The potential benefits of a vegan diet have been proven by researchers time and again especially with reference to weight loss. The other day I came across a study indicating that the average vegan diet is higher in vitamin C and fibre, and lower in saturated fat than one containing meat. Statistics also show that vegans have a lower BMI than meat eaters; it means that vegans are less prone to gaining weight than meat eaters.
It is clear that a diet with meat or dairy products is related to increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disease because it is likely to contain more saturated fat. We also know that vegans may consume fewer calories because fat contains more calories per gram than other foods. Lastly, a vegan diet is likely to contain more cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds than a non-vegan diet. Studies suggest that fewer cases of obesity are reported by people following a plant-based diet. It can be a healthier way to eat with fewer reported cases of heart disease and type II diabetes as well.
How healthy a person following a vegan diet can be is a common question that people often ask me. The answer is- it completely depends on what you eat, just like with any other diet. The important thing to note is that a person living purely on plain salted potato chips, for example, is technically on a vegan diet. But can in no way be called healthy. So what you wat and how you eat it matters a lot.
Typically, a varied vegetarian diet contains more folate, less saturated fat, more fibre and antioxidants, plus vegetarians are more likely to exceed the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. These include dairy foods, soya, beans, eggs, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and Quorn. The greater the variety of these foods in your diet, the easier it is to get a blend of the essential amino acids that you need to stay healthy.
In my previous posts, I have put together some ideas for staying happy and healthy on a vegan diet. Today I am going to condense some more ideas into a sort of checklist for those who are struggling to stay vegan. If you can think of something that could be added to this list, do let me know.
Get Some Fat
When on a very low-fat diet, requirements for the essential omega-3 fat can fall short. Hence, diets that eliminate all nuts and seeds or include too little fat may also compromise nutrient absorption. If you tend to favour raw vegetables over cooked, this might hold especially true for you. While switching from a fat-rich omnivore diet to a very low-fat vegan diet, you could generally fell unsatisfied with food too. This will eventually make you feel tempted to add meat back to your diet when all you really need to do is add some healthy fats to meals.
Anaemia or iron deficiency is common among people eating restrictive diets. However, when vegans develop anaemia, we are quick to blame veganism and return to eating red meat. Hence, it is good to know that preventing yourself from iron deficiency only requires eating plenty of whole grains and legumes, along with good sources of vitamin C at meals, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower and cabbage. Iron is dramatically absorbed more with the consumption of vitamin C. Adding meat back to your diet it not the best way to fight iron deficiency.
While all whole plant foods are good for the body, deliberately choosing foods with a low glycemic index can help prevent fluctuations in blood sugar if you’re susceptible to them. Choose sweet potatoes over white; breads made from grains that haven’t been ground into flour; oats, barley and quinoa instead of rice; and beans cooked from scratch rather than canned beans.
Some more tips in the next post. Do keep checking back!
Disclaimer: The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this website.