If you are an adult, you have contemplated going vegetarian, or even vegan, at least once in your life. You would feel great. Drop a few pounds. Be better to your meat eating friends.
A great many healthcare professionals will tell you to take it slow. I don’t.
Instead of struggling to cut animal products out of your diet, crowd them out. Search out enjoyable new vegan foods. Every time you find a great new vegan food that you like, push the animal-based foods you are still eating more to the fringe. The more vegan foods you try, the more foods you’ll like, and the easier it will become to choose vegan in most cases.
The vegan diet is starting to be more and more common, with people removing animal products for environmental, ethical, and health reasons. Is veganism a personal or moral decision?
The word vegan means cutting out every item of animal origin. Vegan refers to anything that’s 100% free of animal products: no meat, milk, eggs, wool, leather, honey and so forth.
The more vegan foods you try out, the easier it will be to stick with a plant-only diet. Nearly every long-term vegan you’ll meet will tell you that the switch turned out to be far easier than they anticipated.
Protein surfaces as a fear. While we all tend to place emphasis on getting enough protein, the truth is, most Americans aren’t under-consuming this nutrient.
Back in the 60s, Frances Moore Lappe wrote Diet for a Small Planet. She undoubtedly went over the edge on food pairing for protein concerns to quiet the carnivores. I used her plan for more than 1 year in the 70s.
It’s not necessary to merge different plant proteins during the same meal (for example, by having beans and rice, or peanut butter on whole wheat toast). I have to keep an eye on heavy carbs like these for diabetes, but some form of beans and rice is how most of the world’s people get their protein requirements met.
B12 is something that every vegan ought to supplement. Fortified soymilk is a good option. Don’t believe the myth that you can get it well enough from the dirt in vegetables.
The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods enriched with B12 (including plant/nut milks, some soy products, and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from microorganisms.
Luckily, vitamin B12 is fortified in many vegan foods such as certain plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, and soy products. There are also vegan vitamin B12 supplements that can be taken to make up for the gap of B12 sources in the diet. The key is incorporating those fortified foods on a regular basis, or using a vitamin supplement if needed.
There are actually only a handful of nutrients you need to know about — the biggest ones being B12, Vitamin D, Omega 3s. If you’re eating a lot of veggies, lots of other whole foods, you’ll probably do better than most people on the rest of required nutrients.
Even athletes, who have particular protein needs, can meet their quota by choosing a variety of plant protein sources, according to a recent study.
A study published in 2009 also found that diabetics who followed a vegan diet exhibited greater improvements in blood glucose control, and some were even able to reduce their diabetic medications. I’m going for total elimination.
As a vegan, your carbon footprint will drop greatly. Carbon emissions of animal agriculture is greater than the transportation industry, and is probably the biggest sources of carbon emissions in most people’s lives. It’s been said that you can’t be a meat-eating environmentalist. For most people, the environmental reason for veganism is just a bonus, not the main driving reason they stay vegan.
Food has healing qualities, and the foods emphasized on a well-designed vegan menu are linked to improvements in blood pressure, reductions in heart disease, and a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
While you may lose weight on a vegan plan, it’s not a guarantee. Vegan does not always mean low calorie. You still need to eat well. Filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains should leave little space for less nutritious “food products.” Cutting out certain processed options may make your diet lower in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar.
Don’t hurt animals . This is the top reason people stay vegan over the long run. It’s emotional. Most people love animals, and the idea of killing them for pleasure can be stressful for many of us. There’s no good reason to eat animals other than pleasure, as we can be perfectly healthy on a vegan diet. Why do we love and protect dogs and cats but not pigs and cows?
Then I ran into a YouTube Video “ – Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – Gary Yourofsky” that changed my opinion. He’s out there, and SJWs have given him shit over the years, but it made me think.
Animal rights activists go even further. No furs. No leather belts or shoes. No matter how humane the animals were raised and slaughtered, they don’t want to die.
I am not going to preach to you. I cannot control what you think or do, only share my experiences. I can contribute to the ecosystem of the planet by going vegan, but that’s not my purpose.
There’s a plant-based alternative for almost every type of food you can think of, so you don’t have to miss out on any of your favourite foods. I will eat substitutes on occasion, but I prefer real foods and not frankenfoods.
As Jordan Peterson and others have said, make your own bed before you go out and try to change the world.
If you don’t want to go all in, or if for some reason you are stuck in a situation where you don’t control your diet (like prison), do what you can.
When done right, adopting a “part-time” vegan diet can increase the plant foods in your diet while decreasing animal products high in saturated fat. Emphasizing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes force you to rethink the way you fill your plate.
Although several variations of the vegan diet exist, most scientific research rarely differentiates between different types of vegan diets. The most common include:
Whole-food vegan diet:
Eat exclusively plants, choosing those that are as unprocessed as possible. Most experts will tell you that you don’t have to count calories or focus on macronutrients at all. Whole, unprocessed plant-based foods are nutrient dense and contain a lot of fiber which helps you fill up without consuming too many calories.
Raw-food vegan diet:
A vegan diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or plant foods cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C).
Proponents of a raw food diet claim that there are many benefits to eating raw foods, including weight loss, more energy, clear skin, improved digestion and improved overall health. I believe that’s true, but for me, 100% raw food is hard to stomach (pardon the pun).
The 80/10/10 diet is a raw-food vegan diet that limits fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and relies mainly on raw fruits and soft greens instead. Also referred to as the low-fat, raw-food vegan diet or fruitarian diet. This is basically what the vegan diet gurus like Greger, Pritikin, McDougall, Barnard, and others recommend.
Regarding protein, it’s almost impossible to not get enough protein, even when you eat a vegan diet. The WHO and US National Academies Institute of Medicine recommend that around 10% of our daily calories should be coming from protein.
The Starch Solution:
Dr. John McDougall’s successful program is best described as a starch-based diet with the addition of fruits and vegetables. He observed the effects of nutrition on the body during his years as a doctor on the big island of Hawaii. He could see older generations thriving on a starch-based diet while children and grandchildren got fatter and sicker on a Westernized diet based on animal products.
Raw till 4 (or 6):
Raw Till 4 literally means you eat a raw diet of fruits and veggies until four p.m. After four, dinner time, in other words, you can eat cooked foods. Breakfast and lunch are based mainly on fruits like bananas, dates, and mangos, while the cooked foods should include rice, potatoes, and vegetables. One main appeal of the Raw Till 4 diet is good digestion from tons of fiber as well as proper consumption order of raw and cooked foods. Raw Till 4 promotes a volume dense and high-calorie diet, which many people like in order to feel satiated.
Junk-food vegan diet:
People who eat a junky vegan diet are usually ethical vegans who didn’t come to this lifestyle due to health reasons, but due to animals or the environment. They typically don’t care so much about what they eat as long as it doesn’t come from animals.
Keep reminding yourself of the reasons you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle, and the benefits you’ve felt since going vegan. You’ll probably find going vegan a lot easier than expected. If you do have a bad day, or feel this whole vegan thing is too much like hard work, take a deep breath and reflect on your choices.
You could locate your nearest animal sanctuary. Spending time with animals who are traditionally farmed and getting to know their wonderful personalities is a great way to reaffirm your commitment to veganism.
Animal production requires water and crops for the animals, and transportation of the animals and products. It also produces methane – a destructive greenhouse gas – from cattle. The need for grain to feed animals for slaughter contributes to deforestation as well.
If you believe in yourself, vegan living will soon become second nature. There is always a better reason to stick with your decision than to go against it. If you’re having issues with friends or family, don’t give up.
Make sure that you do things along the way that remind you of the joy of vegan living, and take it one day at a time. You’ve chosen an amazing, exciting and profound way to live your life – be sure to enjoy it.
Despite your reason for going vegan – health, heart disease, diabetes, weight loss, animal rights, or the environment – all components of your life and the lives of your fellow human beings will be advanced. Oh, and the animals who are not being killed will be thankful too.
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