The Truth About Your Vegan Plant-Based Diet
Mar 03, 2022
The world of diets is bigger than one can imagine. Whether you are on a keto diet, paleo diet, or vegan diet, it all consists of the restriction of specific foods for a certain reason. Many people have weight loss goals, want to exercise newfound beliefs, are on strict orders from the doctor, or are just up to the new self-disciplining challenge! Diets can be a hit or miss, depending on various reasons.
Veganism has been a very popular diet over the past decade with many celebrities and superstars jumping on board. It involves the total absence of eating any living thing or its by-products. This includes meat, fish, dairy, and by-products like processed chocolate, cheese, whey protein, and even honey (as it is a by-product of living Bees). Many confuse veganism with vegetarianism, which is an umbrella term for many types of vegetarians, like those who abstain from meat but still eat dairy. You can read more about the difference between vegans and vegetarians here. With the Vegan diet, many have asked, where does the protein source come from? The answer is there are many vegan protein sources but unfortunately not every vegan does their due diligence to ensure they are getting adequate amounts of it. This can lead to muscle wasting, nutrient deficiencies, and constant hunger to name a few.
In this article, we will go over the dangers of not understanding the depth of the Vegan diet and how it can impact one's health in a good or bad way.
The Uninformed Vegan
Now, I have been in the shoes of the uninformed vegan. I made the decision to quit eating meat rather abruptly in my teenage years without knowing how to cook the right foods or substitute the protein I was getting from meat. I found myself living off fries and vegan burgers for months. My weight spiraled and I quickly began getting sick more often. Now, let me be clear and say that my drastic weight loss and continuous colds had nothing to do with me being vegan, but rather being an uninformed one. There are downsides to vegetarian and vegan diets when you are uninformed.
It’s important to know that when becoming a Vegan or switching to any new diet; you must do your due diligence first. Becoming a vegan means that you must fill the void of nutrients you are no longer receiving from the foods you used to eat, which would predominantly be meat and meat by-products in this case. Protein, Iron, and vitamin B-12 are some of the other main nutrients contained in meat and should be consciously replaced when thinking about important nutrients in a vegan diet.
This knowledge is the difference between rapid muscle wasting, nutrient deficiency, and a lean, healthy body.
Protein and other Nutrient Deficiencies
A lot of people become vegan as per their doctor's solution to lower cholesterol, risk of cancer, or even to lose weight, but there can be dangers in trying to achieve these goals. The truth is, if you are obese, a vegan diet can help you shed a few pounds and lower cholesterol, as it is free of red meat which contains saturated fat. It is also free of meat altogether which can cause severe muscle wasting if this protein source is not immediately substituted.
Protein is a macronutrient and is needed in abundance along with carbohydrates and fats. This is simply because it is involved in many bodily processes. Proteins repairs and build the body’s tissues. They provide structural support for the body and assist in the creation of hormones and biological processes. They are used to make enzymes, which are responsible for thousands of chemical reactions in the body, and most importantly, they keep us healthy through their antibody action. When the body isn’t getting enough protein there is a higher risk of infection, a loss of muscle mass, hair and skin problems, and an increased risk of bone fractures. The easiest solution to preventing protein deficiency is through a vegan protein powder. Protein shakes are a great way to retain muscle mass and prevent continuous snacking. Noor’s vegan vanilla protein powder is a filling meal replacement that can be mixed with water alone or blended with your favorite fruits and greens. There are hundreds and thousands of perfectly healthy Vegans out there that are aware of what protein-rich foods that meat can be substituted with, but there are also other nutrients that vegans are commonly deficient in.
Variety is KEY!
One thing I learned from my 12 year-long journeys of being a vegan back then was that variety is key. Being stuck on specific types of foods will limit your intake to only specific nutrients. The more colorful your fridge is with an array of fruits, vegetables, greens, and grains, the better chance you have of maintaining a healthy vegan diet. Tofu and vegan burgers are not the only sources of vegan protein and it is important to understand proper food combining as well as knowing iron-rich foods, B-12, and calcium sources. If not, then taking vegan calcium supplements and plant-based vitamins are a great way to fill nutritional gaps while the food aspect is being completely understood and implemented.
All in all, any diet can be good or bad for you. The key is balance, wholesome, fresh and hydrating. Whether you are a meat-eater, a vegan, or on a keto diet, everyone can benefit from vegan multivitamins, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and a change in ones eating habits if it is not aligned with your weight or health goals. Eating habits influence your health and studies have shown that a vegan diet can positively influence your gut bacteria, which in turn can boost your mood and immunity. There is no one size that fits all when it comes on to the perfect diet. Always talk to your doctor about your health concerns and work together to create a healthy nutritional plan.