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21 Reasons to Go Vegan for the New Year

Whether you’ve already kicked your New Years goals, or are still thinking through what your resolutions should be, chances are you’re considering some sort of diet swap. The New Year is a great time to refocus attention on the aspects in life that need rebalancing, and a switch in the way you’re treating your body is a good place to start.http://www.babble.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4451380&action=edit

With more and more focus on plant-based eating lately, you may have asked yourself whether or not you should give vegan eating a try. No longer considered an extreme way of eating, there is burgeoning scientific evidence that a plant-focused diet is good for the environment, and ideal for the body — far better than bulking up your eating regime with processed foods which are often full of sugar, chemicals, food colorings, and additives.

So, should you go vegan? Here are 21 reasons to consider the move in the New Year, even if only to incorporate Meatless Mondays in your weekly routine, and focus on foods which are good for body, earth, and soul a couple times a week. After enjoying vegan eating off and on over the years, these 21 things highlight a few of my personal favorite reasons for vegan noshing.

  • 21 Reasons to Go Vegan in 2014 1 of 22
    HEALTHY

    Do it for the earth! Do it for you! And 21 other reasons you should consider going vegan this year!

  • 1. Because the Food is Beautiful 2 of 22
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    Vegan food done right includes an array of brightly colored fresh veggies which aren't just good to eat, they're gorgeous to look at. Switching to a diet simply because it's beautiful may seem like an odd excuse, but the old adage "we eat with our eyes first" rings true. The bright colors feel like a feast long before you partake, so eating becomes enjoyable and multi-sensory. An event to be savored, rather than rushed through.

    Nab this recipe for Vegan Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers at Healthy, Happy Life

  • 2. Because It’s Easy on the Budget 3 of 22
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    Filling up on beans, rice, and vibrant greens is a great way to cut the amount of cash you're spending on food. Rather than purchasing expensive, pre-made meals, focusing on a few basic vegan staples isn't just good for your body, it's easy on your wallet.

  • 3. Because Being Vegan is Easier Than Ever 4 of 22
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    Vegan food items are popping up the fridge and freezer section of even the most mainstream grocery stores. It's never been easier to find meatless crumbles, vegan chik'n strips, and vegan baked goods that it is today!

    Grab a premade package of Vegan BBQ Beef Skewers and pop them on top of this easy Vegan Mac & Cheese recipe from CheekyKitchen

  • 4. Because You May Lose Weight 5 of 22
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    Vegan diets tend to be high in fiber and low in calories, so you'll feel fuller while eating foods that weigh in with less to burn. You can read more about losing weight with a vegan diet in this article via Vegetarian Resource Group.  

    When I made the switch to veganism, I was adamant about following a healthy, whole food diet, cutting sugar from my meals and avoiding processed foods. In the first month, I lost five pounds simply from making these switches. Careful attention to what you eat when you eat vegan may help you lose weight, too!

    Check out 20 of our favorite quick and easy vegan recipes here

     

  • 5. Because It’ll Make Your Body Feel Clean 6 of 22
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    There's a divine little Vegan Raw restuarant down the street from my home. I love eating there because there's an obvious difference to the experience. Typically, I'll eat out at a restaurant, slide myself away from the table, and feel overly full and guilty about indulging. But, when I fill my body with fruits, vegetables, and nothing more, there is a lightness and cleanness left in my gut. 

    Whether it's a brain thing or a real live body thing, I feel better when I fill up on plant-based foods. I experience less bloating and don't beat myself up after enjoying a meal. That's a pretty great feeling to have after eating. Because, after all, you eat everyday! Why not have it leave you feeling good instead of bad?!

    Grab our recipe for Vegan Detox Carrot Slaw and start your vegan eating off on a delicious note!

  • 6. Because It Connects You to the Earth 7 of 22
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    The vegan community is full of people who don't just eat vegan because it makes them fit into their skinny jeans. It's also full of conscious, caring humans who want to leave this world a better place. Cutting down on processed foods and focusing on plant-based foods supports local agriculture--a more natural, less pollutive way to produce food than many factories, which often churn out pollution to maintain their equipment.

    Vegan blogger, Kathy Patalsky pulled together 20 of her favorite vegan meals to kickstart an Earth Day switch to plant-based eating. Find them, and her musings on the benefits, in our article Go Vegan For Earth Day: Here Is Your Menu

  • 7. Because It’s Like Learning A New Language 8 of 22
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    Sure, it's not always easy or comfortable, but switching to a new way of eating can really expand your palate--and your vocabulary. As a new vegan, get curious! You'll be introduced to an incredible variety of beautiful foods you never knew existed. Visit a local health food shop and ask them about words you don't know--goji berries, chia, cacao nibs, maca--you'll be welcomed by a crowd of people generally knowledgeable, passionate, and excited to teach you about the benefits of foods you've never heard of.

    Another fun place to start learning the Vegan lingo, my favorite raw foodie, Jason Wrobel. Check out his recipes and videos and fall in love. This Chia Seed Porridge recipe is a good place to start!

  • 8. Because It’s Fun to Discover the Science of Vegan Cooking 9 of 22
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    There are tons of cook vegan tricks! Learning how to cook vegan means getting to experiment with foods in really remarkable ways that are as fascinating as they are delicious. For instance, did you know that Vegan Cheesecake can be made by soaking raw cashews overnight, then whipping them in a blender with a bit of maple syrup or agave? 

    Interested in more cool vegan tricks in the kitchen? Try making your own mochi waffles or learning how to make fluffy pancakes without eggs!

  • 9. Because The Vegan Community Is Incredible 10 of 22

    As part of my writing time here at Babble, I've been able to interview several authors and chefs, but none have touched me so entirely as Ruby Roth, author of Vegan is Love. Her passion for animals, people, and the earth at large led her to choose a vegan lifestyle. Throughout my own years of vegan eating, meeting kind, compassionate, passionate, open-hearted people is the norm. The vegan community is a group of activists, thinkers, question askers, boundary pushers. People who care. People who welcome you, even when you feel like a dork newbie. 

    You may not choose to be vegan just to be part of the community, but it's one reason to stay. 

  • 10. Because Having Rules Feels Right 11 of 22
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    Sure, you can eat whatever you want when you're not a vegan, but having simple, self-limiting rules helps you easily navigate the moments when you're most likely to cheat or eat naughty. When I went vegan, I was afraid of becoming "that girl at the restaurant who had to nitpick every dish, and put in special orders all over the place. 

    Rather than making me more picky, vegan eating made me less picky. I could open a menu, peek at it, and instantly narrow down my choices. Made with meat? I wasn't eating it. Made with veggies? I'm in. Knowing I had to cut the cream sauce, butter, and bacon made it easy to select the healthiest foods from menu's and grocery store shelves (like these 8 Storebought Cookies You Didn't Know Were Vegan!) in minutes.

  • 11. Because It’s Simple 12 of 22
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    Eating out with a vegan used to be a pain in the face. It took fifteen minutes at a restaurant once for my friend to find a single thing on the menu she could eat. With more and more easily accessible web lists from sites like Yelp and, it's so easy to navigate fast food eateries and find simple, healthy recipes and ingredients. With most major cities now housing health food stores like Whole Foods, and many major grocery stores now carrying vegan products, eating vegan is easy, easy, easy nowadays!

    Looking for a super quick guide to Vegan Swaps? Check out our interview with Skinny Bitch author, Kim Barnouin

  • 12. Because Cookies 13 of 22
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    Vegan eating used to seem so blah. Carrots and salad. Salad and carrot. But you don't have to eat like a rabbit to enjoy the benefits of vegan eating. Some of my favorite cookies to date are vegan cookies. Made without eggs  or butter, you get a rich, dense cookie that tastes just as good as any traditional cookie I've ever nibbled upon!

    Try this to-die delish recipe for Vegan Blondies or scroll through our Parade of 25 Vegan Cookies for more delicious recipes!

  • 13. Because Cupcakes 14 of 22
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    Yes. Vegan cupcakes are a thing. They're a good thing, too. To prove it, check out these 21 Vegan Cupcake recipes that may just have you believing you can go vegan after all!

  • 14. Because Change is Good 15 of 22
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    Tired of being stuck in the same-old food rut? Switching up your diet may be just what you need to bring the magic back to eating. When I first went vegan, I'd peruse the grocery store aisles for hours, hunting down foods I could eat, filling my cart with new things to taste. Switching to vegan eating made life fun again, because there was a freshness about it. New tastes, new flavors, new adventures waiting to be had.

    And, don't even get me started on all the fun, new ways I pimped out my brown bags with Vegan Lunchbox Ideas. It was such a relief to stop eating all those turkey sandwiches, and start focusing on foods that we bright, colorful, and delicious unconventional!

  • 15. Because It’s the Thing to Do 16 of 22
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    I'm not saying you should swap eating habits because of peer pressure. Over the years, there have been many popular opinions that we look back and scoff at later. However, with more and more people going vegan, there is an increased focus on uncovering the scientific benefits of plant-based eating. (Or maybe that words vice versa).  

    Regardless the specifics, by making the switch to vegan eating, you can immerse yourself into current research on what our bodies need, enjoying enlightening modern-day insights from some of today's best known books, documentaries, and studies on the topic. 

     

  • 16. Because It’s Kind 17 of 22
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    As I began researching veganism, one of the most influential books for me was Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. Her approach to vegan eating touched me deeply with these words, and ultimately influenced me to try vegan eating for myself.

    "This is about being really, really good to yourself. The Kind Diet will give you tons of energy, mental clarity, gorgeous skin, and a zest for life you won't want to miss. Plus, it's powerful; doctors like Dean Ornish and John MacDougall have discovered that plant-based diets have the power to reverse heart disease, diabetes, even cancer. So this is about treating yourself like a total goddess and putting yourself first... And it doesn't stop there. This kindness extends to the earth itself; because it requires less fuel, water, and other precious resources, a plant based diet is much lighter on the planet. And because it is clean, this diet helps our soil, water, and atmosphere get healthy as well. You will see that the Kind Diet reduces planetary suffering on all levels; following a plant-based diet is just about the greenest thing you can do."

  • 17. Because the Food Tastes Incredible 18 of 22
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    Don't even get me started on detailing all the delicious vegan food I've enjoyed over the years. Vegan food is at least simple and good for you, and at best inventive, clever, and vibrantly scrumptious. VeganYumYum is perhaps one of the best vegan bloggers on the planet to prove this point. Everyone of her gorgeous dishes (like the Avocado Wasabi Salad above!) has become a favorite in my kitchen.

  • 18. Because It’s Not Impossible 19 of 22
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    Time to kick all those myths that keep you from going vegan in the first place. You can afford it, you can do it, and you're going to like it. One of the biggest and best reasons to go vegan this year is to prove to yourself that you can! Stop making excuses, and start discovering just how powerful and capable you really are! After all, if you can change the food you eat, what's stopping you from making other changes that will make your life better?! 

     

  • 19. Because It Doesn’t Have to Last Forever 20 of 22

    When I decided to go vegan, I was afraid to stop. I thought it would make me a quitter. I thought it proved I wasn't perfect. I thought I'd lose a part of my identity that made me rare and unique. After two years as a vegan, I decided to stop eating exclusively vegan because my body told me it was time. 

    It didn't make me quitter. It didn't make me imperfect. And I didn't lose my identity.

    You don't have to be vegan forever to get the benefits of meatless eating. The Meatless Monday movement indicates your body can reap benefits from going meatless just one day per week. Don't let diving into veganism feel like a deep dive into the unknown. You can pick and choose your level of involvement. Listen to your body, do your research, and make changes as needed, when needed, for however long needed. That's a truly healthy way to live.

  • 20. Because Trial Teaches Us 21 of 22
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    This year, I've picked up cross country skiing, winter trail running, and am starting snowboarding lessons. I'm 37 years old, and always thought I wasn't a winter-sports kind of a girl. Thing is, you never know until you try.

    Will veganism work for you? Will you lose weight if you eat vegan? Will you get more energy? You never know until you try! Learn more about your body, your palate, your tastes, and what you as a person need to be healthy by giving veganism a go. It may just work wonders...but you never know until you try!

    (Photo from our Vegan Chinese Food Favorites article)

  • 21. Because It’s Worth It 22 of 22
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    Whether or not veganism works for you, it's worth it to try it on for size. A collection of six scientific studies were analyzed in this 2012 article published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, the conclusion being reported as "we found an 18% lower cancer incidence in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians). With that kind of resounding conclusion from several recent scientific tests, trying a vegan diet on for size is an experiment worth trying. 

    Perhaps Jason Wrobel of Cooking Channel's How to Live to 100 sums it up best when he writes, "There is one simple, universally shared desire that connects every human on the planet...We all want to be as healthy, vibrant, energized and joyful as possible. ...More than just a diet trend or passing celebrity fad, the organic raw, vegan and living foods lifestyle is rooted in personal empowerment, respect for the environment, as well as the entirety of the ecosystem, and the commitment to achieving and sustaining optimal well-being in body, mind, spirit and psyche."

    In other words, it's worth it. Every last bite.

    Nab the recipe above from CakeSpy

 

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