GOING VEGAN By Becca Hetz
What does it mean to be vegan? Generally, being began means one doesn’t consume any animal products or animal product derivatives. This includes meats (including fish), eggs, dairy, honey, milk products and animal by-products. Basically, anything that came from or was made from an animal is not ingested. Many of those dedicated to being a vegan choose to make veganism a lifestyle, and also avoid wearing any clothing or apparel made from an animal, such as leather, wool and fur.
What is the difference between being vegan and being a vegetarian? While veganism and vegetarianism share some similarities, these two lifestyle choices are quite different. A vegetarian diet has more “wiggle room” because many vegetarians consume cheeses, milk, and eggs. Some vegetarians include fish and seafood in their diets, as well. Unlike vegetarian diets, vegan diets eliminate all animal products.
Why would I want to go vegan? While vegan diets are not a good option for everyone, as some people maintain optimal 22
levels of health and wellbeing by incorporating animal products and meat into their diets, veganism can be a positive lifestyle change for many.
of a plant-based diet and the documented adverse effects of the standard North American diet.
Many people choose to become vegan because they dislike the idea of eating animals. Others do so for the myriad of potential health benefits and beneficial environmental factors. Did you know, for example, it takes more than 2,000 pounds of water to produce one pound of beef?
You may be thinking, “So if I can’t eat any meat or animal products, does that mean I can only eat vegetables?”
What are the health benefits of being a vegan? There have been many studies showing both the positive and negative effects of veganism on one’s health. Many individuals who have committed to a vegan diet report increased mental and physical energy, improved sleep, weight loss, more balanced moods, and clearer skin, just to name a few. Clinical studies have also found a link between the reduction in the rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s amongst individuals who have adopted a vegan diet. Netflix recently created a powerful documentary called What the Health? which profoundly displays the positive effects
What do vegans eat?
Where do vegans get their protein? The most common mistake individuals make when first adhering to a vegan diet is not consuming adequate protein. This can leave a person feeling tired, drained, and moody.
Individuals with Anemia or a Vitamin B12 deficiency should be very cautious in starting a vegan diet. Vitamin B12 supplementation is often crucial when eating vegan, as B12 is not abundant in plant based foods.
If following a vegan diet, these iron-containing foods should consumed daily to avoid a potential deficiency. It is important to monitor how you feel while eating vegan. Many individuals feel wonderful adopting a vegan diet, while others do not.
Vitamin B12 comes from the relationship between the soil and animals that graze on the soil.
Deciding to become a vegan can be an exciting and health-enhancing change. Are you up for it?
Protein is an essential macronutrient needed by the human body for optimal health and function. It is vital that you consume enough protein for your body’s growth and maintenance needs.
Vegans follow what is referred to as a plant-based diet. While a plant-based diet definitely includes vegetables, there’s so much more food that can be enjoyed! Many people think veganism is an extremely restrictive diet, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Vegans can enjoy nuts and butters; seeds; beans; legumes (lentils, peas, etc.); breads; soy products (tempeh, tofu); grains; pastas; vegan desserts; soups; stews; vegan meat substitutes; cereals; vegan cheeses; vegan pizza; sushi; vegan ice-cream; and, of course, lots of vegetables. Due to the fact that veganism has been on the rise over the last decade, the majority of grocery stores and restaurants now carry plentiful vegan options and alternatives. While it may take some effort and experimentation to explore the options that work best for your body initially, veganism can be a wonderful new adventure and make for a positive lifestyle change.
Protein-rich plant based foods that vegans can enjoy come in the form of beans; nuts; soy products such as tofu and tempeh; quinoa and vegan/ plant-based protein powders.
Who shouldn’t follow a vegan diet? If you are planning to make a change in your diet or lifestyle, it is highly recommended that you consult a health care practitioner beforehand to ensure a vegan diet is safe for you, especially if you are pregnant or under the age of 18.
Since a vegan diet eliminates all meats and animal products, Vitamin B12 supplementation is often required. The most absorbable form of iron (heme-iron) comes from animal meats. Non-heme iron (the iron found in plant based foods) comes from iron-rich plant foods such as spinach; beans; lentils; tofu; and pumpkin seeds, amongst many other sources.
Becca Hetz C.H.C (Certified Health Coach, Institute for Integrative Nutrition) Owner of Warrior Cakes (Gourmet Gluten Free) www.warrriorcakes.com @warriorcakes ReFINEdKINGSTON