Veganism isn’t a new concept but lately, more and more people are making the switch.
If you are thinking about becoming vegan or you just want to know more about this specific diet, you are definitely in the right place.
Whatever brought you to this article means that you have already taken the first step on your vegan journey. Here you can read about how to become vegan, what benefits it has on your overall health, and what it means to be vegan.
What does it mean to be a vegan and why do people choose to be one?
In 1944 a group of vegetarians decided not to consume dairy, eggs, and other animal-related products anymore and created the so-called ” Vegan Society”.
To be vegan means to exclude all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation, whether it’s food or clothing. There are many reasons why people choose to go vegan. Here are the most popular ones:
Many people choose to go vegan because of their potential health benefits. A vegan diet reduces the risk of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. It can also be very beneficial for people who suffer from intestinal diseases.
Nowadays, many animals are being treated with antibiotics and hormones which can be harmful to our human body. There are many side effects that these antibiotics come with which is why people choose a plant-based diet. Furthermore, a vegan diet helps to lower body weight, body fat, and body mass which is another reason why people decide to be vegan.
A very strong reason to go vegan is for ethical reasons. Ethical vegans believe that all animals have the right to live and be treated cruelty-free. Because of many modern farming practices animals are exposed to high psychological and physical stress.
Vegans are very much against those practices and hate to see animals being tortured and kept in small cages until they get slaughtered. Ethical vegans don’t eat meat and other animal agriculture products because they support the life and freedom of animals.
Vegan for the Environment
Another important reason to go vegan is due to the huge environmental impact that animal agriculture has. Animal products have higher greenhouse emissions than plant-based products.
Since we are already fighting against climate change and air pollution, going vegan can help. Animal agriculture causes huge amounts of nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide emissions which are involved in air pollution as well as climate change.
Furthermore, animal agriculture needs around 550 to 5,200 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. To go vegan can reduce a person’s environmental footprint, which is why people choose this type of diet.
What foods do vegans avoid?
To be vegan means avoiding all foods of animal origin. That means no:
Strict vegans also avoid foods that contain any ingredients that come from animals, such as albumin, carmine, casein, gelatin, pepsin, lactic acid, shellac, vitamin D3, and whey. Some types of wine and beer contain these ingredients as well – so watch out!
How do I go vegan?
1. Go at your own pace
To go vegan won’t happen overnight. It is important that you take it slow and don’t stress yourself out over it.
Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Start by making small changes to your meals and increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet.
A lot of people become vegetarians first before they go completely vegan. You can also start by swapping out products such as cow milk for almond milk or butter for margarine.
If you believe in yourself, being vegan will very soon become second nature and you won’t even miss animal products anymore.
2. Do it right
It is important that you don’t forget about essential nutrients. Being vegan doesn’t mean that you are healthy. Make sure you eat a variety of plant-based foods and incorporate all vitamins and nutrients that your body needs.
Some vegans take additional vitamin pills to their diet such as vitamin B12. To find out what exactly your body needs, seek advice from a registered dietitian.
What are the benefits?
A vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients such as more fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, vitamin A, C, and E. To be vegan can also help you lose excess weight. Vegans tend to have lower body max indexes than non-vegans.
Vegan diets are very effective for weight loss. Furthermore, plant-based foods lower blood sugar levels, improve kidney function, may protect against certain cancers, and lower the risk of heart disease. There are many more benefits that a vegan diet comes with.
What are the downsides?
Meat is rich in protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12.
To be a healthy vegan, it is important to eat vegetables and other plant-based products that are rich in these nutrients and vitamins, otherwise, you might feel tired, weak, or even sick.
Sometimes it is hard for vegans to eat outside their homes, like family events, friend’s parties, or at restaurants, since meat is on most people’s daily menu. Many restaurants only offer little vegan choices which makes it sometimes hard as well. But the good news is that more and more people make the switch which is why groceries offer already a wide variety of vegan food and more and more new vegan restaurants are being opened every year.
Is it right for me?
If a vegan diet is right for you or not is for you to decide. The best way to find out is to try it out. To become vegan doesn’t have to be difficult and if you ask any vegan if it is hard to be vegan, they most likely will tell you no, since it really becomes second nature and you won’t even miss eating meat after some time.
To be vegan can be fun and there are so many recipes out there that you won’t get bored eating “only” vegetables.