Over time, the diet has become a weight-loss trend for some people, among other things; but as the good old saying goes, what works for one person might not work for another. The vegan diet has also gone through a number of definitions, with diet enthusiasts divided over who can claim to be a true vegan, a half vegan and not a vegan at all. All these debates originate from not only what you eat, but also what you wear and what one uses at home.
A number of past and recent researches around the world have shown that veganism is one of the healthiest dietary lifestyles if followed properly; but it can also be one of the unhealthiest diets if not done in the right way, especially when it comes to unskilled and new vegans.
So, what is a Vegan diet and who can be called a vegan? A Vegan diet is a strict type of vegetarianism whereby you avoid all animal based products including meats, milk, dairy products, eggs, animal fat and any food made with animal products. Basically, your food is based mainly on fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Health benefits of a vegan diet
Although the studies on the vegan diet keep going to and fro, the health benefits of this diet are provided by the high vitamins and minerals; such as vitamins C and E, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, high phytochemicals, lower fat; specifically saturated fat, and high fiber content.
The diet is associated with lower obesity, heart diseases, cholesterol, blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and some cancers. Several studies also link vegetarianism and veganism to longevity of life.
But with all the health benefits that veganism can provide to people, there are some dietary restrictions that pose a risk due to some nutritional deficiencies such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
The above nutrients are specifically important for bone and teeth health, decreasing osteoporosis risk, and blood health; decreasing anemia and making healthy red blood cells, among other health conditions and the best absorption and sources of these vitamins and minerals come from animal products, although there are non-animal sources that can still be found.
For instance, the main good source of calcium and vitamin D is dairy products, although we can still find them in some vegetables such as broccoli and fortified foods like cereals, fortified soy milk, fortified juice etc. Vitamin D can easily be sourced through exposure to the sun for 10-15 minutes with 70 per cent body exposure during non-peak heats.
So all in all, going Vegan is not that bad. But at the end of the day, it is always a person’s choice of what he or she wants to follow. And if it’s non-animal products you want going inside your body, then that’s what you will have. But, our advice to you would be to consult a qualified dietitian before embarking on this journey.