Making the decision to become a vegan will provide you with several positive health benefits, and it will also enable you to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
In fact, studies have proven that producing just one pound of meat requires approximately 2,400 gallons of water, but producing one pound of wheat can be done with only 25 gallons. For this reason alone, going vegan is one of the most environmentally conscious decisions that you can make.
When you add the fact that your health will improve and you will no longer contribute to the suffering of animals, it is easy to understand why so many people have switched to this lifestyle. However, it is important to have a firm understanding of the best way to eat a nutritionally balanced vegan meal so that you can continue with a plant based diet for the long haul.
What is the Difference Between the Vegetarian and Vegan Diet?
Many people become confused about the difference between vegans and vegetarians. Although there are considered to be many different stages of vegetarianism, the most common definition is an individual who does not eat any meat but will consume dairy products such as cow’s milk, cheese and eggs.
Vegans take this concept one step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. In other words, anything that is made from or with the assistance of animals is off-limits, including dairy. There are several health and ethical reasons that a person could choose to become a vegetarian or vegan, but veganism has the biggest positive impact on the individual’s health and the environment.
What are the Challenges Associated with Being a Vegan?
In the past, it was difficult on a social level because there was a lack of knowledge about the topic and most restaurants did not include vegan options on their menu. Fortunately, both of these issues are rapidly diminishing, and this is making it easier than ever to switch to a plant based diet.
However, vegans do need to be cognizant of their nutritional needs so that they get the most out of their lifestyle choice. For example, nutritionists have stated that the human body needs omega-3 fatty acids, but vegans cannot consume fish or fish oil pills. This is not an issue, though, because you can still provide your body with this essential nutrient by eating walnuts, flax seeds, vegan omega-3 DHA, purslane, hemp seeds and flax oil.
Similar substitutions can be made for everything your body needs. In fact, many non-vegans believe that getting enough protein would be problematic, but this quite simply is not the case. After all, it is easy to get high quantities of protein from lentils, black beans, veggie burgers, tofu, bagels, pasta, peanut butter, soy products, whole wheat bread and even potatoes. In other words, everything that you have ever heard about the vegan diet being low in protein is a myth.
Staying Vegan for the Long Haul
As you can see, there are many options for vegans to achieve all of their nutritional needs. Therefore, as long as you carefully plan out each of your meals and snacks, it should not be difficult to adhere to this diet for the rest of your life. As an added bonus, you will experience several health benefits such as the reduced risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease.
Whether you are concerned about your health, animal rights, the environment or any combination of these three important factors, it makes perfect sense to embrace the vegan lifestyle. Now that you have a better understanding of how easy it is to become and stay a vegan, you should definitely consider making the switch.
Many people start by having a meat and dairy free day a couple of times per week to help them with the transition, and this will quickly highlight how many delicious vegan food options are available.
Health enthusiast Mellisa Coldel A Corte has a nursing background and furthers her career as the owner and operator of a natural living health site, EverydayWisdomforHealthyLiving.net. She shares her love and interest in living a more natural and environmentally friendly way to help benefit others.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/8411841617/