Myths About Veganism

Some people will say that a vegan diet is too complicated or that it is risky. That it takes too much effort to prepare tasty meals without meat and dairy or that by eliminating these from your diet, you may be exposing yourself to some serious medical issues.

I think its more inconvenient and risky to not be vegan. To continue reading this post, click here..

The “inconvenience” comment is easy to tackle. Whether you eat meat or not, eating a healthy and nutritious diet takes effort. If you think that being healthy is inconvenient, then yes you will probably find eating a vegan diet is an inconvenience. Vegan no different than other healthy diets. It is simply a different mix of food than other diets.

Now the “risks” issue. You want to know what is risky? Eating meat and dairy and being part of a group that has an exponentially higher incidence of heart disease and cancer than vegans. Click here to see just a few of the hundreds of studies that show the link between eating meat and various cancers –> http://www.peta.org/feat/meat/moreInfo.asp. I’ll take my chances with my “risky” diet, thanks.

With any diet if you want to make sure you have optimum health, you need to make sure that your diet provides the full range of essential nutritional elements. In this respect, being a vegan no different than choosing to not eat fish, being lactose intolerant or not being able to eat gluten.

When your diet excludes food sourced from animals there are several essential nutrients that you need to make sure you get. To continue reading this post, click here..

Here are the the 7 major ingredients to ensure are in your vegan diet and why:

1. Protein – For most people, protein requirements are over-emphasized, and deficiency of protein is the most common myth related to the vegan diet. The average person doesn’t need a lot of protein in the first place. Recreational athletes are not required to consume more than 0.5 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and even elite level athletes who require more protein to rebuild muscle strained in hard training, rarely consume more than 0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight (see Lance Armstrong’s personal coach, Chris Carmichael). There are 22 amino acids that the body needs, 8 of which cannot be produced by the body and are considered essential. Many plant sources provide all the amino acids, but in some cases, insufficient amounts are present, so food must be mixed in order to obtain the right amounts of all the essential amino acids. By consuming a wide variety of plant foods, anyone can obtain the right amount of all the essential amino acids.

2. Vitamin B12 – This one is one to watch carefully because your body needs only minute amounts and low B12 intake can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. The symptoms, depression, fatigue or poor memory, would be hard to associate with B12 deficiency. B12 exists in nutritional yeast and several plants, but is not easily absorbed by the body from plant sources and given how important it is, B12 supplementing is advisable. Most dairy alternatives such as rice, almond and soya milk are fortified with B12. Read more about B12 at the Vegan Society.

3. Omega Fatty Acids – There are three important omega fatty acids – 3, 6 and 9. They contribute to heart health, brain health and cancer prevention. While it is a common perception that  these important nutrients come from fish oil, omega acids can come from flaxseed, hempseed, walnuts while omega 6 can be found in whole-grains and soybeans.

4. Iron – The body needs iron to make blood. Good plant sources of iron include whole grains, nuts, green leafy vegetables (except spinach and swiss chard), seeds and dried fruits.

5. Calcium – Calcium serves many functions in the body and there are many good plant based sources of calcium exist. These include seaweeds such as kelp, wakame and hijiki, nuts and seeds (like almonds and sesame), molasses, beans,  oranges, figs, quinoa, broccoli, and kale.

6. Vitamin D – This vitamin helps the body form bone and absorb calcium. It also aids the immune system and can help prevent cancers. Most people obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight (even on cloudy days), but people in northern locations, above the 52nd parallel must either rely on vitamin D stored in the body, or supplement if exposure to sun is rare.

If you are already consciously eating a healthy diet, then eating a vegan diet is not more complicated and it is certainly a great way to avoid the huge risks associated with eating meat and dairy.

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