Eating a Plant-based Diet to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
Have you considered your resolutions for 2019? Perhaps you wish to bring more awareness and compassion into your daily life. Or maybe you want to improve your health. Perhaps you want to reduce your environmental footprint, world hunger or contribute to world peace. What if you could do them all without a significant investment of time or money?
In addition to your regular yoga practice, following a plant-based, vegan lifestyle can help align your ethics with Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a key virtue of yoga philosophy to do no harm in thought, words or actions. It is a precursor to Asanas, or the physical postures of yoga, implying success in our physical practice can only be achieved upon implementing compassion in our daily living.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, following a plant-based, vegan lifestyle has many health benefits and is suitable for all stages of life, including athletes, older adults, pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. Health benefits of vegetarian or vegan diets include achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, improving modifiable heart disease risk factors, decreasing inflammation markers, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes (and improving glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes), and reducing risk for cancer.
An incredible 18% of greenhouse gas emissions is estimated to come from the production of livestock (vs. 15% from all transportation). Livestock production is also the single largest driver of habitat loss. Producing animal protein requires 18 times the amount of land in comparison to plant-based protein (not to mention the health benefits of plant-based protein). Diets containing less animal products require less water, energy, fertilizer and pesticides. Want an easy way to nurture Mother Nature? Go (and stay) vegan.
Reducing world hunger is a complicated issue. While following a plant-based, vegan lifestyle may not affect it directly, we could theoretically feed another 350 million people if the U.S. population replaced animal products with plant-based alternatives (comparable in calories and protein content). With the world population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, it is imperative we develop ways to increase food production. Growing plant-based foods in place of producing livestock is an effective and inexpensive solution.
How, you ask, does following a vegan lifestyle contribute to world peace? According to Alex Hershaft, founder of Farm Animal Rights Movement and Holocaust survivor, “it’s not about the animals”. It’s about ‘the oppressors’ or the power humans have and what we are capable of doing with it. And it’s not just the perpetrators who are responsible. We take responsibility as bystanders as well. As Hershaft states, “It’s about us. It’s about who we are, how we treat the least defensible, the most oppressed, the weakest in our society. What does it say about us?” It is imperative we treat all living beings with compassion to lay the foundation for peace. Additionally, reducing meat processing plants may directly reduce violence.
So, if you want to have a significant impact this year, try a plant-based, vegan lifestyle. Sure, it takes a little courage, an open-mind and time to acquire a taste for new foods and cruelty-free products, but the rewards are magnificent. Plus, we’re here to help! Come join us at Rino Yoga Social on Tuesday @ Noon (including New Year’s Day!) for a creative, challenging, donation-based workout; friendly community and plant-based expertise to help you navigate a vegan lifestyle.
This post is sponsored by RiNo Yoga Social as a part of the 2018 Unlimited Yoga Studio Partner Program.
Author: Lorin Harik is the founder of VHEEP (Vegan for Health, Ethics, Environment & Peace). She has a M.S. in Health & Exercise Science with a specialization in Nutrition from CSU along with a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan. She has worked and consulted for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Lorin loves teaching yoga and fitness classes and has been doing it for over 15 years. She has been plant-based for 18 years, including her tenure as a professional dancer and through two pregnancies, and is currently raising two vegan children. She is dedicated to supporting others on their plant-based journeys.