Veganism is a fully plant-based diet that has been gaining popularity across the globe. It can be a difficult diet to begin living by, but it can also be very rewarding for those who practice it. Here are four facts about veganism.
1. Not Everyone Should Go Vegan
According to Gale Tobin and others who are well-versed in vegan diets, veganism simply isn’t for everybody. Those with gluten intolerances, allergies to foods such as nuts and soy, deficiencies in essential nutrients such as zinc or difficulties making necessary lifestyle adjustments may find a different diet plan is safer and more beneficial for their needs.
2. It Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Some Diseases
Because veganism is a diet centered around avoiding all animal-based food products, it also reduces your consumption of saturated fats and other poor nutrient sources. It’s also associated with increased consumption of whole, plant-based foods. This combination can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Be careful of vegan meat substitutes, as these tend to be more processed and therefore less healthy than whole food.
3. You May Need To Take Supplements
There are some essential vitamins and nutrients that are found in abundance or nearly exclusively in animal products, such as vitamin D, calcium and vitamin B-12. You can find good sources of these nutrients in certain whole foods and plant-based foods, such as calcium-fortified juices, kale, broccoli, bok choy and tofu.
There are also supplement options for these essential nutrients. You can get vitamin D and calcium supplements in many forms over-the-counter, including soft gels, capsules and powders. Vegans can also expose their skin to natural sunlight; however, this option isn’t always recommended, as sun exposure also contributes to premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Vitamin B-12 supplements are typically available by prescription, most often in the form of capsules or injections.
4. Veganism Can Encompass More Than Your Diet
Ethical veganism refers to the act of avoiding animal products in all aspects of your life, not just your diet. Ethical vegans refrain from using products such as fur, feathers and leather. They also strive to avoid the use of any product that may benefit from or be created using animal exploitation, such as skincare products developed by companies that utilize animal testing.
Going vegan can be a complicated lifestyle change. Make sure you talk to your doctor and do your research if becoming a vegan is something you’re considering.