A Vegan Diet means abstaining from any animal products. This include eggs, milks, cheeses, honey, and other products that come directly from animals.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Each year, on November 1, the people around the globe celebrate World Vegan Day. And, although it's not always the most widely publicized event, it's still any important one that’s been going strong since 1994.
But what does it mean to follow a vegan diet? Is there more to veganism than just avoid animal-based foods?
The Basics History of Veganism
In truth, veganism is a sort of very strict vegetarianism.
While many vegetarians eat eggs and dairy, though, vegans avoid absolutely any product that comes from an animal source – extending beyond diet and impacting their choice of clothing and cosmetics as well.
Although, vegetarianism has roots dating back centuries to various cultures in India and the Mediterranean, the more restrictive veganism is a little more modern.
The term was first coined by a British woodworker named Donald Watson in 1944 and explained in detail in his Vegan Society newsletter.
There are lots of reasons that people decide to shun animal products, including environmental, ethical and religious interests.
The meat industry, for example, is pretty famously responsible for large-scale pollution and climate change. By refusing to support that industry, vegans feel like they are making a more ecologically-safe life choice.
But, are there any health reasons to follow a vegan diet?
As it turns out, that's a pretty hotly debated subject in the scientific literature. Granted, a plant-based diet will be rich in a variety of micronutrients.
And, if properly planned, can easily provide all the macronutrients that the human body needs. For this reason, vegans tend to be thinner and have healthier cardiovascular systems.
Unfortunately, there are also several vital nutrients that are commonly lacking from a vegan diet. This includes vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3s – all of which are difficult to find in vegan foods.
Things to Consider
To safely transition to veganism, then, some planning is necessary.
Many vegan foods are fortified with the above-mentioned ingredients and supplements are available. So, if you do decide to stick with a vegan diet, you have some options.
It's also important to point out that the nutrients of concern are found in vegan foods, just in very small quantities. With a little bit of research and work, it is possible for vegans to get what they need from their diets.
A plant-based diet will be stuffed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and most of the nutrients needed for proper function of the human body.
But of course, health isn't the only reason that people choose to abstain from animal-products. If you do decide to make the switch, remember that there is a risk of nutrient deficiency of plan accordingly.
Many people, when they first transition over, find it easier to gradually remove animal products from their routine, rather than just jumping in all at once.