We have been hearing about eating such foods that are healthier and safe for the environment. Environmentalists have been pleading and creating awareness among individuals to bring specific lifestyle changes, specifically eating habits, which can help save the planet. Shifting from animal-based to plant-based derivatives is one such significant change that individuals can bring in their eating habits to achieve a sustainable environment. Going vegan is the new trend that is becoming popular among people, not only because it is good for the environment but also because it is good for the overall health of the people. The supermarkets are flooded with such foods as veggie meat, tofu, and tempeh. These are readily available and have significant health benefits. The statistics state that approximately 3 percent of Americans follow a vegan diet. Some follow it to improve their health and prevent them from diseases, while some switch to it to protect the environment.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet does not include animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy products. A decadent vegan diet will include beans, vegetables, and whole grains. It has immense health benefits but also comes with associated risks. So, it is necessary to understand the good and bad of going vegan or adopting veganism.
Advantages of going vegan
There are many health and environmental benefits attached to eating vegan food. Let’s discuss some of the advantages of switching to a vegan diet.
- Following a vegan diet helps in losing weight and makes one feel refreshed and energized. Vegans are around 20 pounds lighter than animal eaters. Unlike unsaturated fat food, a vegan diet helps in shedding those extra kilos and keeping you more energetic.
- A vegan diet helps to improve gut health. Statistics show that people following a vegan diet have much healthier gut microbiomes, due to the extra fiber that one gets from veggies and a whole grain-rich diet.
- It can also help lower the risk of heart disease. Adding more beans and less beef into your diet is good for the heart and reduces heart disease risk by 24 percent. This is because of the low cholesterol level and saturated fats that are found in vegan food. A plant-based diet is also useful in regulating blood sugar levels that reduce the risk of diabetes.
- It can also reduce the risk of some cancers like colon, kidneys, and stomach cancer.
- Eating plant-based foods help in improving the complexion of the skin. It helps in reducing acne and keeps the skin healthy.
- It is the best way to help animals. Opting for plant-based foods can save nearly 200 animals per year.
- It is also very beneficial for the environment. Consuming meat can be one of the worst things for the environment. Meat production causes large amounts of pollution and leads to climatic changes. Going vegan can help fight against climate change, reducing the carbon footprint, and making the planet a better place to live.
- Vegan food has a wider variety. Manufacturers are creating plant-based versions of traditional food. Supermarkets have vegan-friendly meatless burgers, processed chicken or turkey alternatives, and dairy-substitutes that are made from soy or other ingredients.
Disadvantages of going vegan
Adapting a vegan lifestyle also has some associated risks with it. Some of the disadvantages include-
- Following a vegan diet means taking vegan medications that do not contain animal protein or lactose. But most pressed tablets contain cows milk and lactose . also the vaccines that can only be produced with the help of animal protein and cells.
- The vegan diet can lead to deficiency of some essential nutrients and vitamins. Plant-based food contain nutrients but they are in less amount or difficult to process in vegetable form. It leads to deficiency of iron and vitamin B12. the diet is therefore not recommended to pregnant women, infants and children.
- Plant-based foods are comparatively costly and expensive than the traditional diet. Calcium-enriched soy milk and tofu steak are quite expensive. One also needs time and organisation to make sure that a balanced diet is maintained.
- Plant-based foods can lead to protein deficiency which leads to fatigue, hair loss and stress. The diet does not include meat which is a rich source of protein which becomes difficult for vegan eaters to fulfill.
Going vegan: why or why not?
After discussing the pros and cons of going vegan, the question now arises as to whether one should adopt this plant-based diet or not. Adopting a vegan diet is indeed beneficial but it might not be practical for everyone. This kind of diet involves elimination of different food groups that can be difficult to follow for many people. It might not be sustainable for people in the long-term. Veganism is a sustainable option when it comes to looking after the planet. A plant-based diet requires only one-third of the land needed to support the meat diet. With increasing environmental concerns, it is the best time to adopt a sustainable way of living.
The vegan diet is just like any other diet. It helps in lowering the risk of disease. If one compares a plant-based diet with unhealthy diet, the plant-based diet is definitely better. Becoming a vegan has a lot of benefits but being a vegan is a choice and not a requirement. If one wants to adopt a healthy lifestyle and protect the planet going vegan is a smart move and can help with environmental issues the world is facing.