Photo By: Chantal Garnier from Unsplash

Have you noticed an increasing variety of ‘meatless-meat’ options at the grocery store or saw someone buying almond milk instead of regular milk, but can’t explain why? Everywhere we look, more and more vegan and plant-based options have been popping up. We look on Instagram and famous people are recreating vegan recipes, there are commercials for vegan food all over the place and there are more and more studies being done on the benefits of a plant-based, vegan diet.

Celebrities like Billie Eilish who advocate for animal equality and campaigns for veganism, and countless others, like Rainn Wilson and Stevie Wonder to name a few, who advocate for plant-based diets might have something to do with the increasing popularity of vegan and vegetarian options. When celebrities are constantly posting on social media and speaking out about things they are passionate about, they create a fandom for those things. People love to follow trends that celebrities are setting.

The media has also been releasing more and more movies and documentaries about the horrors of the animal agricultural industry and the benefits of a meat-free/animal product-free lifestyle. 

There is a reason behind all this publicity and it’s because there are some serious health benefits to making the switch. 

The movie Game Changers follows a series of elite vegan athletes as they train for their respective competitions and events. It highlights the advantages of a vegan diet and the effects of animal products, especially leaner meats and food that are considered to be exceptionally healthy for athlete consumption and how they can negatively affect the body’s health. It is stated in the documentary that, “vegan diets promote lower risk of cancer, diabetes, improve heart health and the vascular system immensely.” 

What most non-vegan or plant-based people don’t know is that it actually is possible to get the same levels of protein and nutrients while following a vegan diet as you would on an omnivorous diet. Adequately-planned vegan meals can offer all the essential nutrients and vitamins required to be a high performance athlete. 

What The Health, another vegan documentary created by filmmaker Kip Anderson, tells of many other reasons why you should consider eating vegan. Anderson dove deep into the sad reality that large companies such as The American Cancer Society who, “actually encourage eating processed meats like turkey, ham and other canned meats,” when eating processed meats are statistically linked to certain kinds of cancer. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer, particularly bowel and stomach cancer. 

That is not the only shocking fact in this documentary. Additionally, it points out how the American Diabetes Association features recipes that use red and processed meats, when it has been proven that one serving of processed meats per day can increase the risk of developing diabetes by 51%, according to the WHO. 

As mentioned in the documentary, it’s also important to note that the companies that encourage consumption of these meats, like processed food giant Tyson Foods for example, are some of the largest supporters of the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association, go figure.

There is so much to learn about plant-based and vegan eating and, with society becoming more and more accepting of different lifestyle choices, the possibilities for a vegan diet are endless. 

It is super easy to find lots of nutritional advice about being vegan. Brock University actually has their own club called Plant Based at Brock. You can follow them on Instagram and reach out if you are looking to get more involved in the plant based community or if you just want to learn more. 

The Wallet Moth published a five-day vegan on a budget meal plan, perfect for students looking to make the switch without breaking the bank. Check it out below: 

Don’t forget to include some of these super easy, super tasty vegan snacks as well:

  • Fruit and nut butter
  • Guacamole and crackers/chips
  • Edamame with sea salt
  • Trail mix
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Rice cakes 
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Sweet Chili Heat Doritos (yes, they are vegan)

This article contains a lot of information on being vegan and the benefits, so why not give eating vegan a try? Who knows, you might find it to be a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Having made the change four years ago, I can’t imagine my life another way.