Veganism has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. However, veganism is not just a diet but also a philosophy to live by. Being on a vegan diet means avoiding all products i.e. food, clothing, and others that are derived or sourced from animals.
Veganism initiated as a movement to end animal cruelty and exploitation. a vegan diet is entirely plant-based avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs, and honey.
Most vegans will also avoid the use of all personal and household products tested on animals, and avoid purchasing and using all animal-derived, non-food products, such as leather, fur, and wool.
Nowadays more and more people are adopting this way of life, some for the belief while others for the health benefits it offers.
Why Go Vegan?
The foremost reason why many people become vegan is for the love of animals. Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, adopting a vegan lifestyle bring myriads of health benefits too
Well planned vegan diets provide all necessary nutrients in the right amount. Research has linked vegan diets with a lower risk for chronic diseases.
- A vegan diet can help you lose weight. Many studies have observed that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than non-vegans. It was found that people on vegan diets lost more weight than people on calorie restricted diet
- A vegan diet helps lower blood sugar levels. A vegan diet is very effective in people with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, it is found that vegans tend to have higher insulin sensitivity and up to a 50–78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Vegan diets are also ideal for people with declining kidney function. Studies have found that diabetic people on a vegan diet are less likely to develop renal complications.
- A vegan diet also helps reduce the risk of certain cancers. Eliminating animal products like meat, processed meats, etc, is associated with decreased risk for colon and prostate cancer. Furthermore, a vegan diet comprises of fruits and vegetables, legumes and soy products which are believed to offer protection against breast cancer.
- Since a vegan diet is largely based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts, it helps against heart diseases, helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- A vegan diet helps reduce arthritic pains. A study conducted on arthritic participants revealed that participants in the vegan group experienced a greater improvement in symptoms such as pain, joint swelling and morning stiffness than those who were on an omnivorous diet.
What Do Vegans Eat?
Vegans avoid all animal products as well as avoid foods containing any ingredients that come from animals like albumin, casein, carmine, gelatin, lactic acid, pepsin, shellac, vitamin D3, whey, etc. Eliminating animal-derived foods doesn’t mean that vegans survive only on veggies and tofu, as is a common belief.
Animal-based products can be replaced by beans, whole grains, lentils, tempeh, nuts, and good old tofu. Dairy products are usually replaced with plant milk like almond milk, rice milk or oats milk. Eggs in several recipes can be substituted by flaxseeds or chia seeds. Honey can be replaced by plant-based sweeteners like maple syrup or molasses.
In addition, nowadays several products are available in the markets that are specially made to meet vegan requirements.