As people have more concern about how to keep healthy, vegan diet is now becoming a popular trend, thanks to several celebrities who adopt this lifestyle. People turn to plant-based meal and skip meat to maintain their health as well as to preserve the Earth. In addition, some people become vegans because of their beliefs.
Being vegan means that you do not eat meat and animal-derived products such as milk, cheese, eggs, gelatin. There are other types of vegetarian diets, such as:
- Lacto Vegetarian:People who follow this dietary plan do not consume white meat, poultry, fish and eggs. However, they include dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese in their diet.
- Ovo Vegetarian:Ovo-vegetarians exclude meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products. However, they still consume egg-based products.
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian:The most common type of vegetarian. Lacto-ovo vegetarians exclude meat, fish and poultry. However, they consume dairy products and egg products.
- Pollotarian:This dietary plan is also called “semi-vegetarian” diet. They only eat poultry to limited portion, and exclude read meat, fish, and seafood.
- Pescatarian (Pescetarian):Almost the same with pollotarian, pescatarians only eat fish and sea food only, and do not eat poultry or fowl and red meat.
Flexitarian – These people eat plant-based meal, but they consume meat occasionally. They do their best to limit their meat intake as much as they can.
Several studies showed vegan diet lowers the risk of various health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and obesity. Non-meat meal plan is lower in fat and cholesterol than non-vegetarian ones. Here are more detail..
Vegan diet prevents these serious illnesses from affecting your health:
This word sounds scary, however, about one-third of cancer cases can be prevented, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Avoiding red meat is the best way to prevent cancer from recurring. A study showed vegan lifestyle prevented prostate cancer from developing.
- Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, many people turn plant-based diet to avoid this illness. In fact, following a vegan lifestyle is even considered easier than following a diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.
High intake of vegetables and fruits is believed to prevent cataract as they contain a high level of antioxidants.
- Cardiovascular disease
You will reduce the risk of heart disease by eating more trains and skipping meat and dairy products from your menu list. Besides diabetes type 2, a study proved vegan diet can help protect you from suffering stroke and heart disease.
A new study showed that non-dairy and non-gluten diet can improve the health of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition, vegan diet also helps you lose weight and live younger. For those with allergy symptoms, adopting a vegan lifestyle may alleviate runny nose and skin rashes.
For women, vegan meal plan also helps boost their beauty. Vegan diet followers will have a brighter skin and a stronger hair after eliminating meat and dairy products from their table.
However, despite pro-vegan people’s claims that eating no meat helps protect your health, vegan diet does have some problems too. Here they are:
- Nutrients Deficiency
Vegans may face lose many important nutrients as some nutrients can only be obtained from animals. B12, for instance, is one of the most vital nutrients for the formation of nervous system and red blood cell. Unfortunately, this water-soluble vitamin is only found in meat. Besides B12, vegans also lack of creatine (which supplies energy to all cells), carnosine (which provides protection against degenerative disease), and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to the development of the brain.
There are studies which indicate that low-carb provides more health advantages than meat-based diet. While some studies such as the Seventh-Day Adventist Studies that show lower mortality in vegans and vegetarians. However, these studies are actually observational studies, which indicate correlation, not causation.
- It may work for some people, but not for others
Different people have different physical condition. It will be better if you include a little bit of meat in your diet rather than eliminate meat completely.
What To Prepare
Whether you are going vegan or not, it depends on your need. However, there are several important things you need to know before deciding to skip meat from your daily meal plan:
- Consult your doctor
As you will lack several important nutrients such as iron, B12, and so on, make sure you know what kind of vegetables that provide you with those nutrients. You do not eat meat, but that does not mean you do not have enough proteins and vitamins needed for your body.
What you also need to know, vegetarians need more IRON than non-vegetarians, said Nita Sharda, RD, owner of Carrots and Cake Balanced Nutrition Consulting. Kale, spinach, lentils, and soy are iron-rich plants you can add to your menu.
Take a gradual step
You do not need to drastically skip meat as you will be shocked by a new lifestyle which is completely different from the previous one you used to adopt. Try to start from something you can do in the beginning. For example, you can exclude meat for breakfast and dinner, while you can eat meat for lunch, but in a small portion. Give yourself time to adjust to your vegan lifestyle. After several weeks, you will be able to stop consuming meat at all.
- Drink smoothies, not juices
Smoothies have extra benefits and fiber, explained Sharda. Moreover, smoothies are an easy way to give you more fruits, protein, and veggies as well. You can explore your ideas to add more protein to your smoothies. Peanut butter, cottage cheese can be natural protein sources rather than protein powder.
- Find substitutes for dairy products to provide you calcium need
Are you confused about what to consume to substitute milk? No worries. Some vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale are rich in calcium, so are almonds and soybeans.