Is being vegan healthier than eating meat?
We tell you everything you need to know about the fundamental aspects that govern veganism and the characteristics of the vegan diet
Coinciding with World Vegan Day, we propose to reflect on this way of understanding life and better understand what a vegan diet consists of. But veganism goes far beyond mere food, shaping itself as a philosophy that is driven by respect for animals and opposition to their exploitation.
If we stop to think about it, humans tend to use the animal world for their own benefit in many facets of life. We eat largely meat or products from certain animals, we investigate with them to test treatments or creams, and we dress with their skins. And this is precisely what veganism avoids.
To understand the vegan philosophy, you have to think of a way of life of maximum respect for the animal world. It is also a current that opposes speciesism, that is, discrimination according to species. In fact, this is considered the main cause of animal exploitation.
We introduce ourselves to veganism to fully understand its ideas and analyze all its advantages and disadvantages.
What is it to be vegan?
As we have already advanced, veganism is a way of understanding life that rejects any type of animal exploitation. Contrary to what many people think, veganism is not solely a type of vegan diet. There are other facets of human life in which animals are also used for their own interest, regardless of their suffering.
Many of the aesthetic products of big brands are previously tested on animals, as well as garments are manufactured from the skin of different species.
Veganism is strongly opposed to speciesism, which is based on any discrimination for the mere fact of belonging to a specific species. And it is that many people worry about dogs or cats, because they are docile and affectionate domestic animals with the human being. However, these same people do not complain about the situations that other animals such as cows, pigs, chickens or rats must suffer, simply because they do not arouse so much sympathy or are no longer alien to our daily lives. But after all, they are all animals and as such, they should be respected. This is how vegans think and this is what they defend.
What does veganism entail?
With all this, we conclude that veganism involves several issues.
The vegan diet does not include any animal or animal-produced products. In this way, not only meat and fish are avoided, but eggs, milk and honey are also not consumed. Vegans act this way because they claim that animals are prematurely slaughtered or abused to use them as food or take advantage of their resources.
Instead, plant products are the main food source for vegan people.
There is some controversy by some groups about the risk of not consuming substances that are mainly found in products of animal origin. The fat, calcium, iodine, iron, protein and vitamins D and B12 are among the substances that are harder to find in plant foods.
In fact, most of these nutrients are found in very low amounts in vegetables. In some cases, their presence is non-existent in products of plant origin, such as calcium or vitamins D and B12. If you follow a vegan diet, it is necessary to take supplements or fortify foods to supply these substances.
The vegan philosophy rules out the use of animal-tested products. Many creams, facials and cosmetics use this method before they are marketed, so vegans avoid its use.
In these cases, just reviewing the list of components of this type of product and finding out about others of a natural nature that fulfill the same functions is enough.
There are fabrics such as wool, leather or silk that come directly from animals. In the same line of opposition to animal exploitation, vegans tend not to use garments made of these fabrics.
Raw veganism is a trend that proposes consuming the same products as vegans, but raw. Thus, this current eats only food in its natural state, without being treated or cooked.
Differences between vegans and vegetarians
Perhaps many people have doubts about the similarities and differences that exist between vegans and vegetarians.
The truth is that they are two different types of diet, although they have some points in common.
The vegetarian diet is one in which animal products (meat, fish and shellfish) are eliminated, but not necessarily those of animal origin, such as honey, eggs or milk.
For its part, the difference is that veganism, as we have explained, goes beyond the vegan diet itself. It is a way of life that includes certain dietary guidelines, yes, but also other ideas that reject animal exploitation in any field. In addition, in this case they are opposed to products of animal origin such as milk, eggs or honey.
Ovolactovegetarians and strict vegetarianism
Vegetarians are called ovolactovegetarians who consume products of animal origin such as milk, yogurt, cheese or eggs that do not imply the death of the animal. The food trend, also known as strict vegetarianism, is the one that does not include dairy products or eggs in its diet. It is basically the diet that vegans follow.
Advantages of veganism
The main advantage of the vegan diet is the deep respect for the animal world. In fact, it is the main reason anyone decides to start a vegan lifestyle. In addition, it implies a very healthy type of diet that even elite athletes carry out without problems.
But there are also other benefits of eating a vegan diet and lifestyle:
· Low fat and cholesterol diet. Vegan diets are very low in fat and cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is basically found in animal products, as is most fats.
· High fiber diet. On the contrary, it is a diet with a large percentage of fiber, a very beneficial component for the body.
Disadvantages of veganism
· Low protein diet and some other essential nutrients. We already anticipated it a little higher. Vegan diets are usually low in substances and nutrients very necessary for health, such as vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium or proteins, among others. Therefore, make sure to compensate and supplement these substances in some other way. For example, there are drugs with these nutrients or you can simply consume plant foods rich in these nutrients.
· Not appropriate for certain stages of life. On the other hand, another of the disadvantages of the vegan diet comes in very specific phases of life, such as childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, lactation or the elderly. These are stages with much more demanding and complete nutritional needs, so it is necessary to consume proteins and fats of animal origin, which the vegan diet does not contemplate.
· Eating out. Eating out can also be a problem, since not all establishments have specific vegan products. However, it is something that is increasingly present in many bars and restaurants.
With all this information, have you thought if a vegan philosophy would fit into your life, both in terms of food and the way you dress or take care of your body?
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