Why You Should Go Vegan (Not Really)

 Kayle Becker- Guest Writer

Adopting a single healthy habit into your daily routine, or engaging in a complete overhaul, can profoundly impact countless aspects of your life. Oftentimes, skills learned while developing new habits can be used in unexpected ways; whether in school, work, or accomplishing personal goals. 

One habit which proves to be worthwhile, time and time again, is adopting a healthy eating and fitness plan. A daunting feat, for sure, and something most everyone, and their mom, committed to at one point or another; only to abandon it in short order, for a slurry of reasons/excuses. Sticking to an eating plan and/or following a workout schedule develops self discipline and creativity, however, in addition to the added health benefits! Further, these habits can be harvested and used in other areas of your life, propelling you towards achieving your long term goals.

Navigating an effective path towards self discipline is tough, for sure! A blanket statement of a goal (perhaps dreams, at the time) without any real measurement or path is daunting.  It’s confusing and overwhelming, and unclear where to begin.  Nevertheless, engaging in activities that require self discipline and following through produces unbelievable returns. Adopting a healthy eating or workout regimen is a great place to start developing your self discipline and follow-through muscles.

Start by developing attainable and reasonable guidelines and goals. There is no shortage of options when deciding which program to ultimately opt for, whether that be vegetarian, gluten free, refined sugar free, or many more. Review a number of them and go with a plan that resonates with you.  Then, use the plan to develop guidelines for yourself, outlining expectations and making future decisions easier. Your rulebook, if you will. This system clarifies what is allowable and what is not.  Either you can order the burger next time you go out to eat, or not; either you schedule a workout or risk faulting on your goal. 

Clear instructions help you overcome defeating thoughts when your gusto waivers, which inevitably happens. The choice is simple: enjoy the black bean burger and muster through that 30 minute HIIT session. While doing so may not always be easy and/or what you necessarily want to do, the sense of accomplishment that accompanies sticking to a new regimen is indescribable. Further, you genuinely start feeling great physically, which is priceless. And believe it or not, you might actually find that the black bean burger tastes better than the greasy burger you used to love.

Choosing to include a nutritious diet and physical activity into your daily life pays dividends when it comes to your overall health. Such habits result in improved strength, flexibility, weight loss, skin, as well as many other amazing benefits. You can easily track your  progress in these areas, literally seeing your hard work pay off.  It makes the whole experience more exciting and rewarding, and provides some relief to the never ending - long term feeling. This relief, coupled with the visible improvements, sustains your desire to continue while strengthening your disciplinary skills.

As if the development of killer disciplinary skills is not reason enough to adopt a healthier lifestyle, another added benefit is the creativity it develops. When changing up your eating plan you can no longer reach for familiar snacks and meals. Rather than viewing these changes as a restriction, view them as opportunities to slap on your apron and see how well you can make your famous chili, minus the meat. As the number of people interested in overall health/wellness grows there is no shortage of resources making your journey fun and delicious. Oodles of blogs and videos crowd the internet with hacks for making your favorite meals just as yummy - if not yummier!  By taking yourself out of your comfort zone you will be challenged to learn and grow -- and stretch your creative skills. 

In addition to all the benefits outlined above, your new healthy regimen will lead you on the hunt for specialty items, only to be found at smaller stores or markets. You will frequent locally owned shops selling products of their own, as well as other small businesses. Supporting your local economy and helping launch small businesses is more important than ever. Further, emerging businesses and locals often put more care into their products and minimize environmental waste. You may also find a brand you resonate with or be surprised by what you discover.  You have nothing to lose and oh so much to gain!

And, there’s more. Any article proclaiming the benefits of healthy eating and exercise would not be complete without mentioning the internal health benefits. There is a plethora of information available today exploring “gut health” and how a diet rich in nutrients and minerals literally nurtures the microbes living inside of us. Creating and maintaining a healthy gut environment translates into improved mental health and ability to fight off infections/sickness. Did you know 70% of our immune system is housed within our gut; and, 90% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter famously known for its “feel good” effects, is produced within the gut?! In a time when immune health is more vital than ever, and when antidepressant drugs are prescribed at higher rates than imaginable, prioritizing our gut health is well worth it. 

Did you notice going vegan was not mentioned a single time in the entirety of this article? The point is: health is a personal journey. With oodles of diets along with their respective die hard fans pushing ‘the right one’, it can feel reason enough to avoid becoming involved in such confusing business. At the end of the day, any effort you put towards your health will be well worth it. Whether you try vegan, paleo, keto, plant based, or even a new one each month, you will learn more about yourself, your body, and what works best for you.

In closing, adopting any healthy habit and adding it into your daily routine leads towards further development of self dedication and discipline, creativity, and health. Examples of such habits range anywhere from a daily morning meditation to immediately cleaning the dishes after eating to a complete overhaul of your diet and exercise regimen. Even small changes can be unexpectedly impactful.  So what are you waiting for? Give it a shot and report back to let me know how it goes.







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