Most of us will spend over 90,000 hours at work over our lifetimes. Self-care is usually reserved for evenings, weekends, and our yearly vacations. But what if we could improve our quality of life while cranking out that final report? And what if that self-care included going vegan at the office? We all know 90,000 hours is a lot of time. Here’s why your office should incorporate a vegan workplace wellness program, stat.
1. Your colleagues can all lose weight together.
Step away from the fast-food lunch line. While there are many weight-loss office challenges, especially as the new year begins, rarely are they prompted by a plant-based program. A recent study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) found that GEICO employees were transformed physically and mentally after following a vegan diet at work. The weight loss cited in the study was a good indicator of how making a few changes can impact our health. Employees dropped an average of 10 pounds and lowered their cholesterol by 13 points. The uptake of fiber and water in a plant-based diet can help in shedding excess weight.
2. Those around you will have an overall sunnier disposition.
Let’s face it: When we’re feeling good and our bodies are in tip-top shape, our energy levels are naturally higher, and so are our moods. The 3pm slump is crummy, and everyone has experienced it at one time or another. Participants in the PCRM study reported “increases in overall productivity and improvements in anxiety, depression, and fatigue.” This is important because billions of dollars are spent on lost productivity each year from the symptoms and effects of anxiety and depression. New vegans often report feeling more energy, an uplifted mood, and a sense of lightness.
3. It can help lower everyone’s blood pressure.
It’s estimated that 80 percent of Americans 20 years and older are hypertensive—that’s a high number of people at risk for cardiovascular disease. Salt and cholesterol are both known to raise blood pressure. Cholesterol is only found in animal products, and high amounts of salt are commonly used to season most meats and cheeses. It’s a recipe for disaster, but a vegan diet can help by dialing down the pressure. High blood pressure also affects our brain health. A study conducted at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California, Davis showed that even slightly raised blood pressure over time can cause premature brain aging. Those with high-stress jobs could benefit by keeping hypertension at bay. A vegan diet high in fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts could significantly lower the risk of high blood pressure.
4. Your colleagues will take fewer sick days.
The Bureau of Labor statistics cited 4.2 million workers had illness-related absences in January 2018. As with any workplace wellness program, a healthier employee will take fewer sick days. Many vegans claim to have fewer colds and other chronic ailments after adopting a plant-based diet. A healthier diet means a stronger immune system, which translates to less time in bed and not at work. Companies should see a huge advantage in helping their employees stay well.
5. Your workplace will enjoy a boost in productivity.
With added energy, better mood, and feeling healthier, there is no doubt that the office will enjoy a boost in productivity, which is oh-so-good for a business’ bottom line. Everyone gets to be part of the challenge, which boosts morale. Good morale usually supports the desire to be more productive. We all know that when we’re dragging, our work drags, too. And when we’re feeling strong, we’re inspired to work harder. Plants for the win.
Sande Nosonowitz is a master-certified vegan transition coach, educator, and writer via her company, Sundara Vegan.