Vegan jokes aside, this article is going to look at Veganism--but more importantly, what it means to cut animal products from your diet entirely. Many people in first world countries adopt this diet on ethical grounds, protesting against animal cruelty, environmental issues stemming from animal agriculture practices, and even as a way to solve the world’s hunger problem.
However, this article will refrain from entering the political fray and just focus on the benefits and drawbacks of transitioning to a plant-based diet.
Benefits of Veganism
According to The Vegan Society, some research has suggested a correlation between the diet and lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and possibly some forms of cancer.
But a key thing to remember is the importance of a diet with variety because the proper vegan diet focused on nutrient-rich food--theoretically, you can survive on potato chips and water and still lecture your friends on the cruelty of the meat industry.
What Scientists Think of Veganism
Healthline put together a cool blog post looking over 16 peer-reviewed studies that examined veganism from a variety of angles. In one study from 2015, researchers noted a significant change in overall cholesterol. When they took a closer look, many of the patients showed signs of decline in “bad” cholesterol, a rise in the “good” kind, and positive changes in non-HDL cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels.
The article goes on to list other studies of the vegan diet. Some notable, such as a study that compared patients for 18 weeks. One set of patients followed a control diet while the other a vegan, and research found that--overall--the vegan patients lost more weight at the end of the study.
Risks with Going Vegan
As more Americans explore veganism (approximately 4% nationwide), it’s important to keep in mind the drawbacks. For example, British researchers found that people following a plant-based diet had a higher risk of stroke. At the same time, people adhering to a carnivorous diet had a higher risk of heart disease--so there’s a fun Catch-22 for you.
You also need to supplement choline into your diet if you plan on going vegan because our bodies can’t produce enough on its own or with plants. You also want to consider supplementing protein, iron, vitamin B, zinc, and other important nutrients.
40 Vegan Meal Options
Coconut ice cream
vegetarian baked beans
frozen fruit desserts
salad bar items like chickpeas and three-bean salad
peanut butter on whole-wheat bread
homemade pancakes without eggs
soy ice cream
oat nut burgers
French toast made with soy milk
soy hot dogs