A vegan diet is a form of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal-derived ingredients and food. Most vegans also do not consume foods that are processed by consuming animal products. Being vegan is a lifestyle and not just a diet because vegans refrain not only from eating animals but also from buying silk, leather, or wool, as well as staying away from events that use animals for entertainment because they are against animal enslavement of any kind.
What is included in vegan diet?
It is a widespread misconception that vegan diet only includes a salad for every meal, which is obviously not true. Vegan diet comprises of all grains, vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits vegetables, and all the foods made from their combination.
So, the vegan diet includes the common everyday foods that everyone else eats like sandwiches, pasta, salads, chips, popcorns, bread, etc. but the only difference is that these foods contain no dairy or meat ingredient.
Types of vegan
Did you know that there are different types of vegans? Sure, there is only a single rule to follow, and it is not to consume animals’ products and by-products, but there are variations based on different types of the diet which are discussed below:
Raw Vegan: Raw vegans only consume raw, plant-based foods that are not heated above 45 degrees Celsius. For this kind of cuisine, soaking seeds and nuts, and sprouting grains, legumes and rice are the popular choices.
Whole-food vegan diet: It is a diet based on a wide variety of whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
80/10/10 vegans: These individuals eat a raw-food vegan diet and limits fat-rich plants such as avocado and nuts and mainly rely on raw fruits and soft greens. They are also referred to as the low-fat, raw-food vegans or fruitarians.
The starch solution vegans: These vegans follow a low-fat, high-carb vegan diet similar to the 80/10/10 but with focus on cooked starches such as rice, potatoes, and corn as a substitute of fruit.
Raw till 4 vegans: These vegans consume low-fat vegan diet encouraged by the 80/10/10 and starch solution in which raw foods are eatable until 4 p.m., with the option of a cooked plant-based meal for dinner.
Thrive diet vegans: Thrive diet followers eat only plant-based, whole foods which are raw or nominally cooked at low temperatures.
Junk-food vegan diet: This vegan diet lacks in whole plant foods which rely heavily on cheese, mock meats, and vegan desserts fries and several other heavily processed vegan foods.
Vegan Health Benefits
People choose to go vegan for various reasons. It can be due to the unethical treatment of animals or simply because they want to reap the hoping to reap the health benefits of a vegan diet. Because, it is no brainer that increasing your vegetable and fruit intake has major health incentive but only if you do it the right way and this is exactly what vegan diet is about, consuming a natural and nutrients rich, balanced diet.
Therefore, consuming a vegan diet is linked to many health benefits, and extensive health research has proved it. And it is the reason behind the Australian Dietary Guidelines included vegan diet and stated it to be a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet for and during all stages of the life cycle.
It can help you lose weight
As vegans consume more nutrient-dense foods packed with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, it tends to make them more satiated after having meals. Which, in turn, can help in controlling weight as they don’t feel the need to eat more at random times.
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine examined 12 different studies compared individuals consigned to a vegetarian diet to people on a non-vegetarian diet. And the results presented that the vegetarians were able to lose an average of 4.4 pounds more than the non-vegetarians.
It can help reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease risk
One of the principal benefits of going vegan is that vegan diet can minimize the risk of several health risks such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, thanks to phytonutrients. Phytonutrients is a substance found in vegetables and fruits that delivers various kinds of health improvements.
A study found that vegans were able to reduce their total cancer risk by around 15 percent as compared to meat-eaters. In a comprehensive study conducted in the field of diet and disease found plant-based diets to be interlinked with decreased risks of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases.
You get to enjoy low-calorie intake with high nutritional quality, which is what really optimizes your digestion and energy, giving the body what it needs to be healthy.
Vegan diet cleans you intestines
It is no secret that a diet rich in fiber and plant-based food cleans out your intestines. It is because insoluble fiber holds more water, which, in result, bulk up waste and assists bowel movements to pass more smoothly. So, having vegan diet means that you will be noticing bigger, frequent, and softer stools.
It can lead to stronger bone health
Although there is conflicting data that disputes whether vegan diet is a source of stronger bones or not. However, some studies have found that the low acid load in vegetables and fruits can protect against the decrease in bone mineral density. It is because the low acid decreases bone resorption, which is a process that breaks down the bones and discharges minerals from the bone into the blood.
Studies further show that countries, having the highest rates of dairy consumption, also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Lower the risk of heart diseases
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and legumes is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. It is because the vegan diet focuses on a balanced diet which is vital to control cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and eventually suffering from heart diseases.
A comprehensive review of 27 different studies looked at individuals following plant-based diets and concluded that people who consumed vegetarian or vegan diets coupled with nuts, and/or fiber, were able to lower their cholesterol level by up to 35 percent. Another study found vegetarians to be able to decrease their heart disease risk by 25% when compared to meat-eaters.
Reduced pain from arthritis
According to health studies, vegan diet casts positive effects on individuals suffering from different types of arthritis. These studies showed when people having arthritis consumed a vegan diet; they experienced a significant improvement in symptoms, including pain, swelling, joint swelling, and morning stiffness.
It's a nutrient-rich diet
Vegan diet means to you to add plenty of nutrients into your diet and consuming a balanced diet. With our typical diet, you may think you're getting all the needed nutrients through your meals, but you will be surprised to find out that you actually lack in the likes of healthy vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, magnesium and more. It is because our regular diet or the non-vegan diet stops your body from fully absorbing all the nutrients.
On the other hand, when you go vegan, it stops you from replacing the fruits and vegetables with animal foods. And consume more nuts, beans, peas, legumes, and more. So, yeah it is undoubtedly a nutrient powerhouse.
Lower blood sugar levels
There is no doubt about the Western diet being bad for blood sugar levels. As a matter of fact, the western diet is linked to a growing concern of people suffering from Type II diabetes. However, vegan diet, on the other hand, can help to remedy that as vegan health studies show that about half of vegans have been able to decrease the amount of diabetes medication they require as compared to over a quarter of non-vegans.
Majority of studies have also shown that individuals on a vegan diet have a 50 to 78% lower chance of getting Type II diabetes in the future as opposed to the non-vegans. Furthermore, this benefit is seen in both people with no signs and people who were diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
This is possible because of the change in food focus. Individuals on a vegan diet emphasis more on consuming whole grains and fiber-filled foods. And as these foods break down slowly, they keep the sugar levels down. Vegan diet also tends to skip chocolates, candies, and other refined foods items because they usually contain animal products in some way.
It can help get rid of acne and have a better skin
It is obvious that leaving dairy, processed snacks, and hormone-injected meats will impact your skin in the right way. So, going can help benefit your skin due to its restriction of dairy intake and encouraging the use of foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables.
A massive body of research shows that removing dairy from patients' diets improved their acne conditions and also improved the overall health of the skin.
So, all in all, the vegan diet has some major health perks, but their acquisition is only possible through the consumption of a balanced diet.