There are so many diets and regimes out there in our society that we are all pretty much aware of what a diet consists of by just hearing its name. But, all of a sudden there seems to be a new trend where people are suddenly going vegan. Some people claim it to be the reason why they lost tons of weight and others say that it has helped improve their skin. What is exactly a vegan? What foods are considered vegan? How does veganism affect our health?
Definition of Veganism
Veganism is a diet that excludes out all animal products such as meats, dairy products, eggs, and other animal derived products. A vegan is someone who follows this diet or lives this lifestyle where they also avoid any other products that are tested on animals such as cosmetics, house hold products, materials, and even leather or fur.
So you’ve decided to go vegan and do not know what exactly is considered vegan and you feel like you are basically going to starve to death. A vegan diet includes all grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and beans. There are an infinite amount of foods and meals that can be made out of these simple yet convenient ingredients. There are also vegan versions of the many foods that you must like such as ice cream, pizza, cheese, mayonnaise, etc. Thanks to the Internet and this new trend, there are many websites and blogs that now feature an unlimited amount of vegan recipes and how you can make vegan substitutes even at home.
Veganism & Health
If you know or heard of someone that has gone vegan then they probably did it for one or two or even three reasons. However, going vegan to lose weight should not be one of them! This is one of many nutritional myths! Vegan food includes lots of healthy fats and carbohydrates, but an abundant amount of it can actually make you gain weight.
“Going vegan solely for weight loss can backfire, big time. If you aren’t vigilant with a vegan diet, it’s easy to lack in vital nutrients, vitamins, and proteins, which give you energy and help keep your metabolism stoked. Many first-time vegans may also find themselves reaching for more processed foods like vegan cookies, chips, or even ‘ice cream’ more often with such a restricted diet, and many end up packing on the pounds instead.”
In this case, think kilograms. Vegans have to be careful and make sure they are getting enough nutrients everyday. It is sometimes necessary to take some vitamin supplements to make up for the lack of nutrients. A vegan diet may help reverse Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) that leads to strokes and heart attacks. Vegans also live on average 6-10 years longer than their meat- eating friends. Some studies have shown that going vegan reduced the risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and mortality rates.
“The consumption of animal fats and proteins has been linked to heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and a number of other debilitating conditions (cows’ milk contains ideal amounts of fat and protein for young calves, but far too much for humans). Eggs are higher in cholesterol than any other food, making them a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease. The American Dietetic Association reports that vegetarian/vegan diets are associated with reduced risks for all of these conditions.”
To Vegan or Not to Vegan?
In conclusion, going vegan doesn’t necessarily guarantee a weight loss but it might help you get your health back on track. You definitely will consume less junk food that might be chemically processed and does affect our health negatively. There are still many on going debates as to how the vegan diet or lifestyle lacks certain nutrients and as to what other benefits do we receive from going vegan.