What is the Vegan Lifestyle?
Veganism is a step further from a vegetarian lifestyle. This lifestyle choice is practiced by people called vegans, who avoid anything to do with animal cruelty.
They would choose not to eat food from an animal source including animal by-products such as egg, milk, and cheese.
The vegan lifestyle doesn’t only include a strict animal free diet, it also includes avoiding personal care and household products that have been tested on animals and any animal derived ingredients, such as beewax. Vegans will also avoid certain clothing with animal furs, wool and leather.
The Vegan Diet
Vegans enjoy a diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits, seeds, whole grains, legumes, beans and other types of meat substitutes. So sometimes you will see things like vegan hot dogs, vegan cheese, mock prawns, mock fish, tofu turkey, rice milk etc.
Since the vegan diet consists mainly of plant-based foods, tofu, soy, and other imitation meats, vegans need to make sure they are eating a wide variety of foods to avoid deficiencies in protein, iron, Vit B12 and omega-3 acids.
Is The Vegan Diet Healthy?
Protein is produced by building blocks called essential amino acids. Protein is important for producing muscles, enzymes, hair, skin, nails etc.
They are also responsible for a plethora of biological activities such as replicating DNA, enzyme reactions, and transportation of molecules from one place to another.
Protein is not stored in the body, therefore, needs to be consumed on a daily basis.
Meat is a great source of protein as it contains all the essential amino acids. So for meat eaters, it’s very easy to get enough protein in their diet.
For plant foods, they have varying amounts of protein. Most plant foods are usually low in one or more essential amino acids. This is called “incomplete protein”.
For vegans to stay healthy and have “complete protein”, they need to eat a wide variety of plant foods so that the body can combine different sources of protein together.
For example, grains are usually low in the amino acid, lysine (Lys), but high in methionine (Met). Legumes are low in methionine (Met) and tryptophan (Trp), but high in lysine (Lys). So why not eat the grains and legumes together to make “complete protein”?
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Narelle Chenery, the founder of Miessence, talks about protein and how much we need as a rough guide. Watch the video below and find out how you can complete it.
Meat is the only source that contains Vit B12, which is necessary for production of red blood cells and DNA. So vegans who stick to a strict plant diet need to take Vit B12 supplements.
Iron is required for the production of haemoglobin to supply oxygen to the body. These can be found in deep leafy green vegetables, prunes, lentils, and soybeans. Absorption of iron is improved with Vitamin C, so it’s a good idea to squeeze some lemon juice over your food.
These are usually found in fish. But for vegans, good food sources include linseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
Benefits Of Vegan Diet
I once walked into a resturant called Loving Hut, which specialized in vegan meals, and this board was hung on the wall so I took a picture. You may not be able to read it clearly, so I will just list some of the benefits below.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- Reduces Type 2 diabetes
- Prevents Stroke Conditions
- Reverses Heart Disease Risk 50%
- Reduces Heart Surgery Risk 50%
- Prevents Many Forms Of Cancer
- Prevents Obesity
- Reduces Infertility Risk
- Stronger Immune System
- Increases Life Expectancy Up To 15 Years
- Higher IQ
- Prevents Costly Disease Outbreak (mad cow disease, E.coli, Foot and Mouth Disease, Bird Flu etc)
- Prevents Rapid Breeding Of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs & Other Dangerous Bacteria Strains
It’s great that there are people who practice veganism to improve their health and also stand against animal cruelty. But it is a lifestyle choice!
Most people would find avoiding ALL animal products very hard to do. It is actually easier to become vegetarian than vegan.
If a person decides that going vegan is the right decision for themselves, then they just need to make sure that their diet provides all the necessary nutrients that are required to stay healthy.
Being vegan does have some really good benefits for yourself and also for the environment.