Veganism has come to light in recent years as many celebrities and authors have touted its benefits. Most of the public cannot fathom how to live without meat, however, and still view vegans as a bizarre group of people.
Countless studies have shown how consuming animal products is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Even just eating vegan a few days a week can drastically benefit someone's health.
A 140-pound woman should have 50 grams of protein a day, and for a vegan, this is no problem. Cooked spinach, lentils, and especially a soy product called tempeh provide vegans with a sufficient amount of protein to stay healthy.
A vegan diet is actually very cheap! Most of the dishes center around grains, nuts, legumes, beans, and seeds, which can all be purchased cheaply in bulk. Buying in-season fruits and vegetables is also pretty easy on the wallet.
Vegans aren't relegated to Whole Foods for their grocery needs --- many foods in a regular grocery store are actually vegan-friendly. Items like Oreos, dark chocolate, Twizzlers, Betty Crocker Bacon Bits, and even Kraft Taco Bell Taco Dinner are actually vegan. Of course, vegans still have much to avoid in a grocery store, but there's still items there they can eat!
Nearly 20% of man-made pollution comes from the meat industry, which actually puts factory farming ahead of transportation in contributing to greenhouse effects. The insane amounts of fossil-fuel energy needed to create feedlot beef has driven many to at least cut back on the product, if not swear off it altogether.
Vegan dishes don't necessarily taste worse than food with animal products in it. Vegan chefs have handily beat out non-vegans in various cooking competitions, including Cupcake Wars and the 10th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. Hundreds of vegan cookbooks provide a variety of tasty recipes that everyone will love.
While veganism may have gained some notoriety and traction lately, it's actually been around for years. It's been shown that it was a prominent lifestyle choice in ancient India and Greece, and continues to be a part of many religious beliefs such as Buddhism and Seventh Day Adventists.
Vegans who are sure to eat well do not need to purchase any supplements, except for one. Vitamin B12, which only occurs naturally in animal-sourced foods, is the only supplement vegans should get. Fortified nutritional yeast is a great way to get B12, and makes a great buttery substitute to sprinkle onto popcorn or pasta.
You don't have to be vegan all of the time to get the healthful effects and still help the environment. Just making an effort to eat vegan for a few meals a week will have great effects. And if you do want to try to go full vegan, there are programs like the Vegucated challenge and the 28-day Engine 2 Diet to ease you into it.