In the recent past, the vegan diet has become extremely popular among the masses.
Interesting, more and more people across the globe are opting to go on a vegan diet for various reasons like staying ethically & environmentally responsible, protecting animals, improving health, and so on.
When done in the right way, a vegan-friendly lifestyle can impart various health benefits, including improvement in blood sugar level, a trimmer waistline, and so on.
So, this article will serve as a detailed and complete guide for beginners to know everything about the vegan lifestyle, vegan diet, its benefits, risks, and more:
Why go vegan?
Opting for a vegan lifestyle is an excellent idea for anyone who wants to accomplish goals like weight loss, eating healthy food, safeguard animals, and more to make this world a happier place.
Those wishing to go vegan can now achieve such goals more efficiently and enjoy delicious, satisfying meals on their go-vegan journey.
Here are the top reasons why one should opt for a vegan-friendly lifestyle:
It’s a fantastic way to protect Animals on planet Earth
Each Vegan saves around 200 animals per year by opting for a vegan diet. Very few people know this fact. You can do the same by choosing to eat only plant-based foods over meat, eggs, and dairy items.
Stay Energized, Lose Weight
According to a trusted source, vegans, on average, are 20 pounds lighter than the ones who prefer meat diet. Staying Vegan helps you avoid fatty foods or excess fat as well as receive plenty of energy.
Be happier, Get Healthier
Being a vegan is also an excellent option for your health. As per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are safer than meat-eater when it comes to the development of severe health diseases like cancer, heart problems, diabetes, etc. in the body.
Staying vegan also allows one to stay healthier and be happier as they get all the necessary fibers, minerals, and plant protein – vital for a fitter body.
Contrary to Common Fallacies, Vegan Food is Delicious
Staying vegan does not demand you to avoid all your favorite food, like burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream. You need to make sure that such items are not produced using animals or doing cruelty on them. Also, as the vegan lifestyle is getting popular everywhere in the world, many companies are coming up with healthier, tastier vegan products for you to eat. You can check our RECIPES various delicious vegan recipes.
Save Planet Earth
Meat is not at all environmental-friendly, whereas vegan products are. Consuming meat or animal-based food items is one of the worst things one can do to the planet earth. Those who don’t know, opting for a vegan lifestyle is much more efficient than buying an eco-friendly car to fight against issues like climate change.
Look Sharper, Smarter
Vegans, in general, are more energetic, lively, and jollier compared to meat-eaters. The increased amount of cholesterol and saturated animal fat in your body due to the eating of meat, eggs, and dairy products hamper your goals of getting fit, sharper, and smarter.
What Is the Vegan Diet?
The philosophy of veganism revolves around avoiding or discarding all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation from all facets of life, including food, clothing, or any other purpose.
When it comes to a vegan diet, it denotes the food items that are produced solely with the help of plants (e.g., vegetables, nuts, grains, fruits, etc.) and plant compounds, according to the NHS UK.
Vegans are the ones who avoid eating food products that are coming from animals, and they choose to do so due to multiple reasons like safeguard the environment, protect animals, stay healthy, and so on.
Different Types of Vegan Diets
The most common varieties of the Vegan diet include:
Whole-food vegan diet: A variety of whole plants are used to prepare a whole food vegan diet. The examples include fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc.
Raw-food vegan diet: The use of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and various plant foods cooked below the temperature of 48’ C (118’ F) makes a raw-food vegan diet.
80/10/10: Raw fruits and soft greens-based raw-food vegan diet is popularly known as The 80/10/10 diet or low-fat, raw-food vegan diet. Such a diet has a very less amount of fat-rich plants (e.g., avocados, nuts, etc.) in it.
Raw till 4: The 80/10/10 and starch solution mostly inspires this particular low-fat vegan diet. Such a raw food diet can be consumed until 4 p.m. with a further option of a cooked plant-based meal for dinner.
The thrive diet: This particular diet comprises of raw-food items. Followers of this diet are interested in eating plant-based, whole foods that are cooked at low temperatures.
Junk-food vegan diet: Whole plant foods are generally avoided while preparing junk-food based vegan items as they are heavy with meat, cheese, vegan desserts, fries, etc.
Benefits of a Vegan Diet
1. A Vegan Diet has Many Richer Nutrients
When you opt for a vegan lifestyle, you eliminate meat and animal products, which means you have to rely on other foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. to meet your body’s micronutrient intake.
Since these foods make up a larger proportion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can contribute to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients.
There’s a common misconception that following a vegan lifestyle may reduce the desired amount of micronutrients from your body, which is entirely false.
Various health studies (1, 2, 3) in the past have shown that eating a vegan diet enables humans to get more fiber, antioxidants, and effective plant compounds in their body compared to animal-based diets.
Although not all vegan diets are capable of offering essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium for your body, you can always opt for healthy substitutes among the vegan food items. Hence, you should always focus on preparing your vegan diet with nutrient-rich whole plants and fortified foods.
To fulfill your body’s micronutrient and protein needs, you can also opt for good quality vegan protein powder or supplements like Vegan Pro protein available in the market today. Vegan Pro is a purely plant-based protein powder that helps you stay fuller for a longer period, fulfill your body’s micronutrient needs while keeping it in a healthy state.
2. Lose Excess Body Weight Easily
Switching to a vegan diet is an excellent option for you if looking to shed some extra body weight, resulting in weight loss.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels, Improve Kidney Functioning
The Vegan diet is highly beneficial in terms of reducing the blood sugar level and preventing the development of type 2 diabetes in our body.
The past health study (1, 2, 3) results also confirm this fact where research participants eating vegan products were found to high insulin sensitivity, low blog sugar level, and lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. A Vegan Diet Offer Relief from Certain Cancers
One-third of cancers can be easily avoided by keeping certain lifestyle factors under your check, including your diet, according to the World Health Organization.
For example, eating legumes regularly is a good way to avoid the risk of getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer by about 9–18%, according to a health study.
Similarly, a health research study also suggests that eating fresh fruits and vegetables also enables humans to minimize the risk of dying from cancer by up to 15%.
As vegans eat more legumes, fruit, and vegetables compared to non-vegans, a review of 96 different health research studies also found that vegans have a 15% lower risk of developing or dying from cancer.
Vegan diets are also free from dairy, smoked or processed meats or meats cooked at high temperatures, all of which increase the possibility of risk of prostate cancer.
5. Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
Vegan diets generally include legumes, fiber, vegetables in a good amount, all of which are very effective in reducing the risk of heart disease among humans.
All such items are eaten in large amounts in well-planned vegan diets.
Various health studies (1, 2) on the vegan population also found that studies comparing vegans to vegetarians and meat-eaters, they have a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Vegan diets are beneficial in terms of lowering blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol level in the human body, all of which reduces the risk of heart disease.
6. A Vegan Diet Offer Relief from the Arthritis Pain
According to past health studies (1, 2), a vegan diet is also beneficial for people suffering from various types of arthritis. The studies had found that the vegan population involved in the research had seen a greater improvement from symptoms like pain, morning stiffness, and joint swelling when they continued their omnivorous diet.
How to get the Right Nutrition from the vegan diet?
During pregnancy and when breastfeeding, women who follow a vegan diet need to make sure they get enough vitamins and minerals for their child to develop healthily.
Having a proper diet plan along with an understanding of what makes up a healthy balanced vegan diet is vital to meet your body’s nutrient needs.
One should not forget to add essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 in their daily meals while staying on a vegan diet.
Those who are also looking to build some lean muscle mass and stay healthy can also opt for high-quality vegan protein powder like Vegan Pro, available in the market.
Good Quality and trusted vegan protein powders like Vegan Pro can help you meet your body’s protein as well as other micronutrient needs while giving you a right amount of energy to achieve your daily fitness goals.
Foods Vegans Should Consider To Add To Their Meals
Legumes: Food items like beans, lentils, and peas are a good source of many essential nutrients for our body.
Nuts and nut butter: Unblanched and unroasted varieties of such items are very good for a vegan to get a good amount of iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E for their body.
Calcium-enabled plants: Eating such items helps vegans achieve their body’s daily calcium needs.
Whole grains, cereals, and pseudocereals: Eating these items is a good option for vegans to get iron, B-vitamins, complex carbs, fiber, and several minerals essential for their body.
Fruits and vegetables: Simply put, eating fruits and vegetables is vital for vegans to meet their body’s micronutrient needs.
Algae: To get complete protein and iodine for the body, vegans should opt for spirulina and chlorella. To get it, they can also opt for high-quality supplement powders like Pure Spirulina.
Vegan Diet Risks and How to Minimize Them
Favoring a well-planned diet that limits processed foods and replaces them with nutrient-rich ones instead is essential for everyone, not only vegans.
That said, those following poorly planned vegan diets are particularly at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies.
Lack of Essential Micronutrients in Body: Vegans have a very high chance of having inadequate blood levels of vitamin B12, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, and long-chain omega-3s in their bodies. The genetic makeup and the composition of the human body’s gut bacteria also influence its ability to derive the nutrients you need from a vegan diet. To overcome this, one should limit the consumption of processed vegan foods and opt for nutrient-dense foods.
Supplements Vegan Can Consider to FulFil their Body’s Micronutrient Needs
Nutrient-rich or fortified foods are vital for our body, which vegans are often unable to take through their diet:
Here are some of the supplements that vegans should consider:
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is the most vital supplement for vegans as it helps in metabolizing proteins, the formation of red blood cells, and supporting a healthy nervous system. A limited number of vegan sources are available to get this vitamin. Hence, vitamin B12 supplements should be taken by vegans.
Iodine: Vegans should add 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt to their diet or look for some right quality supplements.
Calcium: Vegans should take 500 mg or less dose of calcium through some right quality supplements. When taking iron or zinc supplements, this quantity should be further reduced.
Zinc: Taken in zinc gluconate or zinc citrate forms. Not to be taken at the same time as calcium supplements (64).
EPA and DHA: Both can be easily obtained from algae oil.
Vegan Protein: For fitness-loving vegan population, who love to stay energized, active and healthy can opt for a high-quality organic supplement powder to meet their body’s protein, micronutrient needs and achieve their daily fitness goals.