Nowadays, we tend to hear a lot about veganism. More people are opting to transition to this ethical and responsible way of life that acknowledges the dignity of every living creature. Still, this type of diet is nothing new to the world. Vegan diets have been around for years, not merely because of ethical purposes but also because of their accessibility. Veganism entailed an alimentation based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes rich in nutrients that excluded animal products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy. But following a vegan diet is not the same as a plant-based diet. It is a way of life that avoids consumption and exploitation of animal byproducts. This also means not buying products (clothes, self-care, shoes, accessories, medicines) tested on animals or made from animals.
The Challenges of a Vegan Diet
Over time, we transitioned to a movement that represents caring about the environment, our health, animal welfare, and ethics. As a society, we have opened our eyes and realized our impact on the planet and ourselves. People who have committed to veganism are aware of animal exploitation for monetary and dietary purposes. In realizing this, we can help through a food system of resilience: a vegan diet.
Finding Alternative Sources for Nutrients in a Vegan Diet
Scientists are discovering new benefits of vegan diets for our health and our environment; eating fewer animal products is becoming a new popular trend to follow. But there are also challenges and struggles to consider, mainly regarding consuming the right balance of nutrients needed daily. When you remove an entire food category, one must ensure that all nutrients normally found in animal products, like calcium or vitamins, are in our meals. Consider that vitamins D and B12 are not found in plant-based products, so you will need to take a supplement to compensate. Although nutrients, protein, and vitamins can be found in various sources other than meat, you need to be properly informed and advised by a professional nutritionist. That is the first challenge: finding alternatives that provide the right amount of nutrients and protein that your body needs. Otherwise, deficiencies or long-term complications can occur.
Dealing with Changes in Your Body
You will need to deal with body changes, too. It is very common when changing diets to encounter some physical changes. Your body will enter a cleansing process from all the toxins on animal products. Vegan diet benefits will take time before changes in your body become apparent. At first, one can have stomachache or discomfort, headaches, or cravings, but if you follow the advice from your nutritionist and express your concerns. Discomfort is temporary, and the long-term and positive changes are for life. Your body and the planet will thank you.
Dealing with the Stigma of Veganism
Another, and very common struggle, is the social stigma around veganism. Questions around the topic can be tiring, rude, and under-informed. So, be prepared for a heavy number of critics, opinions, and questions that can come your way regarding your decision for a vegan diet. Use this as an opportunity to inspire others to decrease their meat consumption as well.
Finding Vegan Friendly Restaurants and Shops
Being vegan can narrow down the options when going out, which can become one of the greatest struggles. Although the restaurants are increasing their vegan options on their menus, dining out can still be a challenge. You can do a few things to change this: research the place, cook at home, or look for the menu online. You can also be the organizer and choose the venue and, if this does not work, you can ask kindly if the chef can modify your meal.
Want to know more about delicious recipes you can make at home? Go take a look at our friends from Asante Foods to find some alternatives you can cook with their plant-based food options. Go to www.asante.us.
Dealing with Misleading Vegan Products
And, finally, be careful not to be tricked into eating food that is not vegan! Many food chains and companies have deeply thought of their advertisements to approach vegans and include them in the market. But just because it is labeled as a plant-based option does not make it vegan. Remember: plant-based does not mean that the food is entirely free of animal products.
Here are some yoga guides for your vegan diet:
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We live in a moment where a huge amount of people are searching to improve their quality of life through food and a balanced diet. Now a balanced diet means taking care of your health and our planet (our only home) while leaving animal products, exploitation, and cruelty behind. Some struggles may appear, but these walls can be torn down if done with the help of an informed mind and professional guidance. A vegan diet certainly represents a huge personal and social process, where food is carefully considered, and products are scrutinized for any ethical issues. It goes beyond dieting and has a long-term goal to achieve a sustainable life.