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Going vegan or vegetarian may not be a new concept, but it is certainly gaining momentum. So, what is all the fuss about?
Well, a quiet revolution has been happening – especially among millennials – and the interesting thing about the plant-based way of living is that it is not a new trend at all. Vegetarian diets have reportedly been around as early as 700 BC and lately, the vegan way of living is regarded as one of the fastest growing trends. Yup, interest in a totally animal-free diet is at an all-time high with celebrities like Brad Pitt, Liam Hemsworth, Beyoncé and Jay Z leading the pack.
Fact is, over-consumption of animal products is bad for us and we should all be eating more plant-based foods. Vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, game, fish and shellfish. Certain types of vegetarians also exclude eggs, dairy, and other animal by-products. A vegan diet on the other hand, can be viewed as the strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegans not only exclude animal flesh from their diet, but also dairy, eggs, as well as all animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin, honey, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin, whey, casein and some forms of vitamin D.
Truth is, there are huge environmental and health benefits associated with a largely plan-based diet. The various advantages associated with this way of eating include lower body mass index and blood pressure, as well as the reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Sounds great, right?
Here’s the question though, is it really healthy cutting certain food groups from your diet completely? Here’s what you need to know before you decide on “going green.” It is crucial to approach this way of living in a healthy way. You may have to use a little creativity to ensure that you get enough protein, calcium, iron, omega-3, and vitamin B12. You can find many of these nutrients in eggs and dairy if you’re a vegetarian, and from plant sources if you’re a vegan, but you may need a boost. Thing is, because vitamin B12 is found only in animal sources, vegans should consider taking a supplement. Also, omega-3 fatty acids are found in both fish and flax seeds, but your body doesn’t absorb the plant-based form as readily as the omega-3s from seafood. The good news is that plant-based supplements are available if your diet needs more of these heart-healthy fats.
Also, keep in mind that a plant-based diet doesn’t give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want – especially if you’re trying to control your weight. Turns out that fruit smoothies made with lashings of almond milk and a scoop or two of protein powder often pack enough calories to make them a full-size meal! So, it’s easy to over indulge and consume far more than the recommended number of calories in one meal!
So, is it necessary to go “all-or-nothing” to reap the health benefits? The golden rule for eating well is simply to increase your intake of mostly plant-based, healthy whole foods; to eat less processed foods and fewer animal products – and everyone – including the planet will be healthier.
Isn’t it time we all live a little greener… a little kinder?
Source: www.ft.com, www.health.com, www.express.co.uk, www.listland.com, vegansociety.org.za, www.theflamingvegan.com, www.theguardian.com, www.dosomething.org, www.thefader.com, www.iol.co.za, www.brandsouthafrica.ca.com, www.bigissue.org.za, www.veganfoodandliving.com, www.thesun.co.uk, goop.com, www.nbcnews.com, www.health.harvard.edu, www.globalhealthcentre.com, www.cookinglight.com, www.medicalnewstoday.com, www.jamieoliver.com, www.healthline.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.