Going plant-based seems easier than ever these days and if giving it a go was one of your 2022 New Year's resolutions, then the month of January (or Veganuary) might be the perfect time for it.
There are already 2% of Aussies eating a completely plant-based (vegan) diet for various reason. But we know a balanced diet is crucial for our physical and mental health - so can going plant-based actually make a difference to your health, and the health of the planet?
Yahoo Lifestyle asked Plant-Based Recipe Expert and Soulara Nutritionist Kylie Alla about why she recommends giving it a shot. And her answers might surprise you.
5 key benefits of going plant-based for just one month
"An Oxford University study recently showed that eating a vegan diet is the single most impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Switching to a plant-based diet for just one month can save 620 pounds of carbon emissions, 33,481 gallons of water and prevent 913 square feet of rainforest from being cleared to raise beef cattle.
2. Better gut health
"Studies have shown that eating vegan can transform your gut health for the better in just 24hrs.
A whole foods plant-based diet is rich in fibre which is excellent fuel for good bacteria living in your gut and significantly increases their populations.
In contrast, animal-derived protein and fats can reduce the number of good bacteria and promote the growth of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria.
3. Stable blood sugar levels
"The fibre in a plant-based diet isn’t just good for your gut, it also helps regulate insulin production and blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that switching to a high fibre vegan diet can help some people suffering from type 2 diabetes reduce their medication within just a few days.
4. Lower cholesterol
"A plant-based diet contains zero cholesterol and significantly lower amounts of saturated fats (with the exception of coconut and palm oils).
If you’re suffering from high cholesterol, you should notice a rapid drop in your cholesterol levels after being on a whole foods plant-based diet for just one week.
5. Weight loss
"Recent studies have shown that on average people lose half a kilogram a week when they make the switch to a whole foods plant-based diet, and those that avoid simple carbs and sweets can lose up to three times that.
How to make the switch to a plant-based diet
Kylie says that whilst any change of lifestyle requires a little extra planning and preparation, it is now “easier than ever before to go vegan”.
“From recipes to nutrition advice, there are countless resources now available online for those looking to make the switch. Plus there’s plenty of variety in supermarkets with a vegan alternative to pretty much all your usual purchases," she adds.
Kylie also adds that throughout January, the Veganuary campaign provides additional resources to support people to go vegan for the month of January.
“Veganuary is a not-for-profit organisation that started in the UK. They encourage people to go vegan for the month of January to help protect the environment, prevent animal suffering and improve people’s health. Last year, they had half a million participants worldwide.”
Tips for those worried about going meat-free
“If your diet relies heavily on meat, look for vegan meat alternatives in your local supermarket," says Kylie.
“You should be able to find plant-based sausages, burgers, mince and chicken and use these to replace the meat in your favourite recipes.”
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