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The Vegan Diet: Myths & Benefits

January 1, 2017

 

This month is veganuary an opportunity to try being Vegan for a month! I have a plant based diet and thought I would run through some common myths and also introduce some of the benefits of being a vegan.

 

 

Record numbers of people are turning to veganism in the UK. Vegans do not eat meat, dairy products, seafood and other foods such as honey and items that may include animal by-products. Vegans also do not wear leather, wool or anything tested on animals. The benefits of being vegan, Instagram and celebrities adopting plant based diets all been factors in this rise. This once much maligned lifestyle is now seen as trendy with much of the food industry catching on to its increasing popularity. However, there are still some misconceptions.

 

Myths

1. Protein

Vegans are often asked ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ Protein is not just restricted to meat. Protein can also be obtained from foods such as tofu and tempeh. Other sources include grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. Eating a variety of these foods means a vegan can achieve the recommended daily amount of protein. Vegans can also build muscle on a plant-based diet; check out Torre Washington (https://www.instagram.com/torre.washington)

 

2. It’s boring

The rise in vegan Instagram accounts shows the variety of meals that can be made. An internet search can provide a wide variety of alternatives. Do you miss pizza? Burgers? There are tasty vegan versions of these.

 

3. Vegans are Skinny/automatically healthy

Think carefully about the reasons for choosing to become vegan. Turning vegan will not help you with weight loss. Although it can certainly be very healthy; there are still highly processed vegan foods that contain a lot of sugar and salt. Avoid these to help maintain a healthy weight.

 

4.  Vegans lack energy

Vegans lack no more energy than those on other diets. However, they must check their intake of vitamin B12. B12 plays an important role in preventing anaemia and nervous system damage. It cannot be reliably be sourced from a vegan diet. B12 can be obtained from fortified foods or taking B12 supplements. For more information visit The Vegan Society.  

 

Gaining Iron from a vegan diet is no problem if a wide variety of vegetables and fruit are eaten. Also include foods with vitamin C to aid the absorption of iron. If you are unsure that you are gaining the right amount of nutrients from your diet; check with a doctor or dietician.

 

5. It takes a lot of planning

Just like any other diet/lifestyle you need to plan what you eat in order to stay healthy but once you know what you need, it becomes second nature.

 

Benefits

1. Health Benefits

Vegans can have lower levels of cholesterol; lower blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes and lower body mass indexes. However, those who have these benefits also tend to have balanced diets and stay active.

 

2. Helping the planet

The main reason for many being vegan is their concern for animals and the environment. It is less of a drain on global food supply and is a great choice for those concerned with animal welfare.

 

3. Physical looks

Those who adopt a vegan diet often report that they have less acne prone skin, stronger hair and nails and the reduction of bad breath and body order!

 

4. It is easy to transition into/try out

If you are thinking about becoming a vegan; you do not have to leap into it. You can gradually see what suits you and there is no need to feel guilty if you make mistakes or if you think it is not right for you.  

 

5. Self-Awareness

It can lead to greater self-control as you cannot simply grab anything when shopping for food. Once you pay more attention, you will gradually pay more attention to what you put into your body.

 

P.s - all photos are of yummy dishes I have cooked!

 

Useful links:

http://veganuary.com

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Vegetarianhealth/Pages/Vegandiets.aspx

https://www.vegansociety.com/

https://www.happycow.net/

 

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