Vegan Side Effects: Healthy Brain & Healthy Heart

Vegans are typically health-conscious individuals who, after cutting meat and dairy products from their diet, also choose to eliminate highly processed foods from their diets, even if those food products are vegan (like Spicy Sweet Doritos, for example).  The benefits of following a healthy vegan diet (it’s okay to cheat on your diet with vegan guilty pleasures every now and then) are many, but the most impactful benefits are the benefits to your heart and your brain.

Heart Benefits

  • At least 25% reduced risk of mortality from ischemic heart disease (Source)
  • TMAO, which increases the risk of heart disease, is lower in vegans/vegetarians than in meat eaters (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction and Stage B Heart Failure Burden (Source)
  • Reversal of existing coronary artery disease (Source)

Brain Benefits

  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Multiple Sclerosis (Source)
  • Reduced risk of senile dementia (Source)
  • Reduced risk of having a stroke (Source)
  • Regression of diabetic neuropathy (Source)

Check out this fun article on brain superfoods (11/12 vegan options).

Some other benefits: reduced risk of cancer, obesity, hypertension, gallstones, cholesteroldiabetes, and more. Vegans also have lower mortality rates.

Please feel free to google around for more sources. It’s fun to do your research, challenge your beliefs (and challenge assumptions in others’ beliefs), and in the end learn something new! If you’ve ever tried the vegan/vegetarian diet, leave me a comment! How did you feel afterward? Did it help you? Did it not? I’d like to know! Thanks for reading 🙂

Why you should go Vegan

When I was 18 years old, my first year of college was drawing to a close and I had a part-time job as a server at the local Denny’s (which I quit after 5 months working below the minimum wage) where my lunch consisted of free pancakes and bottomless coffee. I was under-informed and mega broke, but after watching a few Netflix documentaries and soul-crushing animal cruelty videos on YouTube, I decided to become a vegetarian (which goes to show, you don’t need big money to make the change). In the months that followed I read books, news articles, watched more documentaries and more online videos and realized that my decision wasn’t only a moral obligation, but if I wanted to live a truly healthy lifestyle, being a vegetarian was a requirement. During my time being vegetarian I’d say things like “I could never be vegan” or “that’s too extreme” or “I can live without meat, but I’d go crazy without cheese/pizza.” Then, on a whim (literally), I decided to try being vegan for a month in October 2014. It’s been over two years since I made that decision and I have yet to go back to being a vegetarian (and now I’ve swapped regular pancakes for the vegan kind).

Since becoming vegan I’ve:

  • Lost almost 20 pounds
  • Had clear skin
  • Had more energy
  • Aged slower
  • Not felt bogged down by a big meal
  • Discovered there is an entirely different world of food when you focus on the vegan diet
  • Found the best vegan restaurants
  • Participated in an Animal Rights volunteer event

I became so much happier just by changing one thing in my life (you are what you eat!). I encourage you to try being vegan for 21 days and see how many of the bullet points above you can say you achieved after being vegan for that long. If you decide to give this a try, let me know! And message me if you have any questions, I’d love to help 🙂

P.S. Being a vegetarian was a great first step for me (I’ll make a separate post about that). If you’re hesitant to jump in (the way I was), cut back on eating animals first and then slowly cut back on animal products.

A Vegan, a Vegetarian, and a Pescatarian walk into a restaurant, What can they eat?

A pescatarian differs from the standard omnivorous diet in that they eat fish but do not eat meat, a vegetarian doesn’t eat meat but eats animal products, and a vegan neither eats animals nor animal products.

Vegan: no animals, no animal byproducts. This means meat, poultry, fish, dairy, broth, etc are off limits. A vegan cannot eat a cookie if it was made using eggs, they can’t eat a pizza if it has non-vegan cheese on it, no bread if it contains lard, and they can’t drink soup if it has chicken broth in it (to name a few examples).

Vegetarian: no animals, meaning they can’t eat steak but can consume cheese pizza, cake, cookies, quesadillas, and more. Some vegetarians won’t consume non-vegan broths, non-vegan breads, gelatin and the like because the making of these foods almost certainly involved the execution of the animal.

Pescatarian: vegetarian that eats fish (or an omnivore that doesn’t eat meat), meaning they don’t eat meat, chicken, etc. but enjoy fish, lobster, clam chowder, and they’ll eat foods made with animal products such a pizza.

To summarize, all three can eat:

But vegetarians can also eat:

And Pescatarians can add this onto their plates:

 

 

5 Tips for New Runners

Here are some basic tips for new runners from a non-professional, clumsy runner with 9 years of running experience. Enjoy!

Number 1. Your running shoes. 

You need to get yourself some light-weight running shoes that will support whatever type of arch your foot has or doesn’t have. I recommend New Balance running shoes. I’ve had the same pair of New Balance running shoes since the beginning of my running journey and every time I buy a different brand I always end up going back to my old shoes. I know they’re pricey, but divided by 9 years, they’re a steal.

New Balance 880v6, $119.99

Number 2. Shoe Insoles.

Okay, more foot stuff. But seriously, this is important if you have flat feet, bunions, or any other foot problem. Buy yourself some arch supporters and your run will go from foal to stallion. Don’t get the gel insoles; those burn the hell out of your foot during a run.

Number 3.  Self-Defense Ring.

This tip is for the solo runner. I like to run alone, in the mornings, in a very woodsy park (my park happens to have no visibility of the running trail from any main road). Every time I run, I’m constantly on the lookout for any strange man popping out of the bushes and attacking me. This ring grants me some peace of mind during my solitary runs and is lighter than pepper spray.

Fisher Defensive Go Guarded Self Defense Ring, $15.99

Number 4. Do Ab workouts.

You use your abdominal muscles a lot during a run. The lower your belly fat and the more muscular the belly, the faster the run!

Number 5. Throw your legs forward.

New runners can make the mistake of dragging their feet instead of propelling them forward. You can ensure you have the proper technique by thinking about how your legs can help your run be more effective. By throwing each leg high with each successive step to land your foot at a further distance on the ground, you guarantee the least amount of strain on your body by forcing your legs to sprint forward at a greater distance than if you were to simply drag your feet quickly (as many new runners do). Think of the ground as something your feet have to tap to push your body forward, or better yet, pretend the ground is burning underneath you and you want your feet to touch it as little as possible. Some people run as though the objective is to repeatedly stomp their feet on the ground, but rather the objective is to cover as much distance as fast as possible.

Have fun running! Don’t forget your sunscreen! Please let me know if any of these tips helped 🙂