You have probably heard of veganism and the reasons why people opt to live a vegan life. In case you have not, the fundamental premise under which it originated is respect and love for animals. People who adhere to this ideology do not consume any product coming from living beings. In other words, they do not eat, wear, or acquire any item that has implied animal suffering or sacrifice. As you can see, veganism goes far beyond nourishment and nutrition.
So, you may wonder what elements fit into the “vegan” category. When we refer to animal products, we mean edibles such as meat —including fish and chicken meat—, eggs, milk or any other dairies, butter, jelly, and even honey. On the other hand, they do not wear items such as wallets, purses, belts, coats, and more which material can be silk, leather, or wool. So, as far as nutrition goes, a vegan diet consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. In the case of butter replacement, there are options such as vegetable oil —for example, olive and coconut oil—. Seeds and nuts are some other protagonists of vegan menus.
You will not believe how many preparations you can create using all these products. Many recipes represent the exact replacement of traditional dishes like pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and many more. As you imagined, desserts such as ice-cream, brownies, and cakes also apply! The best part of all, these vegan substitutes are a lot healthier than the original ones and can be as tasty as they are. It is a whole new experience that is worth trying.
Vegan nutrition: plenty of vegetables and legumes
As we mentioned before, a vegan dietary plan rest upon fruits, grains, dried fruits, and nuts. Beans, lentils, and soy provide all the necessary proteins for a balanced diet. In the case of vegetable oils, avocado, nuts, and dried fruits contain all the essential calories and fats to stay energetic and healthy as well.
However, any person that is planning to follow this diet has to properly inform him/herself about nutritional requirements, especially when it comes to fats and proteins. There are also deficiencies in vitamin B12 that vegan diets can bring about. Nevertheless, a vegan eating plan, if practiced adequately and consciously, can be perfect for anyone out there.
Veganism goes far beyond nourishment and nutrition
Vegan people have strong moral convictions regarding their practice. They strongly reject cruelty against animals in captivity, such as cows that live in crowded cowsheds. Their owners force them to eat grains instead of pasture to fatten them faster and sacrifice them for their meat. In the case of chickens, their owners feed them with hormones to make them grow quicker and sacrifice them only three weeks after their birth. They do not allow them to leave their sheds —this means no sunlight or freedom to run in open fields— either.
Another essential factor is respect for other species’ products. This respect implies that every species produces what it needs, and this is not for the benefit of others: cows produce milk to feed their calves, bees create honey for their honeycomb. Taking these products away from them is of no use for human health. In the same way, they are firmly against the use of animal skin to produce fashion items and clothes, as some of the cruelest practices involve their sacrifice and serious injuries that lead to pain and suffering.
Vegans vs vegetarians: all their differences
In general, both vegans and vegetarians prioritize the consumption of vegetables and fruits, seeds and legumes, and nuts and oils. But vegetarians also may consume animal products, except for meat. These edibles include dairies and eggs. That is to say; vegetarians may also ingest cow, goat, and buffalo milk as well as cheese, yogurt, kefir, ghee, butter, and eggs.
Roughly speaking, there are seven different kinds of vegetarians. There are pescetarians, people who avoid eating any type of meat except for fish. An increasing number of people are following this type of diet, mainly because it has many benefits for health. On the other hand, flexitarians lead a vegetarian diet, even though they sometimes consume different varieties of meat. Then, there are semi-vegetarians, who apart from eating vegetables occasionally consume meat, being this chicken or fish meat.
Besides the three groups of people mentioned before, there are also lacto-ovo vegetarians, who also eat dairies and eggs.
On the other hand, lacto-vegetarians are vegetarians who also ingest dairies. Besides, ovo-vegetarians are vegetarians who consume eggs as well.
Last, some people follow a macrobiotic diet, focused on Chinese medicine and Zen Buddhism. This type of nutrition follows a set of norms and advises to live a long-lasting and healthy life.
Always ask a professional first
In short, knowing the difference between the various types of diets that you can follow can undoubtedly help you decide which one is most convenient for you. But do not forget to ask a health care professional. A competent physician will certainly evaluate what supplements you may need to compensate for the lack of meat and other animal-based products, and thus he/she will recommend to you what diet suits you best.
We previously mentioned some of the vitamins and other nutrients that may not be present in many vegan options —such as proteins, fats, and B12 vitamin— or, if they are, their levels may not be enough to cover the needs of our organism. Supplementation will fluctuate in the case of every person, as people’s weight and height differ, and some exercise regularly. In contrast, others prefer not to, and gender, age, and genetics play a crucial role as well.
If you still have more doubts about what these diets consist of, you can always carry out some research on trustworthy sites. A vegan diet is stricter than a vegetarian one, but both can improve your health significantly and will help you live longer. Check out this site for more information: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-for-you