Thinking of starting a new diet for the Spring season? Well it's not too late to get that Summer body ready and try something new with a vegan diet.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet consists of vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits and other plant based foods. This diets main ideology is based on the belief that we should be making a conscious effort to reduce the consumption of animals and meat for the sake of our personal health and the planet. New research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland could be reduced by more than 75% - an area equivalent to the US, China, EU and Australia combined! (Source: The Guardian)
So what are the benefits of going vegan?
This answer isn't as straightforward as it seems. Like any other diet it all depends on what you eat. Someone living completely on chips for example would technically be following a vegan diet but obviously it wouldn't be healthy in any way.
Research shows that the average vegan diet is higher in vitamin C and fibre and lower in saturated fat than a diet containing meat, all of which are beneficial to the body and contributes to an overall lower BMI (body mass index) than meat eaters. This higher vitamin C will come naturally from the fruit and vegetables and fibre from the grains and plant based foods.
A diet without any meat or dairy products will almost certainly contain a lot less saturated fats as you are cutting out the chocolate and cholesterol from meats which is a direct cause to an increase in heart disease, a disease that kills roughly 600,00 people a year. Additionally, as vegans consume less fat by cutting these items out of their diet this will lead to fewer calories consumed as a result!
However watch out for the vegan diet misconceptions
Just because a food or drink item is labelled as 'vegan' do not assume they are super healthy, this is grossly incorrect. It is vital to look at the ingredient list and nutrition information to see just how much sugar and saturated fats are in your food. Smoothies and fruit juices are the main culprit of this, their inclusion of fruit and veg make them seem suitable for dieting but their high amount of sugar is eye-watering with some containing up to 10g of sugar per 100ml. Another example of this is coconut oil with its large amount of saturated fat, it has many benefits but only in moderation.
(Pictured: The dangers of smoothies and a healthy diet, GreenHealthyCooking)
We hope these tips and guidelines helped you understand the basics of a healthy vegan diet, watch out later this week for a new edition of The Original Vegan blog!