The Santa Clara
February 7, 2019
Going vegan sounds like a daunting undertaking. But it doesn’t need to be.
Using a flexible approach to a plant-based diet provides the same lifestyle and environmental benefits while still allowing for the occassional meat and dairy products every once in a while. Even just having one meal a day vegan can start making a difference.
Veganism is healthier because diets rich in meat, eggs, milk and cheese can be harmful to the health of people under 65 years old, according to the Guardian on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After age 65, when your bones are becoming more brittle, the food you need changes.
Meat and dairy products showed a strong correlation to cancer, diabetes and other diseases, causing those who regularly eat these foods to have four times the likelihood of contracting one of these health problems.
Valter Longo, director of The Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, said people should restrict themselves to no more than 0.8 g of protein a day for every kilogram of body weight. For someone weighing 150 lbs, that would be 55 grams of protein.
Other nutritionists were even willing to say that eating high amounts of protein, especially red meat, has comparable effects to smoking. This, however, was not widely accepted because outside factors hindered the scientist’s ability to properly interpret the data relating to red meat consumption.
This research conclusively showed that switching from animal-based proteins to plant-based ones decreased the likelihood of contracting health diseases.
In addition to the longterm impacts of veganism, there are also many shortterm benefits as well.
According to Medical News Today, the increased saturated fat and cholesterol from animal protein take your body longer to digest and leave you feeling less energetic. These foods cause “food comas.”
Although plants on their own lack the complete proteins we need, mixing different plant proteins together—like quinoa and buckwheat—provide your body with all the nutrients you need to keep your energy up.
Additionally, according to Health Line, vegan diets include more vitamins, help with weight loss, lower blood sugar and improve kidney functions.
The research shows there are health benefits to veganism that have scientific backing. Speaking as a partial vegan myself, you feel these benefits right away. With all of these benefits, it is peculiar more people do not incorporate veganism into their diets.
People are often scared off by the stigma that you must give up all meat forever to be a vegan. This is not true because any meal you can substitute plant protein for animal protein is an advantage, even if the next meal brings meat back into your diet.
Try it out for a week or one meal and see how you feel. Who knows, maybe after a while you’ll realize you feel much better after vegan meals than after meat centered meals. Or maybe not—and that’s totally okay.
Sahale Greenwood is a sophomore political science and communication major.