Vegan Diet is also known as plant based diet. And as the name suggests, it consists of plants in the form of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains.
World Vegan Day is celebrated every year on 1 November by vegans all over the world.
The world’s strongest man Patrik Babomian is a vegan. He is a bodybuilder by profession and lives in Germany. He has a lot of compassion for animals and has always been a plant lover. As his awareness of the benefits of veganism grew, he gave up all animal products. However, people warned him against such a diet. Because of the kind of profession he chose for himself, people couldn’t see him doing well with such a diet. But he did not listen to anyone and took that opportunity to follow a vegan diet.
He says veganism allowed him to eat less and more efficiently. According to Babomian, giving up animal protein made his metabolism more efficient and his performance improved as well. After becoming a vegan, he made two big world records.
A vegan diet helps in lowering cholesterol and is good for heart health.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, especially in the diet. A person who follows a diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. A person who follows a vegan diet can eat any plant-based foods – vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits. While dairy products and eggs are not part of the diet, they can be replaced by many other options including tofu, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and rice milk.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products and attempts to limit the exploitation of animals as much as possible.
So, Why do people follow a Vegan diet?
People follow a Vegan diet broadly for three reasons,
1 Moral Values- People think that every creature has a right to live and enjoy the freedom of living. No animal should be tortured.
2 Health benefits- There are many health benefits including lowering cholesterol by following a vegan diet.
3 Environment concerns- Animal agriculture has enormous ill effects on the environment and climate.
Therefore, many people are choosing veganism to improve their health and save the earth as well.
What do Vegans eat?
Vegans eat all plant-based food. They eat a variety of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and products made from these foods. They do not eat animal-based products such as meat, eggs, honey, milk and dairy products. Vegans do not use leather and silk products.
The variety of foods that health-conscious vegans replace are as follows:
Tofu: These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative in many dishes.
Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermentation and proper cooking can increase the absorption of nutrients.
Nuts and nut butter: Especially the unsweetened and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fibre, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
Seeds: Especially hemp, chia and flaxseed, which contain good amounts of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Calcium-fortified plant milk and yoghurts: These help vegans meet their recommended dietary calcium intake. It also comes with varieties rich in vitamins B12 and D.
Algae: Spirulina and Chlorella are good sources of complete protein. Other varieties are great sources of iodine.
Nutritional yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegetarian dishes and add an interesting cheesy flavour. Also, it is fortified with vitamin B12.
Whole grains and cereals: These are a great source of complex carbs, fibre, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals, amaranth and quinoa are particularly high-protein choices.
Sprouted and fermented plant foods: Germination and fermentation may also help improve mineral absorption.
Fruits and vegetables: Both are great foods to increase your nutrient intake. Leafy greens such as soy, spinach, kale, leafy vegetables and mustard greens are especially rich in iron and calcium.
Why do Vegans need Supplements?
Sometimes, Vegans find it difficult to eat enough nutrient-rich or fortified foods to meet their daily needs. In that case, the following supplements may be particularly beneficial:
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 in cyanocobalamin form.
Vitamin D: Choose the D2 or Vegan D3 form manufactured by Nordic Naturals or Viridian.
EPA and DHA: Obtained from algae oil.
Iron: To be supplemented only in case of a documented deficiency. Taking too much iron from supplements can lead to health complications and prevent absorption of other nutrients.
Iodine: Take a supplement or add 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt to your daily diet.
Calcium: Calcium is best absorbed when taken in doses of 500 mg or less at a time. Taking calcium along with iron or zinc supplements might decrease their absorption.
Zinc: Zinc should not be taken at the same time as calcium supplements.
Remember to vary your protein and vegetable sources throughout the day, as each provides different vitamins and minerals that are important for your health.
One should notice that a vegan diet is definitely a good option but should be considered with a well-planned understanding and availability of all essential resources.