High protein diets have been a craze for years on end, and in the process, people abiding by these diets (or who are just in fear of going without protein), take in more than a few animal products a day. Or, young children and teenagers learn that the idea of a healthy protein is a skinless chicken breast or an egg white omelet. And perhaps fish is often thought of as a dietary medical prescription, instead of an environmental and health nightmare. 

The sad truth is, our country has fallen under the belief that we actually need to eat animals to be healthy. How and when did consuming the milk from another creature or harming another creature to obtain its flesh become the way we take care of ourselves?

Keep in mind, there’s no judgement here. Likely all of us that don’t eat animals, have been in a place in our lives where we believed that we needed them to maintain certain aspects of health, whether it be weight, body tone, heart health, or bone health. Some of us have realized that’s not the case, but perhaps others haven’t yet made the connection, or are just afraid of becoming unhealthy. You might be one of those people, and if so, we’re here to show you why you don’t need animals to be healthy. Nature has a fine way of providing everything we need without the need to harm another living thing.

Here’s why a plant-based diet is the best choice:

Plants Contain Plenty of Protein

First, let’s tackle the big horse (no pun intended.) Plants are actually packed with amino acids that build blocks of protein, and your body can use these quite efficiently to provide you with everything you need. (Here are 10 of our favorites.) Eat sources such as: edamame, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, oats, teff, all beans and legumes, broccoli, kale, spinach, nuts, and seeds, and you’ll be sure to get plenty of body-pumping protein. Wondering about combining proteins together? There’s no need – while that will bump up your counts even further, combining foods isn’t necessary just to obtain a complete source of protein. Our bodies are able to use amino acids from any source to build complete blocks of protein just fine. Cheers to you kale!

Plants Are Packed With Better Sources of Calcium

Plants are also packed with better sources of calcium than milk. Collards, kale, almonds, some grains, and even chia and other seeds are all some of the best sources. These sources of calcium also don’t cause calcium loss in the bones like dairy-based sources do. Plants build the body, while animal foods break it down. This includes calcium, so please, skip the glass of milk and container of yogurt- they’re not doing your body a bit of good.

Plants Help Keep You Lean and Toned

If you’re one of those that eats lean meat, Greek yogurt, and egg whites or whey protein to stay lean and toned, then you’ll enjoy learning that plants can do that for you too, but without the negative side effects that eating animals brings. An oil-free plant-based diet was found to be the best diet to promote long, sustainable weight loss, more so than any other diet, and certain whole, plant-based foods actually lead to weight loss. While certain animal foods may help you drop some pounds quickly in the beginning, over the long haul, your body knows better. Some great meal ideas for staying lean and toned include pairing lots of leafy greens and veggies with whole grains, some beans and legumes, and very minimal amounts of processed foods or heavy nut dishes. Eat lower glycemic fruits to stabilize your blood sugar and base your meals off 100 percent whole foods whenever possible.

Plants Protect Your Heart 

Plants also protect your heart, in ways animal foods never could. It’s common sense, really. Why would another creature provide more benefits to our bodies than plants from the earth? Simple, right? Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds have all the right ingredient for a healthy heart. Fill your plate up with these and prevent everything from diabetes, to high blood pressure, and even cancer. Broccoli and berries never looked so good, right? In fact, studies show that a reduced consumption of milk (and meat) have led to reduced rates of cancer.

If you can’t go 100 percent plant-based at first, that’s okay. The idea is to become more plant-based and ease your way into a healthier life. Because that’s what a plant-based diet is: a prescription for good health, any way you look at it.

Lead Image Source: Hannah Williams