With the rise of vegans and a more vegan-based lifestyle : there is a lot of questions going around about the health aspects of a vegan diet. A vegan diet means no consumption of animal products (or even byproducts such as honey).
Vegans are stigmatised to only eating vegetables, plants and leafy greens but in actuality, their diet consists of much more. But the question still prevails : is it healthier than other diets?
The first thing that has to be noted is that one diet is not necessarily better than another. It is truly based upon the individual themselves. However with that being said, a lot of people need to be aware that when you remove a food group from your caloric intake (for the sake of a diet) : the diet will not be effective long-term. An example of this is the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet specialises on removing complex carbohydrates (rice, bread, potatoes etc.) from your diet. This is basically removing a huge source of energy from your diet. This will allow you to lose weight effectively, however the effects will not last long-term. Meaning that once your diet is over : you gain weight back as you continue with your previous normal diet (unless you are planning on doing the Atkins diet for the rest of your life).
The vegan-based diet is different. You are not removing a food group (sugars, fats, protein etc). You are basically narrowing the types of food within this food group. A lot of people assume that when you give up animal-based products : you are losing a lot of protein. This is a huge, and the most common, concern with people. They assume that they will not be getting enough protein when they embark on a vegan diet. However, this is not true. Because although they are giving up meats (chicken, beef, lamb, fish etc.), they can still get protein from plant sources. Tempe and soy bean are great sources of protein and they are vegan-friendly. Black beans and lima beans are huge contributors to protein for vegans. Tofu is another great protein source. Therefore as you can see, there are ways of replacing your animal-based products for protein.
Another great aspect to being a vegan is that you get a lot more calories from vegetables and fruits. Because a huge portion of the vegan diet is that. But do not let this fool you. Just because vegan foods seem to have more vegetables and fruits : it does not mean that all vegan products are healthy. Vegan foods have been on a rise with more companies creating more vegan products. So just as there are regular junk foods, there are vegan junk foods too. Because of salt content, sugar content and fat content. Therefore, be aware of that too.
The vegan lifestyle is not for everybody. Certainly not for me. Therefore, a vegan diet is definitely an individual’s choice. A lot of the reasons as to why someone becomes vegan is because of the ethical implications of animals in the food industry. And this is true. Some companies and “farms" treat their animals poorly just for the sake of capitalising on them. Therefore awareness is needed on this. However, everyone is obliged to living and eating based of what they want. Therefore, if you feel passionate about it and believe you can do it : then become a vegan. If not : then do not become a vegan but don’t hate on vegans either.