While it used to be dismissed and ridiculed as just another diet fad, today more and more people are going vegan. There are many benefits to the vegan lifestyle that draw people in. Some see veganism as a way to save animals from suffering, and others see it as an answer to saving the planet from climate change. And then there are people who decide to go vegan in order to reap the numerous health benefits. Do you too consider making a drastic change and trying the vegan way of life? Here are some important things you need to know before taking the plunge.
You May Need Supplements to Meet All of Your Nutritional Needs
Sure, eating fresh fruits and vegetables is very good for you, but it is just one part of a healthy diet. A healthy diet plan should include the proper ratio of carbs, fat and protein along with the appropriate calorie amount for your body. These are the macros you should hit on a daily basis if you want to achieve the optimum results and improve your health.
Going vegan can make it harder to hit your macros, especially in the beginning when you don’t have experience with creating meal plans that target all nutrients. One of the toughest goal to achieve for most vegan newbies is sufficient protein intake. Proteins are especially important for health and beauty because they boost the metabolism, feed the muscles, keep the bones strong and maintain the skin’s elasticity.
This is where supplements come in handy. You can pick a quality vegan supplement in the form of plant-based protein powder or superfood vegetable broth and ensure you’re meeting your daily protein needs without having to worry about your meals’ protein content. Vegan protein shakes provide a mixture of protein and vitamins that help build and repair muscle tissue, making them the perfect after-workout drink. Despite being dairy-free, these shakes include many tasty ingredients like chocolate and vanilla and can be a healthy and low-calorie way to curb your cravings for sweet, sugary drinks. Vegan broth powder is an excellent way to give more flavour to stews and casseroles.
It’s Good for the Heart
Research has shown that vegans have a lower risk of developing severe heart diseases. This is mainly because their diet excludes red and processed meats which are the main cause of high cholesterol levels. Vegans eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables which are loaded with powerful antioxidants and potassium which are linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Potassium has a contra effect on sodium and it lowers blood pressure.
It Might Be Bad for the Brain
Veganism may be good for the heart, but on the other hand, it might increase the risk of stroke. A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that vegan and vegetarian participants had a higher risk of stroke than meat-eaters. The research involved 48 188 participants with no underlying conditions. They were classified into three different groups: meat-eaters, vegans and pescatarians. The participants were being followed-up over the course of 18 years. The results showed that those on plant-based diets had a 20% higher risk of stroke. It is thought that this is due to vitamin B12 deficiency, although it hasn’t been specifically confirmed. Luckily, there are many vegan supplements which contain vitamin B12 along with some other nutrients that promote brain health. Consider a natural vegan supplement that contains nourishing ingredients such as green tea, matcha, and curcumin for a balanced diet rich in B12.
Veganism and the Environment
Eating green has several positive effects on the environment while also raising awareness of the exploitation of animals. Animal agriculture requires a lot of precious resources such as water, food, energy and land. For example, a cow consumes around 180 litres of water on a daily basis and it takes around 4500 litres of water to produce just 1kg of cow meat. Another problem with animal agriculture is pollution. Production of beef meat causes high levels of greenhouse gas emissions which are responsible for climate changes. Animal cruelty is worth mentioning too because many farm owners keep animals in inhumane conditions in order to maximize production.
If you are considering veganism as a way to reduce your ecological footprint you should be aware that not all plant-based foods are good for the environment. For instance, air-transported fruits and vegetables create a higher carbon footprint per kilo than chicken meat. This is why you should be mindful about everything you eat.
Find the Golden Mean
It’s certain that veganism has both its upsides and downsides. If going 100% vegan is way too big of a challenge for you, find the golden mean and get the best of both worlds. At first, try limiting your meat consumption to two times a week and stack up on protein shakes for the days when you won’t eat meat. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as you want, just make sure they are produced locally if you care for the environment. If you are a dairy product addict maybe vegetarianism is a better option for you since it includes eggs and milk products.
Whatever your choice, always use a variety of foods on your menu to ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function properly.