The vegan lifestyle has a reputation for being an indulgence of the super-rich in a bid to lose weight or as part of a “clean-eating” mantra. However, a vegan lifestyle is arguably more ethical, can improve your health and better the environment.
Being vegan means abandoning all animal products, or products derived from animals, from your diet. This includes no meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs.
If you are an ethical vegan you do not consume or use anything that is made by or from an animal. This includes honey, as it is produced by bees, certain make-up products who decide to test on animals and silk (among many others).
Being vegan should not be used as a detox, or a method for you to lose weight.
It is a complete lifestyle change. You need to know what you are consuming and how much, so you are able to get all the nutrients you need to live a healthy life.
For all its positives, people living on a vegan diet run the risk of missing out on important nutrients that are found in meat products. But if you are dedicated to the diet there are ways of feeding your body what it needs solely on a plant-based diet.
Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, which is why most studies show that vegetarians and vegans have vitamin B12 deficiency. A lack of Vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, disorientation, memory loss and rapid heartbeat.
Vitamin B12 can be found in plant milks, soy products, cereals and nutritional yeast.
Zinc plays an important role in our body’s immune system. Zinc is a tricky one, whilst it’s common for vegans to have a zinc deficiency, you also don’t want to go overboard as too much zinc in your diet can be bad for you.
Whole-grain breads, leafy greens, root vegetables, dried beans, peas, and nuts. It is important you see a dietitian or a doctor to make sure you are consuming the right amount of zinc and not having to much or too little in your diet.
Iron deficiency is common among vegans and vegetarians as the body absorbs two to three times more iron from meat than from plants. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity. It is important to not take iron supplements unless it is advised by your doctor.
Pumpkin seeds, brussel sprouts, lentils, black beans, rocket, dried fruit, spinach, brown rice and tofu are all food rich in iron among plenty others.
Omega- 3 helps with brain function, has anti-inflammatory properties and helps lower cholesterol.
Omega-3 can be found in chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans.
You probably know that calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and can be found in most dairy products. Unfortunately, our body finds it hard to absorb plant-based sources of calcium, so it is important to monitor your intake and ask your doctor or dietitian if you are getting enough calcium.
Collard greens, turnips, kale, broccoli, bok choy, soybeans, chickpeas, black beans, and almonds. Some cereals and juices are also a source of calcium.
This word is synonymous with meat but you can include plenty of protein in a vegan diet.
Beans, tofu, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, soy, nuts, and seeds.
Becoming a vegan is tough, and should be a well-informed choice.
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