A plant-based diet centers around foods derived from plants, with little or no animal products. Think of meals prepared predominantly using vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruits, and you’ll get the idea. The subtle difference between a plant-based diet and a vegan diet is that while the former may incorporate meat minimally, the latter is entirely non-animal. Here, we would also like to point out the difference between vegans and vegetarians. Vegetarians eat animal-derived products such as dairy but vegans largely ignore animal-based products, including eggs, milk and honey.
Plant-based recipes may include the following ingredients:
– Vegetables like kale, cauliflower, collard greens, carrots and lettuce
– Fruits like bananas, grapes, mangoes, oranges, blueberries and strawberries
– Whole grains like barley, rice, quinoa, oats and whole wheats
– Legumes like chickpeas, lima beans, black beans, kidney beans and lentils
– Tubers and starchy vegetables like yams, potatoes, green peas, corn, zucchini, pumpkin and squash
A plant-based diet can certainly be nutritious, but there is no denying the fact that you will not be getting as much of the vitamins and minerals afforded by a meat-based diet. This is one of the disadvantages of plant-derived, non-animal meal plans. Let’s explore the drawbacks as well as benefits of reducing or doing away with meat.
Good nutrient quality
Studies comparing the nutritive value of a vegan versus animal-based or omnivorous diet have found that the former has a better fat intake profile and the highest dietary fiber intake. The overall nutrient quality is also quite high. This is what it means for your body:
• Reducing the amount of saturated fat from your diet promotes good cardiovascular health.
• A high-fiber diet contributes to healthier bowel movements. Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and stomach troubles have found relief after switching to a vegan, gluten-free diet.
• Plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants, which have protective properties for the heart, eye, memory, immune system and skin. Antioxidants may also protect your body against certain types of cancer, though more research is required to establish this fact.
Enhanced physical appearance
A meat-free diet can lower BMI and aid weight loss in a meaningful way. That’s not all, the vitamins A and E your body receives from the daily intake of vegetables, help in maintaining healthy skin, fading blemishes and normalizing pigmentation. Cutting out red meat and dairy also reduces body odor and bad breath.
Famous vegans include Jessica Chastain, Ellen DeGeneres (who never seems to age), Alicia Silverstone, Venus Williams, Bill Gates, and Liam Hemsworth.
The production of animal protein requires as much as over eight times the fossil fuel energy that is needed for the production of plant protein. By switching to a plant-based diet, you will be doing your bit for environmental sustainability.
The issue of hormones in the meat industry
It is unfortunate that we live in a world where cows and salmon are injected, implanted or genetically engineered to do more – produce more milk or grow faster than normal. Unlike Europe, which has stringent laws on the use of hormones in food production, the U.S is less strict. A vegan diet eliminates the ingestion of hormones and the associated health problems, which include tumors, prostate cancer, and early puberty in girls.
A slight deficiency in essential nutrients
A diet that significantly minimizes or eliminates all animal products may not give your body the optimal quantity of nutrients. Plant-based or vegan diets may miss out on key nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin D. For instance, vitamin D is found naturally in just a few foods such as egg yolk and fatty fish.
In particular, plant-based diets can cause a deficiency in vitamin B12, a metabolism booster which is critical to the normal running of the central nervous system. Vegans with a severe B12 deficiency may complain of fatigue, poor appetite and constipation.
Proper supplementation with multivitamins is extremely important for anyone who follows a strict plant-based diet. It is the commonsensical approach that nutritionists and physicians recommend to help achieve a more balanced intake of all key nutrients necessary to the body’s healthy functioning, without having to compromise on the basic values propagated by a plant-based or vegan lifestyle.
Not as big a choice when dining out
Though vegan restaurants are cropping up like never before, you may still find it a bit difficult to find true vegan choices. If you’re traveling to a country where you don’t expect to find vegan restaurants, it is best to carry your own snacks and food. Meanwhile, check out this directory of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the United States and Canada.
Initial digestive troubles (which you can easily avoid)
A sudden transition to a plant-based diet can put some pressure on your digestive system. A slow increase in fiber intake is necessary to help your body adapt and adjust to the new change. It is helpful to stay optimally hydrated throughout the day to ease digestion and feel fresher for longer.
THE CONTENT AVAILABLE VIA THE WEB SITE IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT NEITHER VEGANLY NOR ITS SUPPLIERS OR USERS ARE ENGAGED IN RENDERING MEDICAL, COUNSELING, LEGAL, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES OR ADVICE.
SUCH CONTENT IS INTENDED SOLELY AS A GENERAL EDUCATIONAL AID. IT IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL OR HEALTHCARE ADVICE, OR TO BE USED FOR MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT, FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL PROBLEM. IT IS ALSO NOT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND SERVICES FROM A QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER FAMILIAR WITH YOUR UNIQUE FACTS. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGARDING ANY MEDICAL CONDITION AND BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW TREATMENT.