- Oct 6, 2020
- 10 minutes
Considerations of vegan nutrition
The basis for vegan nutrition is derived from vegetarianism. But there are distinct differences between living a vegan lifestyle and living a vegetarian lifestyle. Unlike vegetarians, vegans are committed to living without products made or tested on animals and refuse to eat any meat, egg, or dairy foods. Vegan nutrition can be traced back as early as biblical times. Passages in the Bible discuss how certain religions believed in the overall preservation of health, the safety of animals, and the protection of one’s environment.
Vegan: What is it?
What does it mean to be a vegan? Upholding the philosophy of a vegan lifestyle involves making some critical changes in what you eat and what you buy. Vegans believe that using animals as a source for livestock, or as a means to test new products, is cruel and inhumane. Therefore, instead of eating a vegetarian diet, which includes the consumption of dairy and egg products, vegans make the choice to go completely animal-free. How dedicated you are to the cause of veganism will depend on how far you go to eliminate animals from your lifestyle. Some vegans avoid using any leather products, eating honey, or buying cosmetics that have been tested on animals. There is a slew of beneficial reasons why a vegan lifestyle could be good for your overall well-being. Vegan nutrition is one reason to consider this type of lifestyle because the focus on eating all-natural foods can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and high blood pressure. Veganism is also a great way to combat the rise in obesity among adults and children in today’s society. But the main reason many people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle is for the treatment of animals.
Vegan Nutrition: Good and Bad
Any diet is going to have its good points and bad points, including veganism. The biggest concern with vegan nutrition is not getting enough vitamins and minerals that are commonly found in meats, dairy products, and eggs. Therefore, vegans have to maintain a strict diet that incorporates a variety of colored vegetables and fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. In some instances, it is necessary for vegans to take daily vitamin supplements as a means to get all the nutrients they need for a healthy body. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are two of the most common sources vegans are deprived of in their diets. This is because not all plant sources carry large enough quantities of vitamin B12 to suffice as a daily supplement. And since vitamin D is found in dairy products, it can be hard to discover a replacement for this nutritional source that can supply an adequate amount for healthy bone growth. Finding foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D is the best way for vegans to ensure they get the recommended daily dosage of these nutrients. The benefits of vegan nutrition can easily override the risks. Vegan nutrition includes an abundant amount of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and hearty grains. All of the sources are suggested as necessary tools for weight loss. Vegan diets can help you lose weight because vegetables and fruits are naturally fat-free and low in calories. Whole grains also help you stay full longer, and require more calories to break them down in the body. Nuts are an excellent source of beneficial fats for the body but should be consumed in moderation because they can lead to weight gain when eaten in large quantities. Vegan nutrition is also an excellent way to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Research has shown that animal fats and proteins contain large amounts of cholesterol in them, which is why many individuals who eat too much animal meat have a greater chance of developing higher cholesterol levels. Lowering your blood pressure can also help you eliminate medications from your lifestyle, which can also help you save a little money too. Studies have shown that vegans have a lower risk of cancer because their organic lifestyles eliminate a lot of the pesticides and chemicals used in cultivating crops and raising livestock.
Eating Healthy as a Vegan
Maintaining good nutrition as a vegan is fairly simple after you do a little research and understand what veganism is all about. Protein, the main source for our bodies to ingest amino acids, is an important factor to consider when it comes to vegan nutrition. Over twenty varieties of amino acids come from both plant and animal sources. Our bodies are not capable of producing eight of those, requiring us to get them from outside resources. Because vegans do not eat meat, they are reliant upon the proteins found in plants. Health officials have reported in recent studies that plant proteins are just as beneficial to the body as proteins from animal sources. With these findings, vegan nutrition has gone up in the scale of becoming a quality diet. There are several protein resources to consume as part of good vegan nutrition. The main sources of protein are legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Legumes include peas, lentils, soy products, and beans. Grains are supposed to be whole grain resources, such as wheat, barley, buckwheat, and brown rice. Nuts include any kind of healthy nut butter, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts. Seeds, another good source of protein, include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Oils derived from seeds, such as grape seed oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed oil, are also full of vitamins and minerals vegans need for a healthy diet. Because vegans are limited to main vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains, it can be very tempting to overeat on highly processed foods. But to reap the heart-healthy benefits of a vegan diet, you need to avoid consuming excess amounts of potato chips and cookies, white pieces of bread, and unbleached white flour. Regardless of whether or not you give up protein if you continue to consume processed foods you are reversing the positive effects of vegan nutrition.
Living a Vegan Lifestyle
Living a vegan lifestyle can be possible, even if you are pregnant or have children at home. Vegan nutrition, if followed correctly, can provide the correct amount of fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to fortify a pregnant woman’s dietary needs or the dietary needs of children. The most important thing to remember when you are both pregnant and a vegan is to make sure you consume enough extra calories in the day to keep your baby growing strong. Children are also very active and need to eat foods that replenish the calories they burn throughout the day. To maintain quality vegan nutrition on a daily basis, be sure you supply your children with a good multi-vitamin every day. It is also important they eat plenty of protein-packed legumes and nuts for snacks and at meals for an adequate amount to support muscle and bone growth. Because both children and pregnant women need ample amounts of calcium, you can easily find this in numerous soy products or fortified foods. Avocados are another outlet for good unsaturated fats and proteins for women who are pregnant and can be mixed with meals or eaten alone. Vegan nutrition can take a bit of time to adjust to, but living a vegan lifestyle can be simple and nutritious. Thanks to the increased awareness of vegetarianism and veganism, finding vegan foods is easier, and with time, will be less costly in your pocketbook. Veganism is about more than just eating healthy and maintaining a good weight. It is about adopting an animal-free lifestyle and philosophy as a means to help preserve the environment we live in every day.