It is quite presumable that we all know a vegan, with whom you can never go to dinner, as they will not approve of your food choices and school you for having your favorite hamburger or lamb shank! Many people have accepted veganism with open arms, as they believe that sustainability is the future. Many celebrities also advocate this lifestyle and thereby helped to promote the same. Veganism is a way of living in which people tend to abstain from all kinds of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other. Vegans chose not to consume dairy, eggs, or any other products of animal origin, other than refraining from meat, like the vegetarians.
The vegan diet was defined early on in The Vegan Society’s beginnings in 1944. It was as late as 9149 before Leslie J Cross pointed out that the society lacked a definition, and hence veganism became a way to foster an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, or any other uses involving exploitation of animal by man. The word ” vegan” has actually been derived from the word “vegetarian” by taking the first three and last two letters of the word (veg-an). A vegan diet involves eating only foods, comprising plants. For some vegans, it is a dietary choice; for others, it is a lifestyle. Some adopt the lifestyle for its environmental benefits, others for healthy well-being. Vegan diets tend to be rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats. It has been seen in many research that such diets can improve heart conditions, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of diabetes or hypertension. However, people following vegan diets should take care to get key nutrients that people usually consume in animal products. These nutrients include iron, protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D.
Benefits of a Vegan Diet
Vegan diets are mostly known to help people lose weight. However, there is an array of additional health benefits. Here are some of its benefits :
High Nutrient Content
Vegan diets are rich in high nutrient content. If you switch to a vegan diet from a non-vegetarian one, you will inevitably have to rely on other food replacements in the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. These food are high in many beneficial nutrients, and they make a substantial portion of a vegan diet. Studies have shown that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds, which are rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin A, C, and E.
Helps Weight Loss
The popularity of veganism has pervaded several parts of the world, essentially due to the fact that it helps in weight loss. They are turning to a plant-based diet in the hope of shedding those extra kilos, so as to fit in their size-zero dress. Many observational studies have shown that vegans tend to be thinner and have a lower Body-Mass-Index (BMI) than non-vegans. This is essential because vegans’ diets have a natural tendency to reduce your calorie intake. This makes them effective at promoting weight loss without the need to consciously focus on cutting calories.
Lowers Chances of Diabetes
People who maintain a vegan diet tend to have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity, and up to a 50- 70 % lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, some study reports show that diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk for poor kidney functioning and thereby improve the overall well being of the body.
Protection from Cancer
According to WHO, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet. Research suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying by cancer up to 15%. Vegans generally eat considerably more fruits and vegetables, as compared to non-vegans, and there has a lower risk of developing or dying from cancer. Vegan diets also include soya, which gives protection against breast cancer.
Lower Heart Diseases
Vegan diets include huge portions of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other fibre linked food options, which in turn help in lowering the risk of heart attacks and other cardiological diseases. Several randomized controlled study reports have shown that vegan diets are much more effective in reducing LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Vegans are also likely to consume more nuts, whole grains, etc., both of which are very? Good for the heart.
What do meat eaters think of veganism?
Around 80% of the world population is non-vegetarian. People are more inclined towards non-vegetarian diets, essentially because of their tastes and food habits, they have developed since childhood. But the food industry has been carrying out many unethical practices, which have questionable ramifications on health and society. From slaughterhouses to adulterated packaging techniques, are in turn, discouraging many consumers from relying on meat-based products. Many people are of the option that veganism is an ethical principle that can be adopted as a dietary option and is good for the environment as well. However, practical concerns preventing people from adopting veganism are taste, price, and convenience. It is fair to say that veganism is not a pervasive food culture, and also there is a lack of awareness about the same. People are not in disagreement with the entire idea of veganism but are devoid of options. Hence they stick to their regular meat diets.
It may seem strange, but more than half of the non-vegetarians support the idea of veganism and consider it as a socially acceptable food culture. This could have major implications for the future food industry as meat alternatives become tastier, cheaper, and more widely available. They are of the opinion that the vegan diet is healthy and environment friendly. But vegan options are marginal and are perceived to be boring and not enjoyable. Also, there are many social stigmas concerned with such clean diets, making people prone to judgments—the driving factors of food choices of a population group, primarily price, taste, and convenience. For most people, ethics and environmental impact simply do not enter into it. In addition to that, the default widespread food behaviour of meat-eating can be a barrier to clear reasoning about our food system. Fortunately, there is a shift in the opinion of people. With the advent of a varied range of options, quality, and affordability of vegan products, a major spike in adopting veganism as a lifestyle has been witnessed lately. Many are motivated to replace animal products with vegan meals at least once a day to start off. Also, many food chains and restaurants foster vegan menus and offer a myriad of meat-free dishes, which are healthy and tasty. When Subway offers a version of its meatball marinara that is compatible with your views on ethics and environment, why would a person choose the one made from an animal, especially if the taste is identical? All these have serious implications on the meat market as there has been a major shift of consumers, and this is where the magic of market works. With vegan alternatives getting cheaper, better, and more widespread, meat-eaters will have to ask themselves just how good the alternatives need to be before they decide to consume in the line of values. Hence, more people will be motivated to switch to clean diets, which have sustainable repercussions on the health and environment.