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What it is to be vegan

Vegan, vegetarian and veganism

Veganism refers to the practice of refraining from the use and consumption of animal products, no matter the form.

Vegans eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Vegan meals contain no cholesterol and are usually rich in fiber.

Veganism is classified by categories:

  • The dietary vegans:
    • Out of health motivation
  • The ethical vegans:
    • Out of respect for animal life
  • The environmental veganism:
    • Based on the premise that the capture or industrial animal husbandry as well as being detrimental to the environment is unsustainable

Veganism is a complex issue for many, perhaps for lack of knowledge about it.

Its purpose is to achieve a complete welfare for the human: physical, mental, spiritual, and social. An issue that covers everything around us including animal protection.

VEGANISM AND ENVIRONMENT

Some of the environmental and social problems facing humanity are related to breeding animals.

More than 1,200 million animals in farms that occupy almost 24% of the land mass of the planet.

The destruction of millions of hectares of virgin tropical forest in Central America and South America, to increase the area of pastures, that is causing the disappearance of entire species of plants and dozens of species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

The techniques used for intensive farming cause irreparable loss of topsoil.

Meanwhile hunger kills millions of people for lack of cereals dedicated to feed livestock, many people die from diseases that are generated by the consumption of beef and cereal used to feed animals.

The practice of veganism is the most direct way of helping to protect the environment ; a vegan diet, for example, spend less than 10% of the water needed to feed someone who is fed with meat.

The adoption of veganism (A personal rejection of food or consumer goods obtained from the cruel, unjust and unnecessary animal exploitation)  contributes to alleviating world hunger, protect the environment and improve the quality of life around the planet, creating the conditions for a social coexistence based on nonviolence .

What foods are part of the Vegan Diet

In addition to a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, trying to cover all the colors (Green, Yellow-Orange, Red, Blue-Purple, and White), a vegan diet includes a variety of dishes prepared from cereals (With gluten: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Spelt. Without gluten: Oat,  Millet, Corn, Rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Amaranth), tubers (Potato, Sweet potato, Yam, Yucca (Cassava), Parsnip, Turnip), legumes (Soybeans, Pinto and Red Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Peas, Alfalfa, Peanuts, Carob, Tamarind), seeds (Flax, Chia, Sesame, Sunflower), as well sprouted seeds, and nuts.

Provide the necessary elements to satisfy the most demanding palates and comprehensively cover all our nutritional needs. You will get a right balance of nutrients if you eat each day fruits, vegetables, a combination of 3 types of cereals and tubers (3 cereals, 2 cereals and 1 tuber, or 1 cereal and 2 tubers), and a combination of 2 types of legumes, seeds and nuts (2 legumes, 1 legume and 1 seed,…).

WHO CAN BE VEGAN?

It is important to consult and research well before initiating a change, not because veganism pose a threat, but rather because we have to be convinced that being vegans only improve our quality of life.

A progressive change is a good approach.

Benefits and concerns/Disadvantages of veganism

Vegan diets offer a buffet of food for thought. Health choices and lifestyle have a great weight in the discussion of the pros and cons. Studies cite numerous health benefits associated with plant-based diets. However, as with any diet education is required to ensure you get the right balance of nutrients.

Vegans are a minority in the United States, and attitudes of a family can determine how positive this experience is.

Benefits

The benefits of a vegan diet are demonstrable. The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reported that even compared with other vegetarians, vegans tend to be thinner and have lower total cholesterol and blood pressure. Consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables, vegans get higher amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals associated with good cardiovascular health and reducing cancer risk. Many researchers conclude that with proper planning, all your dietary needs can be achieved, while avoiding the increased fat and cholesterol associated with meat (Beef, pork….).

Harmony with nature and respect for animals are two fundamental values. Vegans focus on a plant-based diet. Vegans go one step further than vegetarians and reject all animal products like eggs, dairy products, leather and fur. Compassion for animals and concern for the environment are some of the reasons given by the vegan lifestyle. Supporting sustainable agriculture, reducing the carbon footprint associated with meat production operations and opposition to the inhumane treatment of farm animals are some of the social benefits sought through this lifestyle.

Concerns for vegans

Vegan diets may pose a risk of micronutrient deficiencies.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that appropriately planned vegan diets are nutritionally healthy and may help prevent chronic diseases. While experts agree that these diets can be healthy, the key term is “well-planned.” A 2009 article published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that vegan diets are a risk for micronutrient deficiencies. Vegans in particular need to be aware of the B-12 and vitamin D, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and zinc problem. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these nutrients can be obtained without the use of meat, but it requires careful planning and supplementation may be necessary in some cases.

Disadvantages of vegan diets

  • On a diet based only on vegetable ingredients proper attention should be placed on eating sufficient amounts of protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids, which come mostly from animal foods. There are a variety of nutritional supplements on the market.
  • It is often difficult to adopt this type of food, since it is necessary thoroughly plan the menu to avoid deficiencies.

Going out with friends to eat out can become difficult, since in most vegan/vegetarian dishes may not be available.

In short, the healthiness of the diet itself is not dependent on belief, but on the appropriate contribution of each nutrient to it, while guaranteeing good quality food and adequate nutritional profile.

It is vital, therefore, if you decide to take this kind of diet, follow it under control by a nutrition professional to advise and ensure that you are nutritionally covered.

You will get a right balance of nutrients if you eat each day fruits, vegetables, 3 types of cereals, and 2 types of legumes, seeds and nuts. Regenerating our gut macrobiota is crucial for increasing absorption of nutrients:  even some nutritionists  assure that a well regenerated macrobiota can synthesize vitamin B12.

Why some vegans do not eat honey

The simplest reason why honey is unfit for consumption by some vegans is by definition: the term Vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 and defined it as: “Veganism is a way of life in which excludes all forms of operation and the animal cruelty and includes a reverence for life. ”

Some vegans abstain from consuming honey along with meat, fish, poultry, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, because they promote  the use of alternatives for all materials partially or entirely derived from animals.

Vegans and lifestyle

The Veganism is a lifestyle and philosophy shared by many people, based on respect for animals, with the ability to feel. Such people respect animals, say they have dignity as human beings and take into account their interests. It is for this reason they do not consume animal flesh or any product that has arisen from them.

Veganism not be confused with vegetarianism, they have a similar result but not the same. Vegetarians do not eat animal flesh, and feed on vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs and dairy.

Arguably veganism is a lifestyle derived from vegetarians but more extreme. However, veganism is rather an ideological or philosophical stance.

Today the Vegan Society has over 60 years of existence.  On November 1st , the day of its inception,  World Vegan Day is celebrated. Vegans have attracted many followers to date. An estimated 0.5% of the world population is vegan, according to the World Organization Vegan News.

 

 

 

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