If throughout history people were oppressed to quitting on their favourite dishes made from meat and dairy products, the popularity of the vegan diet has truly skyrocketed in the previous decade. But the increased popularity of the plant-based diet isn’t only about reaping the benefits regarding weight loss, but there’s much more to this healthy way of lifestyle.
So, whether you’re looking for a way to incorporate healthier and more sustainable habits, or you’re excited about your vegan diet journey but have no idea where to start from, you came to the right place. We made a list of the health benefits and gathered some tips to help you take a closer look at the vegan diet.
Health Benefits of Being a Vegan
As much as veganism is about promoting ethics about animals’ life and freedom, it doesn’t mean that you can’t give your body the nutrients it needs for proper function when eating plant-based foods. In fact, many studies and researches have shown that the vegan diet has a couple of important benefits for your well being, and here’re only a couple of them:
Improve Your Heart Health
As you probably know, animal products such as meat, cheese and butter are the main dietary sources of saturated fats. But what you probably didn’t know is that eating foods that are rich in saturated fats will raise your cholesterol levels and therefore, the risk of stroke and several heart diseases.
On the other hand, plant-based foods won’t only maintain low cholesterol levels, but they’re also rich in fibre which is linked with better heart health. On top of that, people following the vegan diet consume fewer calories which leads to lower BMI (body mass index) and a reduced risk of obesity as the major cause of heart diseases.
As we already mentioned, people following the plant-based diet have a lower BMI than those who eat animal-based foods. And considering that animal foods are high in fat and calories, replacing them with plant-based substitutes can be a great way to consume fewer calories, and therefore lose excess weight.
However, keep in mind that eating a lot of processed plant-based foods can still be one of the reasons you aren’t losing weight, even when you’re being a vegan.
Reduced Risk for Cancer
Plant-based foods are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and what’s most important, phytochemicals- the biologically active compounds in plants that help protect against cancer. Therefore, being on a vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by an incredible 15%.
On the other hand, many doctors and scientists believe that red meat is carcinogenic, as it’s linked to colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
What Do Vegans Eat?
As much as veganism has a plethora of proven health benefits, have in mind that going vegan isn’t as easy as replacing chicken breast with grilled mushrooms. In fact, vegans avoid all the animal-derived proteins, such as albumin, casein, pepsin, and whey. Such proteins are most commonly found in foods such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, honey and many more.
However, this doesn’t mean that being vegan limits you to vegetables only. In fact, many popular dishes we consume on daily basis can be easily adjusted to the vegan diet. For instance, dairy products can be swapped with plant milk, meat and eggs can be easily replaced with tofu, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils, while honey with natural sweeteners such as maple syrup.
On top of that, many of the dishes we prepare and eat on daily basis don’t even contain ingredients from animal sources. Considering this, you can feel free to make yourself a delicious fruit smoothie, hummus wrap or tomato pasta without breaking the vegan concept.
Not Cooking Savvy? You Can Order Vegan Food Online
Not everyone has the skills to make an exceptionally tasty vegan meal at home. On top of that, the busy lifestyles and dynamic environments of the 21st century can leave you without any time or energy to cook yourself a vegan meal once you get home. Luckily, many places offer healthy and balanced meals that are vegan friendly, and you’re just one “order” button away from this perk. So, whether you’re craving something doughy for lunch, or you’re in the mood for a vegan-friendly meat dish for tonight’s dinner, you can easily buy vegan pie and savouries online.
For instance, the plant-based version of the classic Australian pie is one of the most favoured dishes among vegans and is offered by a bunch of reputable bakeries selling vegan products in our land. When it comes to the ingredients, you can rest assured that you’re eating wheat-based dough filled with chickpeas instead of ground beef and spiced up with a lot of delicious herbs.
Except for vegan pies, you can also put the delicious vegan sausage rolls on today’s lunch or dinner menu. You don’t even have to get engaged in the kitchen, as your favourite bakery or restaurant will make sure to fill your rolls with shiitake mushrooms, chickpeas, carrots, potatoes and onions instead of beef, pork or sausage mince.
On the other hand, for the moments when you’re in rush and looking to eat something on-the-go, there’re many vegan pastries that will keep your stomach full until the next meal. For instance, wholemeal oggies and different vegan savouries can be the perfect option to beat hunger and still enjoy a mix of crunchy dough and wholesome vegetable filling.
As long as you’re willing to keep up with the plant-based diet, you can always find a bunch of quality eating spots where you can buy vegan pie, vegan pastries, quiches and many other delicious plant-based dishes.
Side Effects of Being a Vegan
Like every other diet, the plant-based one can also have some side effects due to the change of sources of nutrients.
For instance, if you’re incorporating a vegan lifestyle to get rid of excess weight, have in mind that eating smaller portions of animal-based food isn’t the same as eating smaller portions of plant-based meals. More specifically, plant-based foods aren’t as rich in calories and can bring your energy levels down. To prevent this, it’s best to ensure that you’re consuming the recommended daily dose of calories, even when following the vegan diet.
Except for that, it’s not uncommon for people who stop consuming animal-based foods to experience nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, long-chain omega3, zinc, calcium, iron etc… To ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients for proper body function, it’s best to plan nutritious and balanced vegan meals in advance and include B-complex vitamins and other supplements into your daily routine.
Finally, as the vegan diet suggests replacing milk and dairy with soy products, it’s not uncommon for vegans to turn to soy milk and tofu as a main source of protein. However, keep in mind that consuming more than the recommended amount of soy can negatively impact the hormonal levels of your body and cause a hormonal imbalance, skin breakouts, irregular menstrual cycle and hair fall. But there’s no need to panic, as you can easily prevent this by eating balanced vegan meals that don’t lack any nutrients required for proper body function.