Living a plant-smart, plant-based, vegan diet has the potential to be lifesaving. While on the surface, many of us who tout a plant-based diet occasionally discuss it as a miracle cure for any number of physical and psychological ailments, and it could easily be construed as a “snake oil” sales tactic, the reality as I see it is simple: living a plant-based lifestyle is a miracle. This is not a term I use lightly. I know in my heart I want for each and every one of you to see how a plant-based diet can change your life, but this is no easy task. I wanted to take some time today to talk about an invisible disease that haunts many people, that of anxiety and fear, and how it can be eliminated through a plant-based lifestyle.
As a word of warning, I don’t mean to imply that eating a plant-based diet is the end-all-be-all when it comes to resolving anxiety. The truth is that anxiety, depression, and fear tend to be issues that are multi-faceted. There are many things that cause them, and different people experience and deal with them differently. For some, anxiety is hardly a problem. They are able to deal with virtually any situation life puts in front of them, regardless of diet. But for most people, anxiety ranges from just being an inconvenient thing to something absolutely detrimental to living life to its fullest.
While I expect my words will be useful to all people as they consider how a plant-based diet can impact their lives when it comes to anxiety and similar ailments, I imagine the people that will take notice the most are those who actively experience symptoms of anxiety on a daily basis. It can reveal itself in the simplest of forms. For some, you may struggle to walk through the grocery store without constantly looking over your shoulder for fear something bad may happen. For others, it may make it incredibly difficult just to wake up and do something productive.
Anxiety disorders really operate on a continuum. On one end, it is an inconvenience. On the other, it is extremely impairing.
I believe a plant-based diet can be an excellent starting point for finding a real, lasting solution to the problem of anxiety and fear. The reason for this is because a vegan diet is nutritionally dense, and can provide all the required vitamins, minerals, and satisfaction needed to support a healthy life. When I switched from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a plant-based diet just a few years ago, it started to become increasingly clear that many things that have ailed me were the result of poor lifestyle choices, including my diet. While diet is not the only component of truly living a healthy lifestyle, it is undeniably a major cornerstone on which a health life is built. For those battling chronic anxiety, depression, and other mental “disorders,” a plant-based lifestyle may be your ultimate weapon and the bane of feeling lousy.
While the mind certainly plays a role in your anxiety, it is important to think about how your physical body effects your mind, too. When the food you eat starts to make you feel good, your anxiety will start to dissipate. I experienced this in myself, this powerful and totally natural tool. In retrospect when I think back to the old way I was living, I find it hard to believe that I even survived.
Weighed down (quite literally) by anxiety, stress, and other physical ailments such as being overweight (I have lost over 60+ pounds); it was truly difficult to live life like I wanted. By switching to a vegan diet, I began to lose weight and feel better all around. It has since developed into a full blown plant-based lifestyle as I find much of my time is spent tending to my veganic garden, and over the past year connecting with those of you who have gotten to know me through Plant-Smart Living.
Does this mean anxiety and fear are things I do not deal with? No, they are still present. But through a healthy plant-based diet and learning to make better life decisions in other areas of my life, it has become a notable stepping stone towards eradicating these ailments from my life. Sometimes the best first step is just to start relieving the pressure and to make the problem more manageable, and that is really what being plant-based has done for me. I hope you are able to find this encouraging if you battle with anxiety and fear. These are not simple things to manage, nor are they simple to understand. I truly believe a plant-based lifestyle is one of the building blocks you should use to lay the foundation for finding a better life for yourself. Nature has provided us so much medicine for everyday problems like these, all we have to do is learn how to take advantage of it more thoroughly.
If you’re interested in a plant-based diet, but not sure where to start, considering checking out the many vegan recipes we have put together to get a sampling of what you can do with organic, whole food, and vegan friendly ingredients!