Vegan diets are very much in the news these days. High power celebs like Beyonce and Jay-z, Jennifer Lopez, and Ariana Grande have all dabbled in the vegan lifestyle and diet. But is Veganism for you? And what are the benefits of going vegan? Well, depending on your lifestyle, adapting a vegan one may be very much up your alley!
First, let’s discuss what Veganism means. Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that excludes all animal products and byproducts. Vegans consume no animal meats, eggs, dairy or fish and rely on plant based foods as their source of their energy. They also do not consume any animal products or products that harms animals like fur jackets or beauty products that use animal byproducts in its ingredients. Thus in short, Veganism is a lifestyle that is centred around plant based products and free of all animals!
Veganism (with the right guidance) can be a very healthy way of eating and living. Plant based diets are nutrient rich, low in fat and high in flavour! A vegan diet is also more “earth friendly” as it produces less waste and reduces our economic footprint.
If you are considering going vegan, the question to ask is how satisfied are you with your health and diet right now? Does your current diet fit your fitness and health goals? Are you generally healthy? Can your diet be improved?
For the average North American who consumes 137 lbs of meat and poultry per year, removing animal products or reducing them can make HUGE improvement in their health. Plant based diet are much more nutrient rich and can provide many vitamin, mineral and antioxidants that are typically more difficult to ingest with animal based diets. It can also improve blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health.
I would suggest those of you stuck on your fitness goals and/or have some health concerns (for example high cholesterol, pre-diabetic) should speak to a nutritionist and consider going vegan! Even meat lovers could benefit from reducing or temporarily removing animal products as a plant based diet can reset your palate, allow more nutrients and fibre into your diet and allow you to discover new foods!
Adapting a vegan diet can be challenging (especially if you currently rely heavily on animals meats, poultry or fish) but there are some great resources, like this meal plan that sets out how to adapt a vegan diet in a healthy manner. It’s important to note that many foods out there today can be labeled as vegan (like Nutella) but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or nutritious. The key is to identify the right plant based foods to eat for optimal performance and health and not be fooled by unhealthy foods labeled as Vegan just because they do not contain animal products.