For those tired of eating red meat and looking for lifestyle change then Vegan Diet is the right option for them. Today more and more and more people are opting for lifestyle change by choosing a vegan diet. Many are opting for this lifestyle change due to the emergence of many illnesses and diseases. The spiralling healthcare cost has led many to choose a better diet to prevent illnesses. A healthier and fitter life is better than exhausting your savings on costly medicines and hospital visits.
More and more people are opting for a Vegan Diet. What is a Vegan Diet? People who follow a vegan diet do not eat any animal-based food, which includes diary products, eggs etc. People who opt for a vegan diet do not make use of anything made with animal products: Silk, wool, fur, honey, leather, down, or even any products tested on animals. It is a very restrictive lifestyle. Most who follow these values believe it to be a very healthy diet and a very principled way to live.
What Consists of Vegan Food?
If you are wondering what you could eat if you exempt meat, diary, fish etc from daily intake. Well you will be surprised to know that there a wide range of food that can make up for the animal products you miss. When following a vegan diet plan Fresh fruits vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes become bulk of your diet. For many who still crave for their meat, today you will find many alternative plant-based meats available . There are vegan-processed foods in the form of soy hot dogs, cheeses, desserts, etc. These have the texture of meat and dairy cheese.
Do not think vegan food is just boiled vegetables nor is it raw salads making vegan raw diet. Vegan meal can be as interesting you make it to be. You can have veggie burgers, pancakes, pizzas, tacos, pastas, sandwiches, French toasts, stir-fries, cookies, non-diary ice creams, desserts etc. All you need to be a little creative and experimental to cook up tasty vegan meal.
Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian Diet
Most confuse a vegan diet plan with a vegetarian diet. People following a vegetarian diet eat only plant based food but do include diary and some animal products like milk, cheese, honey etc. Many vegetarian include egg in their diet plan too. Today the rise of lifestyle diseases have resulted in many people giving up meat and turn vegetarian. Turning vegetarian is not all that difficult as there is a wide range of food to choose from. Today many doctors prescribe a vegetarian diet plan for the prevention and treatment of various kinds of diseases.
Following a vegan lifestyle is much easier than one thinks. A gradual increase of fruits and vegetable in your daily diet can help you cut down on your meat. When one really craves for meat, you can have the vegan-processed food as meat substitute.
Staples of a Vegan Diet
A well-balanced vegan diet plan is high in fiber and complex carbohydrate and low in saturated fat. A well-balanced vegetarian diet should include:
Fruits and Vegetables
You should include all varieties of vegetables and fruits in your diet. An individual is recommended to have about 5 servings of vegetables and fruits in a day as they contain minerals and nutrients required by the body. These vegetables and fruits can be consumed in any form be it raw, cooked or as juice.
Grain & cereals
Whole grains, cereals, brown rice, muesli, oats, barley etc should be included in your diet as they are highly nutritious with all the essential carbs, zinc, iron that is required as the daily dose. Breads, pasta, cereals made with whole grains should be preferred.
Legumes, Nuts and Seeds
Different kinds of nuts, seeds and legumes are essential to your diet. Chickpeas, Kideny beans, Soya beans, lentils like black gram, green gram etc and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, peanuts etc. They are a very good source of iron, carbohydrate, fatty acids and healthy fats. They help to reduce cholesterol and also has a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids to keep us healthy.
The Pros of a Vegan Diet
Yes, it is true that a vegan lifestyle is healthy as one is consuming only plant based food. Many prefer raw vegan food, as they believe that cooking can destroy the nutrients in the food. Vegetables and fruits have all kinds of minerals and nutrients essential for the body. They are rich resource of fibre and have good measure of antioxidants in them. A dietician would tell you to eat across the rainbow. That is you need to eat vegetables and fruits in all the colour.
Low in calories
The vegan food is low in calories so it is easier for one to shed all the unwanted fat and weight from the body. To lose weights opt for rich water content fruits and vegetables. Individuals on a vegan diet have a low body mass and they also do not put on weight, as they grow older unlike people who eat meat.
A vegan diet plan is high in fibre and complex a carbohydrate, which in turn helps to, boost the metabolism. This helps to burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight. Vegans have a lower BMI than individuals who eat meat. Thus, it helps to fight obesity and its related diseases.
One tends to eat lesser portion of a vegan meal, as the stomach gets fuller faster than on a meat-based meal. As the food is fibre rich, it helps to keep fuller for a longer period.
People on vegan diet have lesser incidences of diseases. Life style diseases like blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, strokes etc are more widespread in people who eat meat. It has been found that there is a 12% reduction in all cause mortality on a plant-based diet.
Better Cholesterol Level
Research says that people on a vegan diet have better cholesterol levels. The levels of LDL level can be controlled with vegan diet. The LDL is the main reason of the clogging of arteries in individuals.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Studies prove that persons on vegan diet have lesser risks of developing cancer in contrast to meat eating individuals.
Vegan diet boosts the immunity of the individual. They are less likely to fall sick or catch bacterial infections.
Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
It has been noted that a vegan diet helps to reduces symptoms of arthritis. It helps to ease the pain and improve the condition.
The energy levels of individuals on a vegan diet are much higher as compared to others. These individuals are more active. Consuming a large amount of meat or diary product can make one lethargic.
A vegan diet is especially beneficial to women suffering from PMS. The symptoms are less severe as they experience no bloating or cramps.
Better Skin and Hair
Most people on a vegan diet have better skin and hair. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables, nut, etc add to glow of the skin and hair.
A vegan food is full of fruits, vegetables and cereal thus is high fibre. It this helps to prevent constipation, prevent stomach bloating and regulate bowel movement. There is a reduced risk of colon cancer with the fibre rich vegan diet plan.
Cons of Vegan Diet
Completely giving up meat and going on a vegan diet can be a radical change for many. It may not be very easy to stick to such a diet with constant craving. It can be quite difficult to stick on to the diet. A strict determination and will help to make a lifestyle change to a vegan diet.
Interfere with Medical Condition
Sometimes switching on to a vegan diet can interfere with an existing medical condition. Therefore, it is always better to consult a doctor before making the change.
Loss of Nutrients and Minerals
One of the most vociferous criticisms against vegan diet is that the vegan diet is insufficient in the nutrients and minerals required by the body. They lack in vitamin B12. This is an essential vitamin mainly found in animal meat. Vegan dieters are also low on calcium and vitamin D, as they do not consume dairy products. This can result in micronutrient deficiencies. Lack of calcium can result in weaker bones and bone fractures. It can lead to osteoporosis. These vitamins and nutrients are required to keep our brain healthy.
Individuals on Vegan diet may lack in iodine, which is important for the proper functioning of the Thyroid. Fish is a good source of iodine for meat eaters however, for vegan dieter will need to fortify their food iodine supplement. Iodized salt are available in the market now.
Veganism leads to iron deficiency because body absorbs 15% to 35% of the iron in meat, while only 2 to 20% from plant based source.
Lack of Omega-3 Fatty acids
A vegan meal lacks in Omega-3 fatty acids. This is usually found in fish. Vegan individuals have to consume flax seeds to supplement Omega3 in their diet.
Difficulty in Eating Out
Not many restaurants across the world offer vegan food. There are many vegetarian places to dine in but vegan eat-outs are still a scarcity.
Following a vegan lifestyle is not as easy as one thinks, especially if one is an enthusiastic meat eater. Many leave eating meat and fish due to health reasons or for spiritual or ethical association. Many believe that turning veganism can help harmonise the environment.
If one can truly follow the vegan diet plan and turn veganism then it is a good option to stay healthy and fit. A little creativity and time ensures that you can enjoy a gourmet meal on vegan food. The lack of nutrient sand minerals can be supplemented by various sources to follow a healthy diet. Choose food with care and attention so that you get all the nutrient required by the body. Many celebrities have turned vegan like Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Alicia Silverstone, Ellen DeGeneres, etc.
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