Vegan diets are all the rage right now, but some people still don’t believe they’re the best option. Perhaps you’ve heard of the health benefits of a vegan diet, or know of the truth behind factory farming and even organic animal farms, and are ready to make a change for animals. Some people you know may present every bit of evidence they can find against a vegan diet, while others may just be downright terrified or threatened by it. And why wouldn’t they be? Change is scary, even if it’s for the better and for the better sake of other beings. Like all things, a vegan diet is nothing to take lightly or just do on a whim as a fad. For one, you should remember that a WHOLE FOODS vegan diet is what the benefits are tied to, not one filled with sugary, processed, chemical-laden “technically vegan” foods on the market. While those foods might be cruelty-free, they’re not necessarily the best option.

So for those of you that don’t have support, and from those of us who have been through the criticism ourselves, we’d like to share some reason to still go vegan, even if everyone you know disagrees with you. And while you have to make the decision for a personal reason, and be sure to do it without missing out on nutrients, we’d like to encourage you that a whole foods, vegan diet is a great way to go.

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Here’s why:

1. It’s Packed With Preventative and Curative Health Benefits

A whole foods vegan diet has repeatedly been linked to better heart health, prevention against diabetes and cancer, and more. It is also one of the best for maintaining a healthy weight for a long period of time (think no dieting or weight yo-yo spells). Leafy green vegetables, all vegetables, 100 percent whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and fruit all form to be one brilliant weapon against major disease. Here are seven specific foods that your body will love!

2. It’s Energy-Packed

You’ll also likely experience a rise in energy when you go vegan. If you’re an athlete, it will likely also improve your performance when you eat whole, plant-based meals. For one, animal products are hard on the body, especially the colon and the heart. When going vegan and choosing whole plant-based foods, your body has to do less work which frees up some energy. Plant-based foods are also packed with vitamins and minerals that act as immediate fuel for your cells and will also help keep your body regular for even better energy levels. Just remember, balance is key, so eat a wide variety and eat enough so you have enough fuel and eat foods that are simple to digest if you’re having trouble with the extra fiber at first.

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3. It’s Cruelty-Free

Even if you’re not eating vegan for animal rights, it’s reason enough alone to go vegan. Animal production is extremely cruel, even on organic farms where humane labels are used and organic stamps appear on the final package. Need more proof? Watch Paul McCartney’s Glass Walls to see the truth, or check out some hard-to-watch (but necessary) films on what goes on every second of the day just so we can have burgers, chicken, eggs, and dairy at our meals. Going vegan lessens the demand with every person that chooses to make a stand. Love your pet? Then why not treat other animals out there with the same kindness you’d give to your dog, cat, or other beloved friend? Aside from animals, food production also affects humans, and many that operate factory farms are ripped of rights that they deserve and are controlled by the companies that buy from their farms.

4. It’s More Affordable

People that tell you eating healthy is too expensive have never tried eating simple, whole food plant-based meals. Lentils, beans, greens, veggies, almond milk, fruit, nuts and seeds from the bulk section, grains, and even frozen fruits and vegetables are all some of the most affordable foods per serving. Compare that to a steak that costs $10 plus dollars for one meal, or a container of yogurt that ranges from $1-$2 for one serving depending on the brand. Animal products create more costs in production but they also cost more from your wallet too. Saving money is one of the best benefits of choosing vegan, and one that some people practice who still technically eat animal products when things get tight!

5. It’s Easy and it Tastes GREAT!

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s hard to eat a vegan diet. Really. What is hard about making options like: brown or wild rice, sweet potatoes, a smoothie, enjoying some oatmeal, switching out your milk, making tacos, soup, stews, wraps, and even quick, fast desserts? Not much! Much easier than dealing with raw meat that has to be cooked or eggs that naturally carry bacteria. If you need help with some recipes, we’ve got plenty! Plus, for quick meals, see How to Make a Real Food Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less and learn How to Streamline Your Meals with just one small kitchen session too. Plus, once you make a variety of foods, you’ll see that raw  meat, eggs, and milk from pregnant cows just doesn’t look the same as it used to- promise!

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Plus….It Just Makes Sense!

For no other reason, not eating another living being just makes sense. If you wouldn’t go through what it takes to put animals on your plate, then why pay money for someone else to? Animal production is killing the environment, causing climate change, toxic wastes, a rise in overall food production costs, droughtsdeforestation, and it leads to disease. Aside from that, once again, it’s cruel and unnecessary. Let’s just skip the animals and eat straight from the earth instead.

We realize that not eating chicken, steak, burgers, fish, and even vegetarian options like Greek yogurt or eggs might seem strange, but give it a try and try our transition tips, get a go-to shopping list, and find out how to save money to get yourself set and ready to go. Once again, eat a wide variety of foods and don’t focus on negative comments from others. You can’t control what other people eat, but you can choose to eat in alignment with what you believe.

Also see: Why Eating Vegan is Not About Being Perfect, But About Being Aware, 8 Practical Reasons It Isn’t Hard to Eat Vegan, and A Whole Foods Diet: The Ultimate Guide.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Luca Nebuloni/Flickr