The Benefits of Veganism and the Nutrients to be Mindful of
Veganism isn’t a new fad diet. It’s been around for decades. But, it has been receiving some much-needed attention lately. Let’s learn more about it in the following sections.
What is Veganism?
Veganism is presently defined as a practice or way of living which advocates minimises or removes all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation. People who follow this way of life are called vegans. Unlike vegetarians, vegans opt not to consume eggs, dairy or any other products (like clothing) derived from animals, in addition to not consuming meat.
Why follow a Vegan Diet?
People follow a vegan diet for different reasons. Below are some of them:
- Some people choose it for ethical reasons. Animals have a right to live and should have freedom from any form of cruelty.
- Some do it for the environment. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), animal agriculture is the leading culprit of climate change. Animal agriculture contributes greatly to nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide emissions. All of which are bad for the environment.
- Some children inherit veganism as a way of life from their vegan parents. They were brought up that way.
- Some are allergic to meat.
- Some people prefer the taste of plants compared to animal products.
- For health reasons.
The Importance of a Well-Balanced Vegan Diet
As a vegan, you’ll be staying away from all animal-derived foods. It’s essential that you have a well-balanced vegan diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies which can affect your health in the long run.
A well-balanced vegan diet serves to PREVENT the following:
- A diet LOW in EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid respectively.
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Zinc deficiency
These two tables highlight foods and nutrients to incorporate into your vegan diet.
Eat more of these foods:
Include these nutrients in your diet:
| Protein powder
||A vegan protein powder can guarantee that you get all 20 amino acids (including the 8 essential ones) in adequate amounts.
Food sources: Beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, seed butter, chickpeas (yummy), quinoa, chia seeds, lentils, seaweed, sacha inchi (mountain peanuts), and nutritional yeast.
|Vitamin B12||Methylcobalamin is the activated form of vitamin B12. The sublingual form of this supplement is the most absorbable form.|
|Zinc||Make sure zinc is available by increasing your intake through diet or supplementation. Pumpkins seeds are especially rich in zinc.|
|Iron||Iron supplementation provides additional non-heme (plant) sources of iron for vegans who do not get enough from their diet. Get your doctor to test your levels first to check if you are low.|
|Vitamin D3||Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the most active (therefore useful) form of this vitamin. Try lichen-based vegan vitamin D3 supplements, especially if you’re not having regular sun exposure.|
|Iodine||Iodised salt contains some, as do sea vegetables. But supplementing with extra ensures that your body gets adequate iodine.|
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A vegan way of life may be hard for some people to embrace. Rest assured, it’s a fulfilling, healthy, and fun-filled one when followed correctly. Use the supplements and foods we suggested to make sure all your bases are covered.
- Osiecki, Henry (2004). The Nutrient Bible. Eagle Farm, QLD: Bio Concepts Publishing