7 Reasons To Go Vegan

7 Reasons To Go Vegan

Your reasons to go plant-based, from saving money to saving the environment.
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Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes the participation of animal cruelty, usually in the form of a plant-based diet that avoids the consumption of animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. There is instead an emphasis on raw or whole foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. There has been a significant spike in the rise of veganism over the last three years, with 6% of consumers in the U.S. identifying as vegan, according to a report released in June of 2017. Many people choose to switch to veganism for ethical reasons, but there are plenty of benefits that involve the well-being not just individuals, but the world.

1. Better for the Environment

Livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the leading causes of climate change. As more land is needed to grow feed for livestock, and space is needed to house those animals, deforestation becomes necessary, which increases levels of carbon dioxide and decreases biodiversity. Biodiversity is vital to the health of the planet. Humans rely on organisms such as bacteria and plants to grow crops, make clothing material, and make medicine. A balance in the ecosystem allows for fertile soil, clean water, and moderate weather. Meat production also puts a strain on freshwater resources, contributing to the global water crisis. By cutting down on red meat, you’re able to reduce your personal ecological footprint, which refers to the measure of human demand on nature, based on the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you eat.

2. Stop Participating in Animal Cruelty

Egg-laying hens spend their lives in battery cages, confined to such tight spaces that they experience feather loss and bruising. Dairy cows spend their lives indoors, with females milked continuously and often developing infections. Calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth and are usually slaughtered within seven years, despite their natural lifespan being twenty-five years. Animals are also used in the testing of cosmetic products and medications or subjected to the brutality of the leather industry.

3. Avoid Contamination

Meat is more likely to be contaminated with carcinogens, hormones, antibiotics and other toxins, and has a higher concentration of pesticides than plant food. Pesticides have been linked to health issues, including birth defects and cancer. There is a high risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria such as E. coli. Additionally, The USDA reported that 70 percent of food poisoning is caused by the contaminated animal flesh.

4. Healthier Diet

Regularly consuming meat raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Plant-based diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than carnivorous diets and allow a higher intake of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and important nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Vegetable protein can be found in beans, peas, rice, quinoa, lentils, nuts, seeds and grains. Studies have found those who follow plant-based diets are more able to maintain a healthy body weight and have longer life expectancy.

5. Save Money

Veganism is often thought to be an expensive luxury, associated with the health-conscious west-coast hipsters, processed-food-fearing moms and Lululemon-wearing yoga/pilates teachers that populate Trader Joe’s. However, going plant-based can be accessible and affordable. Mock-meat and faux-cheese products are not vital, and veggie patties, seitan chik’n or soy-based cheese can be highly processed, essentially amounting to junk food. Staples such as vegetables, oats, tofu or beans, tend to be cheaper than animal proteins; for example, a cut of beef averages about $4 per pound, while a pound of lentils is less than $1. Vegetables can also be preserved longer through canning or freezing, and plant-based proteins are often non-perishable, as opposed to meat or dairy, which usually must be eaten within a certain time frame before spoiling.

6. Vegan Junk Food

On the other hand, if you aren’t afraid to splurge, alternative vegan junk food does exist. Companies such as Amy’s and Daiya offer vegan mac and cheese or pizzas. If you’re a Philadelphia native (excuse this shameless plug), Dottie’s Donuts is a vegan bakery that offers food-porn-worthy treats, with deluxe doughnut flavors such as pumpkin spice glazed, peanut-butter oreo or matcha pistachio, to name a few. As for vegan ice cream, Little Baby’s offers a plethora of options and has locations in West Philly and Fishtown.

7. Live Conscientiously

In this technology-centered age, it’s easy to be disconnected—from other people, from yourself, from the world. We are faced with constant distractions, brainwashed by a barrage of media influences. We follow mundane routines, fall into negative habits, mindlessly going through the motions in a depersonalized state. It’s easy to just absorb information without questioning it, let someone else make choices for you, to obsess over trivial or materialistic matters. Modern society is fast-paced, we are pushed forward by the bulleting rush of time. To live conscientiously simply means to be purposeful and mindful of your actions, to recognize the intentions behind every decision you make and the consequences of your choices. It means raising your self-awareness and acknowledging the world around you. Going vegan, for me, was about taking control of an aspect of my life that I had been struggling with for a long time. The things that you put into your body has a direct correlation to the way you feel, your overall mood and mental health. My transition into veganism happened over the course of several years, and it helped me perceive my body in a more positive way. I was teaching myself to be kinder to myself, and less judgemental. At a time when I felt lost and overwhelmed, it made me feel more in touch with not only myself, but with the world.

Cover Image Credit: Mariah Hall

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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33 Thoughts Gym Girls Have Every Single Time We Work Out

Be honest, we've all had these thoughts.

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Going to the gym is a task that no one enjoys. We always hate the process it entails, and yet, we still go. I don't think I've ever met someone who has been excited to go to the gym. Even the thought of having to go to the gym tomorrow haunts me. Even though we hate going, we find ourselves showing up ready to take on the sweaty and used machines, and of course, the muscle-heads who only lift weights to stay in shape.

Whether you're trying to stay fit, lose some weight, or get in shape for bikini season, we have at least one thing in common: our thought process while working out. We all try and think about different things, but here are 33 things ALL girls have thought about at least once while at the gym.

1. Okay, time to work out

2. Can I skip today's workout?

3. No, I need to look good for bikini season

4. If I work out now, I can go out this weekend

5.Okay, I'm here... it's cardio time

6. There's no elliptical open, so I guess I can run on a treadmill

7. LOL I hate running, Stair Master it is!

8. I'm already breaking a sweat... how long has it been?!

9. Wow, only 7 minutes? This workout is endless

10. I can't wait to eat after this

11. Maybe I''ll get a burger... or pizza... or BOTH!

12. Okay, 30 minute cardio is up... abs circuit time

13. How do I use these machines...?

14. How many reps should I do?

15. Crap, there's a really hot guy next to me, stay calm!!!

16. Maybe I can impress him with my work out #skill

17. Just kidding, I probably look so stupid right now

18. I don't belong here... why did I decide this was a good idea?

19. Wait, what rep was I on again?

20. Whatever, I'm sure I did all of them

21. I can already feel my abs forming

22. I should make a really great workout playlist right now

23. Okay, let's do some pull-ups

24. Wow, I'm feeling so great about myself right now!

25. This is too hard. That girl made it look so easy...

26. I have no upper body strength

27. Oh this song is my jam!

28. Don't start dancing, you're in public

29. Okay, back to pull-ups

30. I should do this more often

31. Who am I kidding, I'll probably come back in 2 weeks

32. I'm over this. I've done enough for the day!

33. I deserve a burger... and some fries

Cover Image Credit:

Sara Kelliher

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