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To echo yesterday's post about my vegan diet, for this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I'm sharing my Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Eating a Plant-Based Diet.
I'm not embarrassed to admit that my initial reason for adopting a vegan diet was rooted in vanity: I wanted to be thin and have clear skin. Of course, I was also motivated by the plight of animals, and it was my health that primarily motivated my initial steps at a vegetarian diet the year before, but the leap from "vegetarian" to "vegan" was intimately tied with my own selfish desires.
However, once I was vegan, my world shifted into focus. I hadn't been a vegan for very long when I read Skinny Bitch, The China Study and Eat to Live--three books that solidified my veganism for life (and changed how I ate--without these books, Happy Herbivore would not exist!).
And yet, as the years have gone by, I still find more and more compelling reasons that make me glad I am a vegan. So, today, nearly four years later, I find that my reasons for why I continue to be a vegan are long and vast-- and although only a tiny fraction of those reasons are in my Top 10, know that I believe, that adopting this diet, is by far the best, and most profound, decision I will ever make.
(1) I am healthier than I previously thought possible. If you had told me five years ago that I would have ran a marathon, taken up snowboarding and otherwise lived an "athletic" life--I would have laughed you out of the room. Things that once seemed impossible, are not only possible--but a part of my life now.
(2) I have no temptation. In the years prior to my veganism, I struggled with saying "no." I was tempted by everything: that snickers in the checkout line, that cupcake in the bakery window, that bag of cookies in the snack machine--but not anymore. Those foods aren't vegan, and while I might be willing to compromise my nutrition goals, I'm not willing to compromise my veganism so if it's not vegan, I walk by without any problem-- something I was not able to do before.
(3) My weight is under control. I lost the weight I needed to, and as long as I continue to make good choices, I don't put the weight back on, even during periods of inactivity. I am no-longer tied to the stair master--I have found a way to be "naturally thin" despite my temperamental genetics.
(4) I find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that my choices extend beyond me. By eating a plant-based diet I know that I'm helping myself, helping the planet, helping animals--and helping humanity. Talk about giving yourself a warm fuzzy!
(5) I feel rested. Prior to being vegan I was always tired, fatigued--even after 10 cups of coffee! (No, really, I did drink that much at one point!) No matter how much sleep I got, how much Red Bull I pounded, I never felt like I was "caught up" or totally "alive" before... However, within days of being vegan--I slept more soundly, which allowed me to wake feeling rested--and as the weeks progressed, I noticed I had more energy during the day--even without the help of stimulants!
(6) Friends. So many of my closest friends are those I met through Happy Herbivore or the online vegan community. I have never known so much love, so much compassion, so much friendship for the sake of friendship.
(7) I am conscious. Right after I went vegan a friend observed, "so you really think about what you eat. Gosh! If I thought this hamburger used to be a cow I couldn't eat it!" That really stuck with me--I'm so thankful that I no-longer blindly shove food inside of me, without taking a moment to think about what it is, what I might do once it's in there, and what it went through to get there in the first place. Although some people might find scanning labels (checking to see if its vegan) to be annoying--I find this a great gift of consideration; I never eat something that I don't know precisely what it is.
(8) I like food! I was a horribly "picky eater" as an omnivore. I rarely enjoyed food. I would sit at a table in a restaurant, frustrated, because nothing appealed to me. I have such a voracious appetite now it's ridiculous, but most importantly I really enjoy food. I love cooking (obviously!) and I love eating. I have open myself up to and tried so many cuisines and foods I would have never tried as an omni. Even though people might thing a vegan diet is "limited" I actually enjoy a wider variety of foods now than I did as an omnivore or even a vegetarian.
(9) I am no-longer susceptible to mainstream noise. I used to buy into every magazine article, news feed, latest "fad" I was always stressed about my nutrition and confused by it. I finally see how simple it all really is: eat real food.
(10) I broke all my nasty addictions. No more 10 cups of coffee (per day!), no more severe cravings, sugar crashes and the like. This is due, in part, because I no-longer eat junk food--but I lost the desire to eat junk foods when I went vegan.