What is a Vegan Diet?

The rise of new diet plans and fad fitness routines has left many people to think, “Do I really need any of this”? 

Understanding what some of these diets are and how they work can let you decide if one could be better for your goals and lifestyle. 

A vegan diet is one of the most popular diet plans to hit the scene. Vegetarian lifestyles have been around since the beginning of time, but only recently have people started to look at removing dairy and other animal products from their diet. 

What Can You Eat? 

With a vegan diet, you can eat anything that is not made from animal sources or uses animal products in the product creation process. 

This means no meats, eggs, or dairy products for a start. Also, avoid whey, cheese flavors, and other ingredients typically seen in processed foods that contain animal-based ingredients. 

This leaves you with a world of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and other food that does not contain animal products. 

Why Go Vegan? 

There are a host of reasons why someone would choose to switch to a vegan diet. 

Typically, there are three main reasons to go vegan: 

1. Personal health. Research shows that a vegan diet can be beneficial for a healthier heart, lowering the risk for heart disease and even some cancers. 

  • A plant-based diet that has a shortage of animal products has also been shown to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of obesity caused illnesses. 
  • If you are concerned about the effect that a particular food has on the human body, a plant-based diet could be beneficial for you. 

2. Ethical perspective. Many people disagree with the concept of animal agriculture. They see the need for animals dying for food as cruel, unnecessary, and unsustainable. 

  • There’s no doubt that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), in particular, are very cruel to the animals. 
  • For many, the ethical argument is resolved by using only meat from animals that are treated humanely. 
  • If you are concerned about the health and welfare of animals, switching to a vegan diet could help you to feel more ethically secure. 

3. Environmental sustainability. Recent research has shown that animal agriculture is a contributor to global climate change. Many factory-farmed animals such as chickens, pigs, and cows outnumber humans by over five times. This number of animals could be unsustainable to feed and grow. 

  • In other words, growing this number of animals draws a large amount of water and food supply. 
  • In addition, CAFOs produce huge amounts of pollution to a large area surrounding the facility. For example, the runoff of pollutants into the land, nearby streams and rivers, and the water tables is disturbing. 

Is a Vegan Diet for You? 

You now have a brief overview of what a vegan diet entails, and why people would choose to switch to eating plants over animal products. 

A vegan diet is not for everyone. Additionally, it’s not a quick fix for an unhealthy lifestyle. 

Yet, when performed properly, a vegan diet can be one of the most effective ways to ensure that you are lowering your risk for chronic diseases, living longer, and giving back to the earth in a sustainable way. 

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