The term veganism is the practice of not using animal products. In this article, we will talk about the practice as it pertains to the diet, which is the elimination of any animal products. Basically, it is very strict vegetarianism, as vegans do not eat meat, cheese, eggs mayonnaise, honey, or anything that at one time was an animal. Although it is difficult to assign numbers to who are never-cheat vegans in meat-loving America, it can definitely be said that with the number of vegan cookbooks on the market that it has taken on more than a cult following.
Reasons for it becoming more popular are:
1. Greater varieties available of non-animal foods.
2. Animal Rights issues.
3. Health Benefits.
4. Star Power or people following celebrities who advocate for the diet.
5. Concern over the processing of horror stories from the meat industry.
6. A greater understanding of the concepts behind veganism.
The nutritional implications of the vegan diet extend even further than that of the vegetarian diet. If not properly planned the vegan diet can be low in vitamin D, zinc, iron, vitamins B2 and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. That is why it is imperative for anyone starting on a vegan diet plan to consult a physician and dietician. That way they can be sure the change will not bring on any unforeseen health issues. Next, the diet must be planned out so all the nutritional requirements are met. Fortunately today we have come a long way in understanding nutritional balance, and with the use of supplements, we are able to fill any gaps in nutritional deficiencies.
So if you make sure your diet is up to speed nutritionally with your vegan diet, what are the benefits? The American Dietetic Association concludes that a well-planned diet is healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may help in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, including cancer. People on a vegan diet have been tested to have lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and hypertension and type-2 diabetes as opposed to non-vegetarians. They usually have a lower body mass index and have been found to live longer. These are all excellent reasons to consider a vegan diet.
But it would be impossible to know for certain these are all cause-and-effect relationships. A person who goes on a vegan diet it can be assumed is very attuned to their diet and therefore, their health. Is that person being compared to a non-vegetarian who doesn’t give their diet a second thought? In other words, if a person maintained a diet that included lean meat, fish and animal products that were truly healthy and avoided animal products that were not healthy, how would they compare statistically to people on a vegan diet. I have not been able to find statistics that are specific to that group comparison, and without one I would hold that statistics can be deceiving.
Now keep in mind we are just talking about going on a vegan diet for health purposes, but as listed earlier there are other very valid reasons to consider this diet. And if you do pursue a vegan diet because you feel it is your best option to a healthy eating plan, we commend you for your efforts.