“Vegetarian” is a very popular type of diet, consisting of everything BUT meat. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarians, do not consume ANY animal products including eggs, dairy and even their cosmetics. If you are an animal lover, or just want to limit animal products, here is how to follow a vegan diet!
Why People Choose Vegan
Most people that become vegan do so because ethically they feel it is right. Not only for the sake of the lives of animals, but also because of the conditions they are raised in before being shelved. “I Love Vegan” breaks it down in these ways:
Adopting a Vegan Lifestyle:
♦ Animal welfare issues and the objection to using animals as commodities
♦ Environmental issues directly associated with animal agriculture (such as air pollution and contaminated drainage from factory farming into water supplies) and to help lessen our overconsumption of resources including land, water and fossil fuels
♦ Adopting veganism is a part of the solution to world hunger by more efficiently using our planet’s food resources
♦ Health issues with animal products
Becoming vegan is based on an individual’s moral code. Not everyone is passionate about limiting animal usage, while some people are. And just because you aren’t in it for the safety of animals, sometimes consuming too much poorly processed meat can be harmful to our bodies.
Benefits of A Vegan Diet
As of late there have been a lot of people joining the Vegan community. I am not sure if it is for the sake of wanted to save animals, or if they think it is the next best diet to lose weight. Whatever the reason may be, there are benefits of following a vegan approach.
A few health reasons to go vegan include:
⇒ Improved gut health
⇒ Increased intake of antioxidants and enzymes because of the consumption of raw vegetables (which can fight free radicals and decrease inflammation)
⇒ Can reduce risk of chronic disease (if the correct kinds of foods were being eaten such as fruits/vegetables)
⇒ Improve kidney function
⇒ Decrease allergy symptoms
⇒ Decrease chronic migraines
Environmental/Other benefits of Vegan Lifestyle:
⇒ Less air pollution
⇒ Less stress on natural resources
⇒ Better hair/skin/nail health
⇒ Less breath/body odor
A big culprit of a lot of these benefits is the elimination of dairy. It is a product that has become so processed (and the environment of the animals has a huge part in quality of products) our bodies aren’t sure how to use it anymore. Cutting dairy alone can reduce PMS symptoms, clear skin, reduce anxiety, reduce headaches etc.
Lots of great benefits for following a vegan lifestyle. Not only in the food department, but also cosmetics. A lot of companies that test on animals also use harsh chemicals. If they need to test their products on animals to make sure they are “safe”, we probably don’t want them on our bodies, either!
Health Risks of A Vegan Diet
Meat has been consumed by people for thousands of years, and they never had any health complications. Granted, there was no processing involved in their food besides putting it over a fire, there are still some risks involved with cutting out all animal products.
⇒ Unable to reach required protein amounts (but can be met but combining two incomplete proteins)
⇒ Insufficient amounts of omega-3s (but can take a DHA supplement)
⇒ B-12 deficiency
⇒ Low levels of iron, zinc, iodine
⇒ Overconsumption of grains
⇒ Feelings of exhaustion and fatigue
Most any diet is going to have its downfalls. Proper research and then supplementation can help combat any of the above problems. Being deficient in any vitamin/mineral can be harmful to the body, so make sure you are getting adequate amounts.
Foods you Can Eat on Vegan Diet
Here is a beginners list of foods to eat on a vegan diet:
- Soy products
- Dark Chocolate
- Non-dairy milk/cheese/yogurt
Foods/Products to Avoid on Vegan Diet
- Bee products (honey, bee pollen)
- Natural flavorings
- Beer and wine
- Sweets and candy
And if you are going FULL vegan lifestyle, and not just diet, you will need to remove all cosmetics/products that are tested on animals, have animal sources in them, or are animals are harmed in the making of them.
Is a Vegan Lifestyle Expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. The average person spends $4-$20/lb on meat. If you replace that with $1/lb beans or vegetables it will be a lot cheaper. Meat is one of the most expensive parts of our diet. With that being said, most people that follow a vegan diet slowly start to take on more like organic, farm fresh, local etc. The pickier you become about where your food is from or how it is produced, the more expensive it will be.
In terms of products and cosmetics, it will be more expensive. All-natural products, or cruelty free, are usually more expensive than the average brand. And again it goes deeper into them wanting to support local small business’ or companies that donate/give back. It’s all based on how serious you plan on getting and how important your external, and internal, health are to you.
Another diet, lifestyle, overview in the books! As I said, there have been quite a few people indulging in the vegan diet. Whether it be to save the animals/environment, or to reap the health benefits, it has been proven to be a great diet. Not all those who follow a vegan diet follow a vegan lifestyle, but to each their own. A vegan diet follower obviously just removes animal products from their diet, where as a vegan lifestyle’er removes animal products from their diet AND any products they use. Either way, decreasing the consumption of animal products could be beneficial for you! If you think you want to try a new diet, but aren’t sure where to start, visit our blog on the NEWEST diet trends!
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