Veganism has been a growing movement in many countries for a long time now. As it is slowly entering the mainstream ways of living and becoming more common, research on vegan diets and lifestyles is being done to know more about their benefits as well as their risks. Today, an increasing number of families and teens are turning vegan due to health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons. But whatever the reason may be, it is important to take a look at your physical requirements and personal beliefs before you begin.
“Being vegan can mean different choices for different people. For some, it is a strict dietary choice while for others it is a compassionate lifestyle.”
Traditional Indian dishes are usually vegan; meat and dairy-free
Made up of only plant-based products, a vegan diet avoids everything animal food-related, including products and by-products like meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. They are low in saturated fats and rich in nutrients. Its health benefits include stabilizing weight, enhancing the heart, reducing the risk of diabetes, and defending against cancer. If planned well, a vegan diet can provide a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein as well. On the other hand, those who incorporate a strict vegan lifestyle do not use any kind of animal product in any form, be it fabric or fashion. They eliminate using or wearing silk, wool, leather, fur, and even soaps or cosmetics made out of animal products. People who are mindful of a sustainable environment usually follow this kind of lifestyle.
When it comes to veganism, people follow it to different extents. A number of vegans go for the healthiest alternatives in their diet. In a typical Indian household, dairy products like ghee, paneer, yogurt, etc. which are high in calcium, are consumed on a regular basis. To switch them to vegan alternatives, one can go for non-dairy products like tofu, chickpeas, broccoli, and lentils, which are plant sources of calcium. Lentils are also a great source of vegan protein. Some studies suggest that vegans have the lowest intake of calcium. To tackle this, many alterna-milks like soy milk and almond milk, which are fortified with calcium and vitamin D can be consumed. Moreover, adding plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds to your diet will provide important vitamins and minerals.
Plant-based milks and a plethora of fruits and veggies that are high in protein, calcium, and fibre are consumed
There is also a thin line between veganism and vegetarianism. Veganism is seen as a stricter form of vegetarianism and more of a lifestyle movement than a dietary one. It’s important to know that while a vegan diet is healthy overall, with benefits like lowering cholesterol and blood pressure among many, it comes with the risks of short-changing you on a few nutrients like Vitamin B12, which is found only in animal products. You may need a supplement to make up for what you don't get from your diet.
You can start slow by following trends like Veganuary, where you can go vegan for a month. Or go vegetarian and then slowly move on to a vegan diet. Look up healthier alternatives to meat and dairy and follow a balanced diet. If you are morally passionate about the environment and animal welfare, live a vegan lifestyle by shopping for vegan clothing retailers. You can be a part of the movement in small, but significant ways. In the end, make your call towards an alternative way of living.