Veganism is a strict diet that involves eliminating all animal products. This is different from vegetarians who still consume dairy and eggs. With many celebrities adapting a vegan diet, including Oprah, more people are becoming curious about the health benefits and what being vegan really entails.
If you decide to eat vegan, you may notice a boost in energy. The average American’s diet is filled with processed foods and scarce vegetables and fruits. A vegan diet is full of whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes. These provide serious energy as well as lasting fullness. Vegans are less likely to overeat and less likely to be overweight.
After a month of eating strictly vegan you can probably expect bad cholesterol levels to plummet. Do you have high cholesterol? Consider changing your diet to a primarily vegan one and watch as the good cholesterol number climbs, while the bad cholesterol decreases dramatically.
Protein is in a number of foods, not just meat! Beans and tofu are high in protein. Miso soup, wheat gluten, faux meats, and nuts make it easy to get your minimum 50 grams of protein per day. If you are an athlete you can find tasty tri-protein shakes that use pea protein, brown rice, and soy. Plant based products are full of high quality proteins that absorb into the body much better than a meat protein.
It is true that B-12 is scarce in the vegan diet. However, consuming foods such as seaweed, fortified juices, and a B-12 vitamin will quickly fix that concern. B-12 is a vitamin that “builds up” in the body. Meaning if you have consumed animal products your entire life, you won’t become B-12 deficient for years. It usually takes a strict vegan 3 years to run out of B-12 “stores.”
Calcium and Vitamin D are also very easy to come by. Dark green leafy veggies are packed with calcium. Alternative milks, including soy milk, contain as much calcium as dairy. Fortified orange juice also helps with getting your daily calcium needs.
There are tons of delicious foods to eat as a vegan. You can have the occasional faux meat and you will never miss “the real thing.” Veggie stirfry’s, black bean burritos, spaghetti and other pasta dishes, even pizza, are all meal options you can have without meat involved. Look for delicious dairy alternatives that use coconut, almond, hemp, soy, and rice. They give you a diverse range of vitamins and nutrients and each has their own unique flavor to accompany their health benefits. Plus, a lower fat diet is shown to help prevent heart disease lower cholesterol.
The truth is, you do not need to follow a strict vegan diet to get all of the health benefits. A normal person can reduce their meat consumption from 3 meals a day to once or twice a week and reap immense health benefits from doing so. Incorporate a wide variety of foods into your diet and make more home cooked meals. Whether you are concerned about high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or a thyroid condition; a largely plant based diet can help you overcome those health concerns. To get more information about changing your diet and finding health insurance to help you become a healthier you, visit: the Mayo Clinic