10 Reasons why I eat a Whole-Food Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet

It’s been just over 6 months since I adopted a whole-food plant-based diet, or turned vegan, whatever you prefer. I’ve taken some time to reflect on the main reasons why I went vegan in the first place and here they are.

Cancer growth can be turned on and off using dairy protein

Forks over Knives was my first proper introduction to the concept and reasoning of a whole-food plant-based diet. The part of the film in which Dr T. Colin Campbell explains his study on rats where he was able to ‘turn off and on cancer’ was the sit up and take notice moment for me.

Your diet is a big factor in whether you will develop cancer or not

Eating a whole-food plant-based diet will significantly reduce your chances of developing most common cancers. Dr John McDougall has led several studies on this topic and his talks on YouTube are well worth watching. Another scientist I payed a lot of attention to while I was transitioning to a vegan diet (and still do) is Dr Michael Greger and in particular his How Not to Die talks. Also check out this 2007 study on the role of nutrition in preventing cancer, and this one too.

Eating red meat increases your risk of colon and prostate cancers

Studies show that eating a lot of red meat can increase your risk of colon and prostate cancers 18-40%, which leads nicely onto my next point…

Processed meat and red meats are carcinogens

In 2015 the World Health Organisation produced a report that listed processed meats as a Type 1 carcinogen (causes cancer to humans) and red meat as a Type 2 carcinogen (probably causes cancer to humans).

According to the WHO, a ‘processed’ meat is any meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or undergone any other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation. This includes common products such as sausages, ham, gammon and bacon.

Some other Type 1 carcinogens include cigarettes, arsenic and asbestos. Just think about that for a minute.

Cancer Research UK graphic on carcinogenic groupings of meat.
Cancer Research UK graphic on carcinogenic groupings of meat.

The unethical practices of the dairy industry

The dairy industry often escapes the same level of public scrutiny that the meat industry gets. I believe this is because when we think of dairy farms we often think of that image of a farmer milking his cows by hand and we do not associate dairy farms with any death or suffering. As this video shows this is not the case.

Dairy cows are artificially inseminated over and over again during their adult life with their calves being taken away from them at birth. Calves will then either join the dairy herd, be reared for meat or often be slaughtered soon after birth. And all this so we can steal and drink the milk that was intended by nature for them, while at the detriment to our own health. Odd. 🤔

Whole-food plant-based diets prevent and cure diabetes

And if you don’t believe it, read this case study. There’s plenty more out there too.

Whole-food plant-based diets prevent and reverse heart disease

Here in the UK we spend about £7 billion a year on cardiovascular disease and in the US that number is well over $800 billion. Studies show however that heart disease need not exist and can be completely controlled by a whole-food plant-based diet.

Want proof? Look up the work of Dr Caldwell Esselstyn. In 1985 he embarked on a study to find ways to better help the patients in his surgical practice who we so sick from cardiovascular disease that an early death looked inevitable. He put them on a whole food plant based diet and tracked those patients over the next decade.

In 1995 Esselstyn produced his findings and reported that “disease was clinically arrested in all 11 participants, and none had new infarctions. Among the 11 remaining patients after 10 years, six continued the diet and had no further coronary events, whereas the five dropouts who resumed their pre-study diet reported 10 coronary events.”

In short, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease can not only be prevented, but also reversed by eating a whole-food plant-based diet.

Cow’s milk contains puss

Today’s high demands for dairy means cows are enduring annual cycles of artificial insemination, pregnancy, birth and mechanical milking for about 10 months of the year. This unnaturally high stress on the cows has led to common occorances of diseases such as mastitis (udder infections). In infected cows, this then leads to somatic cells that form pus ending up in our milk. Pastuerising the milk does not remove these pus cells.

For more detail, read Dr M Greger’s article on ‘How much pus is there in milk’.

Calcium from dairy weakens your bones

While watching Forks over Knives it surprised me to learn that the nations with the highest calcium, dairy and animal protein intake have the weakest bones. This is because the animal protein in milk acidifies our body PH which causes our bodies to fight back and correct the PH. Calcium is a great acid-neutraliser and most of it is stored in our bones. So calcium excretes from our bones to balance our body PH, resulting in a net calcium loss from drinking milk. Never taught us that in schools did they!

For a bit of further reading, this 2009 study explains why drinking milk is unnecessary and does not have any beneficial impact on our bones.

Global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transport

Transportation v animal agriculture emissions

Seen Cowspiracy yet? The whole film is based around this fact which was reported on in the United Nation’s report – Livestock’s Long Shadow.

We’re encouraged to recycle more, use energy saving bulbs and stop the tap running while we are brushing our teeth. Sorry but none of this is really going to save the planet. We need to tackle the big issues. Most people don’t want to hear it but eating a lot less meat is absolutely essential to reducing climate change.

Those were the main reasons why I adopted a whole-food plant-based diet and therefore became a vegan. What were yours? Let me know in the comments below.

Yum

2 Comments 10 Reasons why I eat a Whole-Food Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet

  1. Sarah Kate 1 September 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Great post! I too am vegan and am often asked why. This post covers all of the reasons in a non-preachy and succinct way. I’m bookmarking it to send to people who ask me in the future. Cheers!!

    1. Sam Hodges 1 September 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I’m glad it was helpful to you Sarah and appreciate the kind words! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂

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