Veganism: healthy or not?
Today I want to talk about a very hot topic: Veganism.
First of all, let’s start with the basics:
- What is veganism?
“Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.” (Wikipedia)
- What do vegans eat (or not eat)?
Vegans refrain from eating meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances.
A balanced vegan diet has been linked to several health benefits, including lower rates of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
I have noticed that many people confuse vegan diet with healthy diet. “I want to eat healthier and therefore I will start eating vegan” or “Aw! this dish is vegan, so it is healthy”, etc. I don’t disagree with these statements however it is very important to make informed decisions on what you eat, how it is cooked and what does it contain.
There is an increasing market of plant-based ready meals and fast foods, so it is important to remember that “vegan” does not equal “healthy”. Some (not all!!!!) of the vegan products might contain excess salt, sugar, fat to make them taste better, or even trans fats (they are linked with heart diseases). So please, read the labels carefully before you buy a product.
!!!At this point it is important to mention that not all the processing is bad for you. Fortification for example can add vitamins increasing the accessibility of these nutrients.
Make sure what you eat is cooked healthy. A simple example: French fries are vegan (and freaking delicious) – are they healthy because they are vegan? Now if I compare that dish with a dish of stuffed tomatoes with rice, vegetables, and herbs which is vegan (and extremely tasty), which one do you think is healthier for you? Which dish will give you more and bigger variety of vitamins, and nutrients? You tell me 😉!
It might sound overwhelming to become a vegan at the begging but if this is your life choice, I would highly recommend referring to a nutritionist or a dietologist or a specialist for a nutritionally balanced vegan diet.
To sum up: A balanced vegan diet has been linked to many health benefits. Not all vegan processed products and dishes are healthy. Make sure that you make informed decisions on what you eat, how it is cooked and what does it contain.