Written by Iron Vegan
So, you’ve decided to eat more plant foods? Congratulations! Eating more plant-based foods is one of the simplest and most effective steps towards better overall health. By increasing your intake of foods from plant sources your intake of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals will naturally increase as well. A boost in these nutrients will impact the way you feel; you will likely experience increased energy, clearer skin and easier weight loss and weight maintenance.
Beyond the dietary changes, there are many other lifestyle factors to consider when transitioning to eating more plant foods that impact overall health. We have outlined a few below:
Exercise and the Body
You can have the best eating habits in the world, but if you neglect to move your body, you will not achieve optimal health. The benefits of regular exercise are impossible to ignore, for both body and mind. It’s no surprise, but here at Iron Vegan we are passionate about living an active lifestyle and constantly challenging our physical limits. The key to remaining consistent with physical activity is to find what moves you (figuratively and literally), and just keep moving!
Beliefs and Mindset
Eating habits are formed around belief systems, and for this reason some people can get defensive if their beliefs around food are challenged and if given unwanted advice for eating a certain way. As much as you may want to see your loved ones adopt a similar way of eating and improve their health at the same time, just remember that the only person that you have control over is yourself. The best thing you can do is set a good example of how eating a whole foods plant focused diet can improve health, performance, and mindset. Stay focused on your journey and well-being, and you will almost certainly find that your friends and family will be become curious about your new habits and want to jump aboard the train to eating and thriving on plants as well.
The process of eating can be as important as the food itself. Often, we are in a rush when eating and do not take the time to truly appreciate the food on our plate. When we slow down and pay attention to the meal, we tend to grow a deeper connection to the process of growing, harvesting, and preparing of the food that went into it, as well as the nutritional benefits that the food will provide once consumed. When we become more mindful of the process, we start to enjoy each bite with gratitude, and notice how the foods we eat affect us both mentally and physically.
Clothing, Body Care + Cleaning Products
As we have discussed in a previous blog, there are many reasons why people choose to eat more plant foods or adopt a plant-based lifestyle. For many that make the transition, and especially for those that do so for ethical and environmental reasons, they usually begin to reconsider not only their food choices, but other aspects of their life, like clothing, footwear, skin care, and household cleaning products - and how these choices affect other living beings and the planet.
Materials like leather, wool, fur, down and feathers are used throughout clothing and footwear manufacturing, which may make it difficult at first to avoid fashion items that contain animal products. However, with a growing number of animal-considerate shoppers, it is becoming easier than ever to find innovative fashion alternatives – like mushroom leather, natural fibres and hemp wool1. Nowadays, you can find natural alternatives and special faux materials that are made to simply imitate the animal products1 - that make the same, if not greater, fashion statement!
In addition to apparel and footwear, animal-derived ingredients are also routinely used in a large majority of body care products and household cleaning products. Some common animal-derived ingredients found in beauty care products include collagen, glycerin, lanolin, gelatin, keratin, and tallow. If you have consciously made the decision to avoid or minimize your consumption of animal products in your diet, you may also want to consider opting for the vegan alternative when it comes to beauty care as well. Many vegan options will be made from plants, minerals, and safe synthetic materials, but be sure to look for an all-natural variety.
Oftentimes, by avoiding body care products that contain animal-derived ingredients and/or have been tested on animals, you are also avoiding chemical preservatives and artificial dyes, which are not healthy for the body to begin with. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ2 and it absorbs a lot of what you put on it, so therefore what you put on your body deserves the same consideration as what you put in it! Opting for the plant-derived natural version is not only better for the health of your skin, but gentler on the planet, too.
- The Considerate Consumer. Animal-Considerate Fashion. Accessed March 31, 2021 at: https://www.considerate-consumer.com/animal-considerate-fashion
- Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine. Accessed: March 31 at: 10.3109/17453054.2010.525439