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What is Veganism?

vegan veganisam Jul 13, 2018

"A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals." - The Vegan Society

There are many ways to embrace vegan living, yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, including fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, and honey.

It's not just about diet, however, vegans avoid exploiting animals for any purpose, with ethical reasons being a key factor in choosing a vegan lifestyle. Shockingly, animal products and products tested on animals can be found in accessories, clothing, and makeup, just to name a few! Fortunately, in today’s world, we have affordable and easily-sourced alternatives available to us.

So, what exactly is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is richly diverse comprising in fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans, and pulses. As a vegan, you will learn to be creative in preparation of meals so as to ensure you're never bored. Nowadays, there is a such a hype around veganism that you can buy almost anything, from wraps, pizzas, cakes, even ice-cream that is suitable for a vegan diet as they're made with plant-based ingredients.

Cooked Vegan Diet vs Raw Food Veganism

So what exactly is the difference between veganism and a raw food diet?

A vegan diet consists only of plant foods. All meats and other animal products, including milk and eggs, are off-limits. However, some vegans restrict their diets even further by choosing to eat only raw foods, foregoing all foods cooked at temperatures above 118°F (48°C).

A raw diet also includes fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Although a raw vegan will be more particular about the types of beans and grains they eat and will choose lentils, peas, and quinoa, in their sprouted form, specifically. Soy products on a raw vegan plain are not permitted as these are cooked at temperatures above 118°F (48°C).

In a raw food diet, nuts and seeds are raw, not toasted (whereas toasted is allowed in a regular vegan plan). Frozen vegetables are par-cooked before freezing, so they too are not allowed in a raw vegan plan.

Health Benefits of Veganism

  • A vegan diet is much lower in calories than even a vegetarian diet, because you are not only cutting out meat, you’re also cutting out high-fat dairy products
  • A vegan diet may help keep your heart healthy. Studies have shown that vegans may have up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease
  • Vegan diets are said to be much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL and total cholesterol than regular diets available today
  • This can be especially beneficial since reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar can reduce heart disease risk by up to just under 50%
  • By virue of the plant-based diet that is low in saturated fats, vegans are also less prone to obesity, and have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol and a diet that can reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancers
  • Vegan diets seem particularly effective at reducing symptoms of arthritis such as pain, joint swelling, and morning stiffness
  • Diabetics who substitute meat for plant protein may reduce their risk of poor kidney function
  • Observational studies have shown that aspects of the vegan diet can assist in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease

Risks of Veganism

  • Excessive weight loss can become weight gain - while there are definite benefits to weight loss for overall health, a sudden and rapid decrease can cause havoc with the body
  • Unfortunately, a diet that excludes all animal products does have some nutritional drawbacks - calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and folate—all of which are present in meat and dairy—as key nutrients a vegan diet can lack
  • Inadequate consumption of vitamins and minerals can result in loss of bone and muscle mass.
  • Lack of vitamin B-12 has a myriad of issues as B-12 is responsible for the smooth running of the central nervous system and our metabolic function. If you are suffering from fatigue, constipation, and lack of appetite, you may be lacking B-12*

*Consider supplementation where necessary

At the end of the day, adopting a vegan lifestyle is a deeply personal choice and one that may not be everybody’s cup of miso soup. BUT, we cannot ignore the fact that Increasingly more and more people have decided to go vegan for ethical and health reasons.

It is important for anyone thinking about the vegan route that the transition is done gradually and mindfully. When done correctly a vegan diet has endless benefits, including weight loss, a healthier body, and mind, as well as a deeper sense of ethical respect and responsibility.

Join the Energise Academy today! Your health coach Mark Bryant will mentor and guide you through this incredible life transformation.

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