One of the trending diets of 2013 is veganism. As an extension of the popular vegetarianism, veganism is a dietary practice and lifestyle that not only prohibits meats but also dairy and eggs. While most people who choose to be vegans do so to protect animals and the environment, other people become vegans to lose weight and improve overall health.
“According to research published in the British Medical Journal, obesity rates are the lowest among vegans, as are rates of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure” (1). Furthermore, the American Dietetic Association concludes that “well-planned” vegetarian and vegan diets can “be healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Such diets are appropriate even during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes” (2).
While some may be born into veganism or adopt it quickly later in life, it is a difficult lifestyle to adjust to if you’ve been eating meat your entire life. Veganism is a very restrictive diet, and it is extremely difficult to quit eating meat cold turkey. This practice requires an almost complete lifestyle change that not only affects meal planning and grocery shopping, but also limits eating options outside of the home. Since the majority of the world are meat eaters, there may not be too many menus that cater to a vegan diet.
Author and founder of Vegan Outreach, Jack Norris, R.D., says, “I tell people to avoid obviously animal-based items, but don’t quibble over every ingredient. You don’t need to quiz the wait staff about whether there’s egg in the pastas or traces of dairy in the dinner rolls” (1). Norris also suggests, “the best way to approach [veganism] isn’t by cutting things out, but by adding them. First, make sure you include ample plant foods at each meal, especially ones in high protein such as [meat substitutes], beans, falafel, and nuts” (1).
Diets like vegetarianism and veganism have some nutritional disadvantages due to the fact that most people get their daily fix of protein, iron, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamin B12 from mostly animal products. To ensure adequate protein intake on a vegan diet, Norris suggests, “eating a variety of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and grains” (1). Besides vegetables and fruits, there are a numerous amount of supplements and vitamins available.
If you’re interested in veganism but are afraid it’s too restrictive, you can consider some of the alternatives such as:
Lacto vegetarian – dairy products are allowed
Ovo vegetarian – eggs are allowed
Lacto-ovo vegetarian – dairy products and eggs are allowed
Pollotarian – poultry and fowl are allowed
Pescatarian – fish and seafood are allowed
More information and recipes can be found at http://bit.ly/XtFaE0
1. Cander, Chris. “The Top Six Diets of 2013.” Men’s Fitness. 01 2013: 76-78. Print.
2. Derr, Mary. “Pros and Cons of a Vegetarian Diet.”Livestrong.com. (2011): n. page. Web. 20 Jan. 2013. http://bit.ly/VHqc0A