by Oasis Wellness Partners on February 18, 2020
This week, we are focusing our attention on the Vegan diet, one that has been enjoying alot of attention in the news and on social media. A plant-based diet seems ideal–fresh produce, whole grains, and easy on the planet. Right? Well, the Vegan diet is not for everyone, and ALWAYS speak to your doctor or a dietition before starting any kind of restrictive diet to make sure it is right for your health needs.
A vegan diet includes no animal products. Animal products can mean anything from meat (including fish), cheese, eggs, honey, and gelatin (a food ingredient obtained by boiling the skin, bones, or tendons of animals). If a food is made by or out of an animal, it’s not vegan.
A vegan diet, also known as a plant-based diet, can be rich in anything else – fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes. Most grocery stores stock a variety of vegan products and more and more major fast-food chains are following suit to cater to the growing number of people eating animal-free.
Over the past decade, the American Dietetic Association announced that vegetarian and vegan diets may be considered adequate nutritionally and even help prevent or reverse certain health conditions. Here are some commonly perceived benefits of a vegan diet.
Veganism is a unique lifestyle as its devotees often have both moral and health reasons for choosing it. Most vegans say that animal welfare as the number one benefit of veganism. Most vegans are against animal exploitation and cruelty, which are all too often components of conventional meat and dairy industries. However, some vegans may adopt eschewing animal products for religious reasons. Religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism advocate against the use of animal products.
Because the meat and dairy industries continue to grow globally, there is concern about the amount of energy and water needed to sustain them. Vegans believe that the production of meat and animal products is harmful to the planet, citing the increasing amount of crops needed for conventionally-raised animals and fish and the energy involved in transport.
Research has found that plant-based diets, particularly vegan diets, if planned well, can help reduce the risk of heart diseases like high blood pressure. President Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet after he had a quadruple bypass and claims it has “kept him alive”
Compared to a standard American diet which is often high in processed foods, a vegan diet is higher in nutrients. The increased fruit consumption on a vegan diet also provides a greater number of antioxidants.
Following a vegan diet has been associated with reduced risks of obesity and Type II diabetes. Vegans typically have a lower body weight and the vegan diet has been found to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels in people with Type II diabetes. There is also speculation that the lower glycemic load of a plant-based diet contributes to a reduced risk of diabetes.
Because it focuses on fruits and vegetables, a vegan diet may help prevent or lessen the risk of some cancers.
A vegan diet on its own may not supply you with all the nutrients you need in adequate amounts. For populations that require increased nutrients or who have special nutrient needs such as growing children, pregnant women, pre-menopausal women, athletes, and the elderly, a vegan diet is inadequate without supplementation. It is best to discuss this with a health care provider and dietitian.
You tolerate beans, grains, and soy well
If you don’t notice any digestive or blood sugar issues after regularly consuming grains and legumes, you may do well on a vegan diet. Soy is also used commonly in vegan diets because it is a complete protein.
It is important that you feel energized, satiated, and have steady blood sugar after you eat.
If you have a healthy gut and don’t notice any digestive issues, you may be able to thrive on a vegan diet. Since vegans rely on nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, those with compromised gut function may find the diet worsens their condition. In addition, excess fiber consumption may be a concern for some people as it can trigger inflammation.
Vegans typically carry less body fat then people who consume the average American diet. If you’re overweight and find that veganism helps you lose excess weight, it may be a reasonable diet for you. If you’re average weight and find that you’re able to maintain a healthy weight on veganism, you may also want to continue the diet.
If you choose to explore veganism, it’s best to be thoroughly prepared. Here are some suggestions for safe ways to go vegan.
Before starting a vegan diet, consult your doctor or another qualified practitioner to ensure going vegan is safe for you. If you get the green light, you may want to consider consulting a dietitian who specializes in plant-based diets for support and help. They can help you form a diet plan and offer emotional support as well.
At Oasis Wellness Center, we offer many modalities to assist you in finding the healthy lifestyle that is right for you. Give us a call at our Scarborough, Maine Wellness Center to set up an appointment with a chiropractor or health coach to discover how you can live your best life! (207) 883-5549.
Here is a recipe for a Quinoa and Avocado Salad–try it and enjoy!
This Avocado Quinoa Salad is a powerhouse salad packed with good-for-you ingredients and the best healthy lemon vinaigrette.
Calories: 313 kcal
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prep the dressing. Whisk the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste), and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste) together in a small bowl. Slowly add in the olive oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking briskly. Whisk in the lemon juice. Pour into a jar and store in the fridge while prepping the vegetables.
Prep the veggies: Halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the cucumber (peel if desired, we leave the peel on), finely chop a quarter of a red onion, roughly chop fresh spinach, remove the pits and chop the avocados. Finely chop the cilantro if desired.
In a large bowl, add in all the prepped veggies and quinoa. Remove the dressing from the fridge and shake it well and then pour over the salad*. Toss the salad and enjoy immediately.