Definition of Veganism
According to the Vegan society, Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. In terms of diet, Vegan’s eat a plant based diet, avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey.
What does a vegan diet consist of?
A vegan diet is richly diverse and comprises all kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses. While vegans have a wide variety of foods to choose from, the diet may seem very restrictive to those who are used to an omnivorous diet. However, many dishes are already vegan or can be easily adjusted. Some examples include bean burritos, veggie burgers, smoothies, nachos with salsa and guacamole, sandwiches and pasta dishes. With many vegan versions of familiar foods available you can still eat your favourite foods such as non-dairy ice-cream, vegan hot dogs, cheese and vegan mayonnaise, to name a few.
Meat based products are generally substituted for meals including the following:
However, following a vegan diet as a lifestyle needs knowledge and understanding on how to eat foods to get all needed nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride explains about going on vegan diet and what it does to your body in her research book ‘Vegetarianism Explained: Making an Informed Decision’.
Reasons to go Vegan
- For ethical reasons – Many find a sense of gratification on a moral level by going vegan. There’s a compassion element to going vegan, as Ethical vegans strongly believe all creatures have the right to life.
- For health – A few potential health effects include the reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. This could be due to the fact that the consumption of plant based fats provides necessary fatty acids without raising levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Vegan diets are also consistently linked to lower body weight and BMI.
- For the environment – Some research says that plant-based diets have shown to contribute the least to the greenhouse gas emissions, water wastage, deforestation, and climate change, all of which are side effects of large-scale meat production.
Possible negative side effects:
- Hunger – because plant based food is considered to be more as cleansing food rather feeding foods. You might experience more hunger than usual, so eating more portions per day would be a possibility.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency – because the only natural sources of Vitamin B-12 are animal foods, vegans are at a higher risk of developing vitamin B-12 deficiency.
- Low Iron and Zinc – the form of iron in plants is less easily absorbed than that from animal foods.
- Risk of Osteoporosis – a vegan diet might increase your risk for osteoporosis or low bone density and bone fractures, according to Vanderbilt University Health Psychology Department. Vegans tend to have lower levels of calcium and vitamin D than non-vegans.
- Muscle loss – animal protein helps to build and contain muscle. Switching to vegan diet can largely decrease your muscle mass.
To know more about vegan diet, speak to one of our fitness professionals at SportsDock.
by Aemilia Cooper