Introduction (Go Vegan?)

[Photo: Taken by author]

 

There are a lot of sources about veganism, going vegan, nutrition, best places to dine out, tons of recipes, meal preps etc.
In my attention is to take summary from all and write it down in an easy, simple way to show you, dear reader, what veganism is and what benefits you can gain from it. So take a cup of green tea, get cozy and “dig into” this informative article.
So what is this beast called veganism?
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” – vegansociety.com

Veganism is not only about diet, we are against cruelty towards animals and exploiting them for our needs.

There are three main reasons why people should consider to go vegan. I will introduce you to them.

  • Health aspects

  • Ethical aspects

  • Environmental aspects

Because I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011, my main reason to try out vegan lifestyle, at least in the beginning, were health aspects. I was doing one of my researches and I bumped into some articles about veganism, they intrigued me, so I kept on seeking for more information. That was the same time where I had started to watch some health and lifestyle vloggers in YouTube.com and I notice some vegan vloggers, so I started to watch them and follow up. This is one of those things which my curiosity brought me to. There was no particular person, event, moment or advice from anyone. I didn’t even know any vegan at that time. It all was new for me. So I did a lot of research and I gave it a try. In beginning, I tried out, in addition to my usual diet, some vegan products, meals and went to some restaurants, while I was still in Paris. I liked it and I considered to try to stick to a completely vegan diet for some time at least, just to see how my body reacts and if it can cope with it. I had to postpone this idea for some time due to some external circumstances. When the right time came, everything set in how it should be with no pressure.

Then, in one day, I decided to stop consuming any animal products for some time and since then I haven’t gone back to my previous diet and it is not into my intention to do so. I can say that my mind and body feels great, satisfied and I don’t feel that I’m missing out anything.

Now I will share some facts about the effects animal product have on our body and what benefits are from a plant-based diet.

Health aspects 

Several studies have been shown that consuming proteins and fats from animals increases the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease.

Further, I will be talking about balanced healthy vegan diet, not junk food vegan diet. However, if your not a healthy lifestyle person, you can still go Vegan, there are tons of yummy vegan snacks, sweets, and products, for each single “normal” meal you can find vegan replacement, also cheese, sausages, cakes, cookies, even “meat” dishes etc which tastes really close to “normal” food. I just would recommend you to go for healthy, not junky veganism. I am for a healthy lifestyle and on a daily basis, I am consuming more whole foods. Clean eating is the best for your body. Our mind and spirit need to be healthy as well, so every now and then I try out some vegan snack, a piece of cake or whatever else I am craving for, still, I prefer homemade sweets and snacks.

Vegetables, legumes, greens, fruits and whole grains don’t contain cholesterol and are low in fat, especially saturated fats. They are high in fiber vitamins and minerals. There are a lot of plant-based foods that are good sources of protein. Studies have been shown that it’s possible with balanced vegan diet to get the right amount of proteins and other nutrition. There are a lot of athletes who are on a vegan diet.

There is only one vitamin which has not been found in plant-based diet – B12, which is vital for good health and normal body function. You can read down below, how you can get it.

Main benefits of a vegan diet:

  • Reduces risk of several deceases and conditions.

  • Lover BMI (body mass index) or in other words, you don’t have to restrict yourself (if you’re on a balanced healthy plant-based diet) while still getting all nutrition and being lean and healthy (regular exercises are necessary as well for good health)

  • You will have higher energy levels

  • Healthy skin, hair, and nails

  • Possibilities are that you will get rid of several allergies if you had them. Dairy, meat, and eggs are often cause of several allergies.

  • Lower intake of sugar (most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones)

  • Normal hormonal balance

However, there are several vitamins and minerals which can go low if you’re on a vegan diet, so down below I will write down on which nutrition you should pay more attention and where you can find them.

B12

“…are needed by all vegans, and also by EVERYONE over the age of 50, no matter their diet. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nasty side effects such as anemia, nerve damage, heart disease or pregnancy complications…” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in plant-based kinds of milk, breakfast cereals, yogurts, spreads, yeast extracts and nutritional yeast products where is added vitamin B12.

A supplement is another option.

Protein

“…Grains and pulses are good plant-based protein sources. Seitan, aka wheat gluten, contains just as much protein, if not more, than a beef steak. And, like fellow protein-rich foods tempeh and tofu, it can be bought cheaply as mock meat from Asian supermarkets. “

“…A diet comprising a variety of plant protein sources will include all the essential amino acids you need. There are a few plant-based foods which contain all the essential amino acids, namely soya, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth (‘complete’ proteins). But you don’t need to eat complete proteins at each meal. Your body can store and combine the essential amino acids. So stick to a balanced diet, and you’ll be fine.” – vegansociety.com

You can find protein in different kind of beans – chickpeas, lentils -, soy products (milk, tofu, tempeh etc.)

Nuts – mostly in almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios

Seeds – sesame, pumpkin, sunflower

Grains – wheat, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, pasta, bread, seitan

Omega 3

Good sources are some nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax, hemp, chia, mustard) Flax and chia seeds should be grounded to absorb as many nutrients as possible.

You can use rapeseed (canola) oil as well.

In some products, omega-3 is added as extra.

Iron

“It’s straight-forward to obtain enough iron when you eat a rainbow of lightly processed vegetables, fruits and other whole plant foods each day. In fact, research has shown that vegans have average iron intakes that are similar to or higher than those of non-vegans, and higher than the recommended daily allowance.” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in legumes, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, green leafy vegetables, potatoes.

As well you can find it in soy, parsley, watercress, edible seaweeds, dark chocolate etc.

Iodine

“Iodine is a slightly challenging mineral. Too little or too much iodine can lead to problems with your thyroid, which controls how your body uses food energy…” – vegansociety.com

You can use supplements or iodized salt (please, check out more information about this mineral and use proper amounts. You can simply click on the added link on top of this)

Calcium

“Calcium is often thought of as a nutrient that helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. It is also involved in your nervous system, blood clotting and controlling your muscles…” – vegansociety.com

Vegan-friendly and good sources are tofu, milk, yogurt alternatives and bread with added calcium

Other options – kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds

 

One of the sources which I used, where you can find the required daily dose and a wider information about vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

Ethical aspects

After doing research I came across information about meat, dairy and egg industry, those horrifying footage just got my brain to click and I wasn’t able to look at these products as a food anymore. Cruelty towards these living beings is insane and I don’t want to take a part in to support that anymore. Health reasons are good to try out vegan diet but in long run it might not be enough, because person can be healthy as well on balanced diet where meat, dairy, and eggs are included, so ethical reason is the main aspect to stay vegan, it’s difficult to turn back after getting to know the truth about meat, dairy and egg industries.

“Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere…” – vegansociety.com

I kindly recommend you to take off that eye shield which these industries have been putting on your eyes (money rolls the world, let’s not forget this) and watch this footage:

Environmental aspects

In general, we try to help our planet and we tend to switch off electricity if not needed, use bikes instead of cars, use fabric grocery bags, buy organic food, recycle and so on. A lot of people are not aware of the damage that is caused by the production of meat and other animal products.

“…The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment…”- vegansociety.com

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[Infographic: From Mercy For Animals website]

I want to share with you, reader, also my personal opinion about veganism. I will be able to give larger perspective after some time since fully I have been into it only from the end of December 2016 (doing research, trying out some vegan products, restaurants etc. since June 2016)

However, I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011 and I can find benefits for myself even after so short time switching to vegan diet. I am not a lower of cooking, but veganism provoked interest in cooking. I have tried out different recipes and even more opened up my imagination because I like experimenting with different tastes, now I have even bigger urge to try out new things.

I included in my diet even more legumes, beans, grains – whole foods in general. I discovered a lot of products, I started to cook more, to do more research about things, to find new places and things in relation to veganism, met like-minded people, started to care even more about animals and I try to help them in ways I can care even more about our planet, I have more energy, so I have more power to do things I love. I am happy that with my actions I can help the planet and living beings.

In following posts, in this section, I will write how to go vegan, some review about vegan products, brands, vegan clothing, shoes, make up products, also some recipes, but this is not and probably won’t be a vegan recipes blog, it is meant to be more informative, but will see, time will tell, I don’t have cravings for becoming a “guru” in the kitchen, but who knows haha… So about vegan lifestyle in general.

My food photos and ingredients you can check out on my Instagram account if you’re interested.

So I hope to see you in my next posts!

Some sites for useful information which I would advice you to check out:

www.vegansociety.com

www.vegan.com

www.veganhealth.org

nutrition.org

Movies/videos  and documentaries to watch:

Books:

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12 thoughts on “Introduction (Go Vegan?)

  1. Yes, because even if I like to be vegan and I know what benefits I get from it and how great it is, I still believe that person needs to have interest, to begin with, to reach for more information, especially at first, when it’s all new. I am not the one who will go that path in others place. I am more likely pleased and happy to show the way and help if needed 🙂

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  2. Hey there! I watched Cowspiracy not too long ago and that’s when I decided to go vegan (ethical and environmental reasons). It’s been quite a transition and I’m still finding it hard to avoid some of the things that I love, like yogurt for breakfast. Any tips or substitutes for this?

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    1. Hi 🙂
      That is great that you made this change in your life. I wish you nice road to your new life. Understandable that it is not as easy, quite big changes, because it is not only about food, it affects all aspects of life. I wish you to have a little patience, don’t force yourself too hard (unless you are a person, where goes well methods like “all or nothing”). It will be OK, just keep on learning more about veganism, try different recipes, replace your previous products with alternatives (can’t just take all off, your mind will go crazy), and meet some like-minded people 👍
      About yogurts, I understand you, I had natural or greek yogurt almost every day before I went vegan.
      It depends where are you from. Yummy are vegan yogurts like So Delicious and Daiya (USA, Canada). I have tried them, sooo good! I’m from Europe, so I would recommend Alpro yogurts and production, yummy as hell, I don’t miss milk products since I discovered that there are so many good options of plant based alternatives. There are a lot of more vegan brands. You can find also natural yogurts etc 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting post. I coincidentally wrote a Bachelor thesis on Raw Foodism and find that I see many things here that I recognize from the results I got from my study and the people I interviewed. It really taught me from just how many angles a lifestyle like Veganism can be approached, which makes it all the more interesting to me. I’m not planning on going vegan myself anytime soon but I think that reading your article and gaining a better understanding of what it is is a good first step to take (for anyone really). Great read!
    Would you be interested in sharing your thoughts and posts with our community of health, fitness and nutrition enthusiasts over at “The Active You”? We’d love to hear what you have to say. You can check us out over at https://www.facebook.com/groups/theactiveyou!

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