Is a vegan lifestyle healthy?
Many people adopt a vegan lifestyle while others consume meats and products made from animals. Being vegan means not consuming or using any products that are made from animals, including dairy, honey, gelatin, and fish-derived oils. Many vegans believe the vegan lifestyle is the healthiest and that consuming plants and whole grains will provide all the necessary nutrition. So what does a vegan lifestyle entail, and is it right for you?
The foods in a vegan diet are rich in certain types of diets, like vitamins A and K, and because of the plant-based foods chosen, it can be high in fiber and phytonutrients as well. While many
people on this diet have improvements in health and cholesterol levels, there is some concern about problems with vitamin and nutrient deficiencies of a strict vegan diet. Vitamin B12, iron, and calcium deficiencies can be problematic. Calcium is found predominantly in dairy products, and iron is essential and found in many red meats. Deficiencies of Omega-3 can be a concern as well. If you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle, it is important to eat a wide range of fruits, veggies, and grains including fortified foods to make sure these essential vitamins and minerals are met. A less strict form of vegetarianism would allow a greater range of foods including dairy and eggs and may be more sustainable than a strict vegan diet. Whether you decide to go vegan, vegetarian, or follow a diet including animal meats and products, it is important to discuss any dietary changes with your physician or dietician to ensure your caloric and vitamin needs are being met.