With an estimated 3.5 million people in the UK now turning to veganism the diet has never been more popular. The act of becoming a vegan means that you prohibit yourself from eating any animal products Even eggs, honey and milk are all off the menu. The actual term of veganism was first introduced in 1944 and can be officially described as follows: A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
People decide to switch to becoming a vegan for a variety of reasons which include:
Animal cruelty: Going vegan to stop animal cruelty is one of the best things you can do to stop animals from being harmed. A lot of people choose to go vegan because they believe that animals are not ours to use or consume, and therefore they take a stand against cruelty and exploitation by abstaining from their products and practices.
Influences from people in the public eye: More and more celebrities are endorsing veganism which is resulting in a record number of young people turning to the diet. Statistics show that 50% of all young adults in the UK have tried a vegan diet. Pro vegan documentaries on Netflix such as Game changers have also lead to an increase in popularity.
Health: More and more people are turning to plant based diets for the health benefits associated with veganism. A 2015 study showed that those following a vegan diet lost comparatively more weight than those following omnivorous and vegetarian diets. On top of this, another set of health benefits associated with veganism is lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. It also found that vegan individuals consumed more fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium and less saturated fat. Following a plant-based diet may also improve insulin sensitivity and possibly reduce the risk of individuals developing type 2 diabetes. When the health effects associated with following a plant-based diet were compared to following a typical diabetic eating plan, the findings suggested that the vegan group had the biggest improvements. Vegan dieters also report higher levels of energy and clarity.
Environmental reasons: It is thought that if everyone stopped eating animal products global farmland use would be reduced by a whopping 75 percent. This equates to an area greater than the US, China and Australia combined. This increased land space would improve wildlife and decrease the emissions of greenhouse gas production. Environmental campaigners are highlighting the importance of consuming plant based diets for improving climate change.
More food options available to vegans in comparison to the past: Vegans nowadays have a lot more food choices available in comparison to the past making it a lot easier to follow the diet. New recipes and easier access to vegan products via supermarkets have led to an influence of people becoming vegans. Years ago, becoming a vegan was more challenging and often meant vegans were really restricted to their diets due to a lack of understanding of the diet with health chain providers.
Personal preferences: Some people choose to eat a diet consisting of plant-based food because they simply prefer the taste. These people don’t like the taste of eating meat and choose to become vegans as a result of this and not any of the other reasons listed above. The added health benefits of becoming a vegan are just a bonus to them.
As well as the positive health benefits associated with veganism there are also some disadvantages to following the diet. Vegan followers often report feelings of dizziness and tiredness as a result of many of them developing deficiencies in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that is found in animal meat and dairy products. To combat this deficiency, a lot of vegans choose to take multivitamins. Vegan dieters can also have lower levels of calcium, omega-3 and fatty acids in the body. Over time, unless a vegan diet is compensated accordingly these deficiencies can result in a host of problems, including loss of bone and muscle mass.
Although the food choices available to vegan dieters have never been better the challenges of following a vegan diet are still present. The biggest problem that vegans face is ensuring that they consume a diet that provides them with the same adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to those that are typically found in animal products. Getting enough iron can also be a challenge for vegans because iron from plant sources isn’t digested as well as iron from meat. To ensure that the challenges of following a vegan diet are kept to a minimum vegans are best advised to plan their meals in advance and do plenty of research into the nutritional content of each meal.
Although the challenges of following a vegan diet are plentiful there are still lots of successful sports athletics that have switched to vegan diets and gone on to achieve great things. Tennis player Venus Williams, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, retired boxer David Haye, weightlifter Kendrick Yahcob Farris, ex sprinter Carl Lewis, rower Michaela Copenhaver, and marathon runner Fiona Oakes are just some of the top athletes that switched to vegan diets.
A typical vegan diet would consist of foods that contain oats, beans, potatoes, lentils, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, rice, tofu, almond milk, hummus, pasta and quinoa.
If you think that going vegan full time is a step too far, you’ll be pleased to know that a lot of people are opting to switch to vegan diets once or twice per week to give their bodies a break from consuming animal products. It’s no secret that doctors and health practitioners have been advising people for years of the advantages of going without meat occasionally. Doing so gives the body’s digestive system a break from the continuous cycle of breaking down animal protein.
A lot of people decide to use the full benefits of veganism to their advantage in a bid to lose weight and improve their health.
You can get more help with delicious recipes by visiting The Plant-Based Recipe Cookbook website. With over 100 vegan recipes designed for optimum taste, the site is a very popular choice for vegans worldwide.