The Vegan Lifestyle: No or Go?
In today’s society the thought of healthy living and eating right is becoming a huge social issue, especially in the eyes of our generation. One lifestyle that has become apparent in the past few years is becoming vegan. While some people choose this lifestyle for their health reasons others choose it due to their positions on animal rights. In fact, it is found that two to three million adults in America choose to live an alternate dietary lifestyle. With the growing vegan lifestyle, I am going to break down the benefits and the disadvantages of becoming a vegan.
While there are few studies that have been done on vegans, there have been some significant differences found between the vegans and the meat eaters. Some of these include lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, overall lower body weight and lower risk of cancer and diabetes. Vegans tend to have a lower risk for cancer and diabetes because a vegan diet is richer in dietary fiber. The vegan diet is also high in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, as well as phytochemicals. Another important factor is that fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts have protective characteristics against major chronic diseases. It is shown that if someone consumes more plant foods that have lower risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some cancers. Another plus is that some of the spices vegans use on their foods such as ginger, garlic and onions are not only tasty but can protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease.
While there seem to be tons of benefits for becoming a vegan, there is also a downside. One of the biggest problems with eating like a vegan is that it eliminates dairy consumption which is one of the biggest sources of calcium to the normal diet. Calcium is extremely important because when you do not get enough of it, you are more likely to have broken bones. While this is thought to be true, a study done in the United Kingdom proved that bone fractures are no more common in vegans than in others. In fact, vegans can get their calcium needs from dark, green, leafy vegetables as well as calcium fortified orange and apple juice that is available. Another common loss in the vegan lifestyle is Vitamin B12 which is found in meat, milk, and eggs while plants contain none. The lack of this vitamin can cause early dementia, lack of coordination, forgetfulness, nerve dysfunction, memory loss, disorientation, difficulty with concentration and difficulty with balance. While this is an issue, there are some soy and rice products that are fortified with Vitamin B12.
So is the vegan lifestyle something that is healthy or do these people deprive themselves of too many necessary vitamins and nutrients? Well, the truth is that the vegan lifestyle is a very healthy option for many people. The most important thing to remember is that you must replace the nutrients and vitamins you miss out on from the foods you cut from your diet with other things. If you are bad at balancing a diet, the vegan lifestyle is probably not for you. But, as long as you make good, healthy choices and find foods that appropriately cover the necessary vitamins, the vegan lifestyle is an extremely healthy alternative.