Earlier this month, a filing showed that the popular meditation app Headspace had raised an additional $47.7 million, on top of $53 million equity funding raised in February.

As we recently learned in a CrunchBase article, the company is expanding internationally, working with universities on 70+ clinical research studies, and has had over 62 million downloads as of February. Amid the coronavirus crisis, they’ve launched free subscriptions for healthcare workers and those who have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic. Personally, I’ve listened to Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe, guide me through hundreds of morning wakeups with his soothing, grounding voice (the British accent doesn’t hurt).

Recently, while cooking up a riff on these fine walnut tacos with cabbage slaw for dinner, I listened to Puddicombe lead me through a guided cooking meditation. As I gently whisked together my slaw dressing, I realized how truly hand-in-hand eating vegan and meditating go together. Below, three reasons a plant-based diet can be enhanced by regular meditation practice and vice versa.

1. You’ll gain more appreciation for your food.

Going plant-based has a lot of benefits for your health, the environment, and animals. When I made the plant-based plunge, I found myself having more gratitude for what was on my plate, the work it took to get there, and how nourishing and energy-promoting meals taste without animal products. After all, when you’re eating that dead piece of chicken on your plate, you’re ingesting a whole lot of the animal’s fear, sadness, and likely antibiotics and other icky additives along with it. We’ll pass.

Like practicing mindfulness, when you go vegan, you cultivate a greater appreciation for the little things in life. In the case of your dinner plate, that might be a particularly stellar basil pesto. With meditation, it may be a particularly beautiful cloud in the sky at dusk during your evening stroll, which makes you temporarily forget the mask around your face.

2. You’ll slow down at the dinner table.

If you’re anything like, oh, 90% of Americans, dinnertime is a harried, multitasking affair, where you scarf down your food as you watch TV or distractedly flip through a magazine article or scroll through Twitter. Regularly meditation can help instill a desire within you to pull on the brakes and truly savor whatever it is that you’re eating.

What’s more, some research indicates that going vegan may be a mood booster and enhance your energy levels —two boons for riding the storms of daily life and helping you adopt a more mindful ethos for all that you do.

3. Meditating regularly may help you curb junk food cravings.

Close your eyes and picture this: You’re feeling really stressed about something. What do you want to eat? We’re guessing you’ll pass on the carrots and hummus in favor of the french fries and ice cream. In fact, one 2017 review even found that mindfulness reduces reactivity to food temptations in daily life.

And as we all know from personal experience, hankerings for bad-for-you nosh is often stirred up by our feelings, whether we’re angry, sad, anxious, or even particularly ecstatic. Tapping into your mindfulness practice and doing a guided meditation or even lacing up for a meditative walk around your block can help make you realize you weren’t really hungry for that loaded burrito after all. 

So there you have it, eat vegan, meditate, and be merry, dear readers. Looking for some inspiration to get started with a meditation practice? These seven products help even the most active or anxious to relax and meditate.

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