It’s that time of year again, when most of us are thinking about the New Year ahead and reflecting on the decisions we made in the year passed. It’s the perfect time for resolutions and establishing goals to create a brighter future. The most common New Year’s resolution is to get healthier by losing a few pounds, exercising more, and eating better. And with the country’s obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic and heart disease and cancer on the rise, making health a top priority in the coming year is the perfect resolution and anyone can do it!

But before you get started, there’s one thing to keep in mind…traditional ways of losing weight have consisted of fad diets that require starving your body and your taste buds. Yes, you might lose a few pounds in the beginning, but it usually comes back, leaving you frustrated and setting you up for failure. Instead, try something new this year; start by really looking at the food fuel you are feeding your body. This is the easiest and most important step towards success…and one that is guaranteed to keep you committed to living healthy.

Start by getting back to the basics with whole plant foods. Most Americans consume highly processed foods that contain large amounts of refined sugars, saturated fat and minimal nutritional value. (Of course one will gain weight and lack energy from eating these foods.) Adopting plant-based eating habits is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Reducing your intake of saturated fat, animal hormones (and antibiotics), and cholesterol found in animal products and increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other diet-related diseases.

Whole plant foods are naturally low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. They also offer optimal fiber to help move things along the digestive tract and eating a variety of plant foods, supplies the body with essential micronutrients needed to maintain a proper immune system. When you are fueling your body with the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health, then your body can effectively fight off disease and not simply survive, but thrive!

The American Dietetic Association calls a well-planned vegan diet “healthful and nutritionally adequate…for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes” and adds that it “may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

And when your body is healthier and happier, you’ll be happier and full of life!

So what are you waiting for?! Today is a new day and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Visit LiveVegan.org for more information and delicious recipes that make eating a plant-based diet is easy and fun. Your body and mind will thank you…and so will your taste buds! Here’s to a New Year, Cheers!

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