Do you think of going vegan as something that college kids do? It’s true that young people might be leading the way, but there is a place for more vegan meals in your menu no matter your age. Whether your 18 or 80, taking steps toward plant-based eating can make a difference in your life, your legacy, and the world around you.
Here are five reasons why it is truly never too late to go vegan.
1. A vegan diet can improve health at any age. If the years are catching up with you and you’re dealing with elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure, a vegan diet is a great way to reverse those problems. Many people see their cholesterol levels drop within weeks of adopting a more plant-based eating pattern. And if you are already in good health, a vegan diet can help you stay that way.
2. Vegan diets are fun! It might seem like going vegan would make your meals more restrictive, but most vegans find that just the opposite is true. They start exploring global cuisine—experimenting with foods like Indonesian tempeh with spicy peanut sauce, Asian noodles with ginger and sesame oil, or Indian curry with avocado. If you feel like your diet is in a rut, give it a little pizazz by adding some vegan meals.
3. You’ll leave the world a better place for future generations. Recycling, cutting back on water usage, and buying local are all good ways to protect the health of the planet. But none of those efforts has nearly the impact of going vegan. Animal agriculture guzzles up huge amounts of land, natural resources and water. When you go vegan, your carbon footprint shrinks and your water usage drops.
4. It’s never been easier. Check the vegan cookbook section of your local bookstore; you’ll find books dedicated to vegan chocolate, vegan comfort foods, vegan parties and vegan holidays. The internet is a treasure trove of tens of thousands of vegan recipes. If you don’t like to cook, The Laziest Vegans have you covered with tips about vegan convenience foods.
5. Veganism is compassion in action. There is no other lifestyle change you can make that will have such a significant impact on the lives and welfare of animals. Every step you take toward replacing meat, eggs, and dairy foods in your diet with vegan meals is a vote against animal cruelty.
Virginia Messina, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian who writes and speaks on vegan nutrition. Her most recent book is Never Too Late to Go Vegan: The Over-50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet. She is also the co-author of Vegan for Life and Vegan for Her. She blogs at TheVeganRD.com and you can follow her on facebook and twitter.