The Vegan Diet as a Healthy, Environmentally-Conscious Lifestyle
The Vegan Diet emphasizes the importance of plant-based food, including fruits and vegetables, seeds, roots, herbs and spices, and nuts. The menu excludes animal-based food such as meat, dairies, and eggs.
Different Versions of the Diet
The term vegan was created by the cofounder of the British Vegan Society David Watson. Originally, it was used to describe vegetarians who didnít eat dairy products. There are different versions such as raw foodism, fruitarianism, hipster and hippie vegans, and others. Fruitarians, for example, consume only plant-based food that falls from trees and other plants. Raw foodists consume only unprocessed and uncooked products as well as wild and organic foods, roots, seeds, and nuts. Hipster and environmental vegans refuse to eat animal-based products out of concern for the environment. They often grow their own food to make sure it is free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. There are other versions such as PETA, Jacked, New, and Junk Food Vegans, as well as those that are known as the Vegan Police.
Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Whether alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed depends on the drink. Some manufacturers add shellac and gelatin to drinks. Gelatin, for example, is made from collagen. This is a type of protein that is derived from animal skin. Shellac is a type of resin that is produced by the lac bug. This ingredient is often added as a wine-finishing product. Other animal-based substances include egg albumen, chitosan, and casein. Casein is a milk-derived ingredient. The list of vegan-friendly ingredients includes molasses and cocoa butter which are plant-based. Those who drink alcohol should opt for vegan wine and beer.
Vegan Alternatives to Animal-based Products
There are plenty of substitutes to dairies, meat, and eggs. You can have almond, soy, or rice milk as a substitute to dairy products. Tofu is made from soy milk and offers health benefits. It is nutrient-rich and affordable and supplies protein and calcium. Nama Shoyu is a type of soy sauce that is commonly used in the raw food cuisine. It is often added to sauces, salad dressings, soup stocks, and dipping sauces.
Benefits of Going Vegan
According to nutrition experts, vegans are at a reduced risk for different health problems such as beast cancer, cardiovascular problems, and high blood pressure. The risk for rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and some types of cancer is also lower. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that people who consume processed and red meat face a higher risk of cancer and heart disease than those who eat meat occasionally. The risk of dying is also higher. Another study published in Food Technology has revealed that people on a vegan diet are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Plant-based foods reduce the genetic propensity to serious conditions, even cancer.
Livestock Farming and Animal Slaughter
There are other benefits to eating a plant-based diet. One is that livestock farming contributes to environmental pollution because it wastes water, land, and other resources. In the view of opponents to livestock faming, it is a major contributor to soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. Animal rights are also an important issue. Activists claim that animals have the right to exist freely in nature and without human interference. This is the reason why they donít consume eggs and dairy products. What is more, billions of animals are slaughtered for meat each year. This figure does not include animals that are killed in labs through vivisection and other cruel and inhumane methods.
Concerns and Considerations
Opponents claim that vegan children are at risk because they eat foods that are high in starches. Thus they are more likely to suffer from anemia. It has been argued that children who eat plant-based food also consume less protein than meat-eaters. In fact, the vegan diet can be healthy and safe for children, depending on their menu. Parents should make sure that their children eat a balanced diet with the proper ratio between protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Pediatric dieticians explain that vegan children are more likely to suffer from vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and vitamin D deficiency. Thus it is important to choose products that are rich in calcium and iron, and other nutrient-rich foods. Another issue that opponents raise is that children consume foods that are less energy-dense. Given that most kids donít eat a lot and many are picky eaters, it may be difficult to choose foods that are calorie-dense. The solution is to give them oil which adds to their daily calorie intake.
There are many celebrities who have chosen a plant-based diet. Among them are Bryan Adams, Emilie Autumn, Casey Affleck, Betty White, Alicia Silverstone, Prince, and many others.