin units per day by over half. On an average day my husband takes 6-15 units and more often than not is able to skip 1 meal per day because his sugar levels are incredibly consistent.
In reading T. Colin Campbell’s books The China Study and Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, he clearly warns diabetics to closely monitor their sugar levels after adapting a plant based diet because of the positive effects it has on their insulin levels. My husband undoubtedly experienced this positive effect and because of his increased health and decreased need for supplemented insulin we can not in good conscience ever go back to consuming animal products.
I am a notoriously horrible sleeper. Even as a child I can not remember waking up from a night of 8-10 hours of sleep feeling refreshed or rejuvenated. I was always tired in the mornings getting ready for school and took forever to get dressed because I’d fall asleep on the floor outside of my closet. Even as an adult and new parent I relied heavily on cream and sugar ladened coffee to wake up enough to get out the door for work or to wake up enough to care for my children. Needless too say sleep has never been my strong suit.
Until I became vegan that is. I can distinctly remember about 4 weeks after removing animal products from our diet I woke up one morning feeling awake, alert, and incredibly well rested. I had honestly never felt that before in my nearly 40 years. Nothing else had changed, only my diet. I knew I was now sleeping deeper and getting more rejuvenating and healing rest because my diet was clean and whole.
You will remember in my healthy living tip #2 that sleep is incredibly important for our overall health. I am so happy that I am finally getting the sleep that my body needs to heal and rejuvenate for optimal health.
Sleep and energy almost go hand in hand. You definitely need sleep to have more energy the following day. I definitely have more energy throughout my day and no longer experience the 3pm afternoon energy crash that sends you running for a sugar or caffeine pick-me-up. Those days are gone, my energy is consistent throughout the day because of my clean diet that is based on plants and the foods that fuel my body.
I know this is not a topic any of us want to talk about but it is incredibly important for our overall health and well being. If you are not digesting and evacuating your bowels multiple times everyday your body is storing toxins and food waste that is detrimental to your health.
Trust me I know, this topic is one we could all easily ignore. I used to use the bathroom 2-4 times per week to clear my bowels before being vegan. I thought this was my normal. I always shrugged off suggestions from others, including my husband, that it was not indeed a normal schedule. What else was I supposed to do? I didn’t need to go so I didn’t.
Then I began feeding my body what it was designed to digest, plants and plant products rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Then everything changed. 2-4 times per week turned into 2-4 times per day. I felt cleaner, leaner, and healthier. No longer was I bloated or constipated. Finally my digestive system was working properly and ridding my body of the energy draining toxins that were poisoning my body.
5. Weight Loss
Weight loss was not one of my goals or purposes when we removed animal products from our diet. We did it for health reasons not for vain weight reasons. After a few weeks however, I noticed that my love handles were gone and I could fit into jeans that I hadn’t even thought about trying on for years. These jeans by the way fit perfectly, no squishing or jumping around to get the button and zipper closed. I hadn’t started exercising, the only change I had made was the food and drink I put in my mouth. Nothing more nothing less.
I’ll take the weight loss, especially as I march closer and closer to the big 4-0. My metabolism is naturally starting to slow down as I age but eating a plant based diet is counter acting the slower metabolism and my weight is holding steady at where I was 15 years ago.
Honestly, I could go on an on about the health benefits of living a plant based diet lifestyle. The advantages are health reasons are nearly limitless. Please, if you have nay questions please do not hesitate to contact me regarding a plant based diet lifestyle.
Thank you for joining me for day 6 of my 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips.