Have you ever caught yourself wondering, "Why eat healthy? We're all going to down someday. Shouldn't we really live it up by enjoying every flavor of food we can?"
Even if you won't confess to that train of thought, you've at least heard other people say it and might have been baffled by how to respond to them.
This is one of the more common reasons people give me for why they don't want to change their diet and start eating healthier. For many, they truly believe that eating a vegan diet means they will sacrifice on flavor and taste. For others, this is just another anti-vegan excuse for maintaining their current lifestyle.
There are a few really good responses to the "why eat healthy" question.
1. Do you really live life to the fullest if you spend the last 20 years straddled with diseases?
If you don't know how the standard American diet, or Western pattern diet, increases your risk for developing degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's? They are all intricately related to diet and lifestyle choices.
Conversely, low-fat, animal-free diets are associated with the lowest rates for adult-onset diseases. Read about how the vegan diet beats the ADA's recommendations for diet.
2. Can you truly live life to the fullest when you are bogged down with extra weight and diseases?
Isn't it harder to walk, run, skydive, sightsee, zip-wire, dance, play with your children, love your partner, and generally enjoy life, when you are overweight?
Maybe you aren't overweight... Have you ever walked out of a steakhouse and felt totally stuffed and fatigued, like you had just run a marathon? Imagine that feeling for the rest of your life.
3. Isn't part of enjoying life having tons of energy and minimal pain?
If you're older, you know what it can feel like to feel victim to an aging body. Wouldn't it be nice to have a surge of energy and stamina, making you feel like you're a kid again?
It's true... vegans do live longer and have fewer diseases, more energy, and often even show fewer signs of aging than people who eat a regular diet. Read to learn about how to prevent heart disease with a vegan diet.
4. Wouldn't you rather live more years so that you can truly live life to the fullest?
Although I think it's a funny argument, people say it wistfully, as though they don't really believe that they are going to die younger from their habits. Unfortunately, they are truly deciding right there that having a steak is more important than living to see great-grandchildren.
It's hard to look at each choice you make as a choice for your future, but it truly is. The compounding of each correct daily diet choice gives you more time to spend with loved ones. That's my response as to why eat healthy.