Plant-based diets have been all the rage for several years now. You’ve probably read all about why eating real, whole foods and a diet consisting mostly of fruits and veggies is good for you.

For that reason and because I know you’re smart, I won’t recount all the benefits here. You can read more here, here, and here (and countless other articles on the interwebs) if you really want.

It’s one thing to read studies that use overly complicated concepts, but when you hear the information from a real person (that would be me) in real words, it’s easier to understand. So the focus of today’s post is some of the benefits I have personally experienced.

The first one for me is huge: I stopped counting calories. I don’t even weigh myself anymore.

I used to obsessively track my food and weight. I used to log all my workouts. That 10-minute yoga session totally burned some calories, right?

I never really learned much about nutrition in school. The main focus was always on calories. (I’m pretty sure that’s what the main focus still is.) Calories in, calories out. Move more, eat less. That’ll balance it all out.

But guess what? 

When I started eating real food, I began to notice it was really hard to overeat. I kept up the calorie counting schtick for a while just to be on the safe side.

And the friendly little app warned me that I was consuming too much sugar, too many carbs, too many calories. Stop with the excess!

Except I wasn't gaining weight.

Quite the opposite.

My body has found its natural weight, and I don’t struggle to maintain it. (If you’re into the whole vanity thing, I can totally still wear clothes from high school.)

Another game changer for me that I definitely attribute to cleaning up my diet: I don’t get sick.

I used to get sick all the time. We’re talking several colds a year. The type of flu that knocks you on your ass for at least a week. Sinus infections. Strep throat. Mono. If someone within a mile of me was sick, you better believe I caught it.

You’ll never guess what happened when I made the switch.

I barely sniffle. I don’t get flu shots anymore. I’m not all stuffed up.

And if I feel like my immune system might need a little support, I know just the right food and herbs to stop a cold in its tracks.

Speaking of tracks, I run better too.

Honestly, I’ll probably never be blazing fast. But I’ve gotten faster. And I keep getting faster. I am able to push myself and recover quickly.

I ran my best-ever mile on a plant-based diet. In my 30s.

I could barely run around the gym in high school.

Plus, what the doctors called exercise-induced asthma? Totally gone. Poof.

I started cooking to fuel my body for my workouts. 

No, I’m not the next Top Chef or Iron Chef, and I’ll probably never be on Chopped. 

But I enjoy making my own food now. Dinner used to be some sad microwaveable thing that I thought was healthy (i.e., didn’t have a lot of calories). Now it’s salads with roasted vegetables and homemade dressing, brown rice pasta with cashew cream sauce, potato and leek soup made from scratch.

Eating a plant-based diet has introduced me to so many new foods. I am inspired to cook every day, often multiple times a day.

Not to mention, I know exactly what is going in my food. Delicious and nutritious? Win win.

You know what else?

I smell better too.

(Is that weird?)

Except when I’m wearing old workout clothes. Literally, I can not shower for two or three days and still smell pretty good.

Just sayin’.

Even if you aren’t interested in smelling better (who’s weird now?), chances are you’ll experience some other totally amazing benefit from a plant-based diet or even just from upping your fruit and veggie intake.

I’m convinced. If you’re not, meet me in the alley at 5:01 p.m. Or we could just talk about it.