The word “vegan” is gaining popularity in the world. Celebrities, influencers, and that one health-buff friend you look up to have tried it even just once in their lives. It’s a movement that has grown 400% in the last 12 years.
Sometimes, it can leave you with negative impressions of people who are either holier-than-thou meat haters or high maintenance wannabe influencers. Being vegan can also be quite pricey since it doesn’t only affect our food, but other aspects of our lives. When you discover the benefits though, you will realize that it is a big improvement for your life.
Let’s find out why the vegan movement is spreading like wildfire all over the world!
How Being Vegan Affects Me
People have their reasons for becoming vegan. Some do it for health or beauty, while others do it for the environment. It is a drastic change to our lifestyle and it can be tough especially since humans have evolved to be omnivores.
However, it is a change for the better.
As kids, we were taught the more vegetables we eat the healthier we become. Well, it’s only obvious that a plant-based diet will make us healthy on a whole new level! Some of the benefits of following a vegan diet include:
Reasons to Switch to a Plant Based Diet
- It is rich in nutrients
Vegan diets contain more fiber, antioxidants, potassium, folate, and magnesium as well as vitamins A, C, and E. This is because you will be consuming more nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain to supplement the missing meat and dairy.
You must be careful though. A poorly planned vegan diet can result in insufficient amounts of iron and vitamin B12.
- It can help you lose weight
This is fairly obvious. Some people switch to a vegan diet in the hopes of having a supermodel body. Well, it is true, vegans tend to be thinner and have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) compared to those who aren’t.
A vegan diet also has more effect on weight loss than calorie-restricted diets. That means that on a vegan diet you can eat whenever you are hungry and still lose more weight than those who follow intermittent fasting or calorie limits.
- It may protect you against certain diseases
Research suggests that eating legumes can lower your risk of contracting colorectal cancer by 18%. Eating at least seven portions of fruits and vegetables a day can also lower your risk of dying from cancer to 15%.
Vegan diets rely on these sources of nourishment including not only for food but also for vitamin supplements.
- Plant based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease
Studies have shown that vegan diets are effective at reducing LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Vegans also have a 75% lower chance of developing high blood pressure.
So, you can see that it is good for your health. But did you know that having a vegan diet is great for the environment too?
How Being Vegan Affects the Planet
We don’t realize the cost industrialized animal farming has on the environment while we are munching on steaks and burgers is . According to the UN, farmed livestock accounts for 14.5% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. That is more than all the modes of transportation combined.
Raising livestock also uses a lot of energy. This is due to a wide range of factors including that it takes a long time to raise the animals, they consume a lot of food, and the meat products must be shipped and refrigerated. Plant-based products can be raised at 8 times less energy cost.
They also need to be fed crops that could be used for humans in poorer countries. Roughly 700 million tons of food go to feeding livestock each year.
What Food Should I Eat to Have a Healthy Vegan Diet?
It is important to remember that a poorly planned vegan diet can be just as harmful to your health as a regular diet. It is especially important with the onslaught of COVID 19 and the start of the Winter season that we keep our immune systems strong.
So, how can we do this with a plant-based diet?
You need to make sure you get enough vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Iodine, and Omega 3. Though they can also be derived from vegan dietary supplements, you can also eat more beans, pulses, nuts, and seeds to provide these nutrients.
Choline, which is usually found in egg yolks, can also be absorbed by eating soy, peanuts, quinoa, and leafy vegetables.
One thing we need to remember about being vegan is that it not only entails the food you eat but everything else about your lifestyle; even the dietary supplements you take.
Are There Vegan Supplements? How Can I Find Them?
Like any diet, no matter how much we try to get nutrients from the food we eat, we may still need to take supplements to give us the right number of nutrients we need. What are these supplements and how do we know if they are vegan-friendly?
- Omega 3 fatty acids
There are two kinds of omega 3 and those are Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Long-chain omega 3 fatty acids. As stated by https://omvits.com/, it is a vitamin that originates from fatty fish. Vegans should take 200 to 300 mg per day and you can get this by taking algae oil. You can also get it from plant substitutes like soy, chia seeds, or flax.
- Vitamin B-12
Vegans have a higher risk of Vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can look for supplements made of mushrooms grown in B-12 rich soil, nori, or spirulina as substitutes.
This is crucial for a healthy thyroid. Iodized salt or supplements made of seaweed can give you the Iodine you need.
It is used to make new DNA and red blood cells. There are two types of iron, heme and non-heme. The latter can be found in plant products and vegans are recommended to take 1.8 times the normal dosage. Plant milk, beans, and peas can be a great source of non-heme iron.
A vegan lifestyle is getting more and more common especially when people see the benefits. Like any other diet, even the common omnivorous, it must be well planned and balanced to make sure you get the right nutrients.
The hardest nutrients to come by are those that come from animals like the ones mentioned above. However, technology has given us plant-based substitutes that work just as well. Maybe even better. With proper discipline, you can have a healthy and fulfilling vegan lifestyle.