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By Compassion Over Killing staff

TryVeg

New year, new you — right? At least, that’s everyone’s optimistic mantra when the clock strikes midnight on January 1. But instead of drafting a laundry list of resolutions, how about one change that will help protect your health, animals and the planet? Try vegan!

There’s literally nothing else you can do that would have that kind of impressive impact. 

In case you need a little kick in the rear, here are eight reasons why 2017 is the perfect year to take the leap and ditch animal products forever. 

  1. Inspiration is everywhere.
    Back in the day, going vegan might have felt like a lonely prospect. But with the rising number of vegan eaters and the increasing reach of social media, fellow vegheads are just a click away. There are thousands of vegan Instagram accounts, Facebook and Twitter pages and more to follow and glean recipes, inspiration, and friendship from. Plus, when almost every city has a vegan meet-up group or other social option, it’s easier than ever before to meet like-minded people who can help you launch your new lifestyle.
  1. You’re likely to need less health care.
    It’s always a good time to commit to a diet that’ll help you steer clear of the ER, and why not start in 2017 when healthcare changes might be around the corner? Going plant-based will give you a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many types of cancers. Even the the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently released a paper extolling the virtues of a vegan diet. It turns out that whole “apple-a-day” thing is seriously sound advice.
  1. Documentaries abound.
    If you’re on the hunt for info, inspiration, and/or entertainment, you need look no further than Netflix and other online/streaming services. Documentary after documentary is being released, covering the many compelling reasons to go vegan — from corporate food domination to animal abuse to environmental devastation. Watch The Ghosts in Our Machine; Cowspiracy; Vegucated; Earthlings; Forks Over Knives … the list goes on. Every year brings new options.
  1. You can order delivery.
    Plant-based meal delivery services are EVERYWHERE these days. There’s no need to live in San Fran or NYC to get access to pre-prepared vegan eats. Companies like Thrive Foods, Purple Carrot, and Veestro deliver healthy, delicious meal options straight to your door. It literally doesn’t get any easier than that.
    1. It officially isn’t weird anymore.
      People used to think vegans were, well, odd. But the tired old stereotypes are rapidly evaporating. With celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Jessica Chastain, and Liam Hemsworth taking the leap, it’s more mainstream than ever. Veganism is a topic of conversation on The Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Network. Elected officials (Cory Booker!) talk about it, and healthcare companies are recommending it to their members. It’s EVERYWHERE … which means it’s a lot less likely someone will look at you funny when you tell them to hold the meat, cheese, or cow’s milk.
    2. Vegan meats are the real deal.
      The Beyond Burger — a revolutionary patty that’s sold in the meat section and grills like real beef — will be offered nationwide this year. And that’s not all — vegan butcher shops are on the rise. Atlas Meat-Free Deli will open in Miami in early 2017, and you can count on more plant-based meat makers opening brick-and-mortar locations across the country. Even companies like Tyson Foods are getting on board with the plant meat revolution. 2017 food trends show: plants and meat-free meats are definitely IN!
        1. The planet needs you.
          If everyone went vegan, it would save about eight million lives by 2050; reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 percent; and reduce healthcare bills by about $1.5 trillion. But if most people continue to chow down on animal products, the prospects are much more dim. Scientists say that the world needs to make a dramatic shift towards more plant-based foods in order to avoid a dangerous rise in global surface temperature. Eek. So go vegan, and save the planet.
        2.  There are more food options than ever before.
          Seriously, there are mouthwatering cheeses, meats that “bleed” and sizzle, plant milks of every kind, legit vegan eggs — and doppelgangers for every other animal product imaginable. These items are available at Walmarts, Targets — even CVS stores. It’s never been easier to get your hands on plant-based food, and it’s never been tastier.

So what are you waiting for? 2017 is clearly the year of the vegan. Now’s the time to make your move.