World vegan day is celebrated on November 1st every year. What started as a day evolved into a week (World Vegan Week) & now we celebrate it during the entire month (World Vegan Month). As a vegan you might have to bear the false opinions, statements & recommendations from anyone who is not one. You friends might think you eat only spinach, you mom might think you eat only tofu, the society might think you live on granola bars and meat eaters might think you graze on grass, just like a cow, but what you actually eat as a vegan is far away from these convictions. Common, vegans are also just like any other normal human living in this earth!
Who are Vegans & What Do They Eat?
Vegans are people who eat a plant-based diet excluding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey as well. They embrace veganism which is a way of life that excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
So, what only do vegans eat? A great deal of food! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans and pulses are an indispensable part of a vegan’s diet and you can make endless varieties of dishes from these foods- from pizzas to cakes, curries to pastries, the list of foods that can be prepared with plant-based ingredients is endless.
Why Go Vegan?
Mostly, people choose veganism to prevent animal exploitation and avoid using animal-based products too. But, of late more and more people are choosing plant-based foods as they are rich sources of protein, iron, calcium, vitamins and minerals. The plant-based sources of these nutrients are low in saturated fat, high in fiber and rich in antioxidants that help reduce the risk of world’s greatest health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure.
Meat and other animal products affect the environment massively- right from the grains required to feed animals to transportation and other processes involved. Whereas, minimum quantities of water are required to sustain a vegan diet impacting the environment in the minimal way possible. Finally, plant-based eating is the most sustainable way of feeding the human fraternity. Being a vegetarian, which includes eating dairy and eggs, is not sufficient as millions of cows are slaughtered for decreased milk production and chicks are killed for eggs.
Studies indicate that growing plant-based foods requires only a third of the land needed for growing animal-based foods. Almost 3.5 billion humans can live off the food fed to livestock. Our land and water resources have almost exhausted and we do not have enough to feed the growing population an animal-based diet.
Break the Myths
People have the notion that animal products like milk and meat are necessary for a well-balanced healthy diet. But, a properly planned plant-based diet can fulfill all the nutrient requirements needed by our body. Switching over from an animal-based to a plant-based diet can be taxing and needs proper nutrient planning. A registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com can help you plan a well-balanced plant-based diet to achieve daily required nutrition levels.
Vegans eat only raw veggies; Vegans lack proper protein nourishment; Following veganism will empty your wallet; All vegans are social activists who work for PETA or other such organizations-Debunk such myths by living as a thriving vegan.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.