And what about your health? Do you feel like your body is some mystery that only your doctor understands? Do you feel like getting older is just another way of saying “falling apart”? What if I told you that, by eating a varied, plant-based diet, you will strengthen your immune system, beautify your skin, increase your energy, and reduce your risk (signifi cantly) of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, allergies, asthma, and almost every other disease? What if I said that I feel myself getting younger, more powerful, and more beautiful as I age simply because of what I eat? Of course the food we choose is not the only factor in our health and well-being, but it’s definitely one of the most important—and, luckily, it’s one we have control over. How does that nondairy ice cream sound now?
Stopping eating after dinner is an easy way to easily cut back on mindless munching and extra calories, and can help boost weight loss, White says. One way to prevent that post-dinner grazing is to brush your teeth almost immediately after your last meal of the day. The minty flavor in your mouth will make all your favorite foods taste gross anyway, and you won’t want to go back and brush your teeth all over again.
Protein is also important for preserving muscle mass as you lose weight. If you cut back dramatically on calories and drop weight too fast, your muscles can suffer. Your body starts pulling from lean tissue like muscles and organs to fuel itself, and your metabolism slows to conserve energy. That’s why super restrictive diets that have you dropping weight fast aren’t healthy over the long run.
Something really wild was happening inside of me, too. I noticed that my whole body felt lighter. I was more vibrant and spunky. I felt like my heart had sort of opened a bit and my shoulders could relax, as if an overall softening had taken place. I no longer carried heavy animal protein in my body, which takes tons of energy to digest. Plus, I didn’t have the heaviness of the suffering in me; frightened animals produce lots of cortisol and adrenaline right before slaughter, and we can become stressed from eating their meat.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL