Growing up as an Italian American, I was always surrounded by big portions of foods filled with cheese and sauce, and desserts filled with eggs and butter. How could you not resist?

Until two years ago, I was ignorant towards what animals products are actually doing to my body, where the animal products are coming from, and the environment. So I decided to go Vegan. Veganism might not be for everyone, but it has helped me in numerous ways and has changed the way I look at animals and the environment.

1. No more stomachaches.

I was diagnosed with a lactose sensitivity on and off throughout my life. Some days were great and I would eat ice-cream without any issues. But other days, I would be crying in pain because it felt as if my stomach was on fire.

There are plenty of milk alternatives for those who are dairy free or vegan like me: rice milk, soy milk, oat milk. Thank gosh for coconuts and almonds because now I can enjoy dairy free ice-cream without the added pain.

2. More energy.

Dominique Gambino

After going vegan I realized that I had a lot more energy once I finished a meal. I no longer experienced "food comas" or felt weighed down. In fact, I felt more alive.

Rather than eating foods high in fat that take your body a long time to break down, I ate carbs that my body could use as fuel almost instantly. Rather than eating cheese or chicken, I now eat vegetables, rice, and as much pasta as I want, sticking to my Italian roots.

3. I can eat as much as I want.

Now this isn't necessarily the case for all vegan foods, but for someone who is trying to improve their diet by eating plant-based foods, this isn't a problem. Since a plant-based diet has fewer calories than a carnivorous diet, you can eat more without all the added calories.

I can now go out to eat more since most restaurants offer vegan options. My favorite go-to meals are salad or rice bowls from Freshii or Chop't.

4. No more harm to my body.

A photo posted by KIM [vegan] 🌿 (@pbeechie) on

It is commonly known that the meat and dairy industry do not practice sustainable farming when it comes to producing their products. It has been proven that animals can sense when they are about to die and as a result release stress hormones. The hormones get stuck their muscles and fat which humans then consume. But I bet you didn't know eating could be so "stressful."

Stress hormones tend to cause people to break out, have cardiac problems, be fatigued constantly, and have other affects. I avoid these issues by eating fake meat brands such as Gardein's meatless options, Beyond Meat Burgers, and Daiya dairy products.

5. I want to save my home.

A photo posted by VEGAN 🌱 (@vegan) on

The last reason I am vegan is that I care about my home, the earth. I hate hearing about global warming and climate change because it scares me to know that the planet is not everlasting. I made the conscious decision to slow down these devastating changes by eating plants rather than animals.

In order to produce one pound of meat, the animal needs to drink more water and eat more food than a human does. All of which happen just so the human can eat meat. This is depleting the earth's resources faster than scientist expected. Rather inefficiently using nature's resources to produce meat, I can easily just make a delicious meal myself thats primarily plant-based. In this instance, I am using the resources directly and saving much needed resources.

Overall, being vegan has made me look and feel healthier, physically and morally. I know I am doing my best to save the animals and planet all while keeping myself in top shape. I am not asking you to jump into the vegan lifestyle all at once, but maybe start by eliminating animal products from one meal a day. Slowly but surely, if everyone does this, the world and human race will be in better place. 

If you want to learn more about how you can benefit from being vegan, you should check out Forks over Knives documentaries. I highly recommend them for those interested in learning about veganism.