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Is being a Vegan healthier?

The answer is . . . like a lot of things it depends! We all know someone who is a vegan; a friend, an auntie, a co-worker etc. We might have seriously considered ourselves if we could become a vegan after watching a popular Netflix documentary such as ‘The Game Changers’. I am not here to debunk each point this documentary makes; I must admit it is a very well put together and super persuasive documentary. We cannot blame that a lot of people ‘had a go’ at becoming a Vegan or at least, reduce the amount of animal products after watching this documentary.

As a matter of fact we, as a family, have been going through the changes of reducing the amount of animal products over the years. It is a no brainer that the animal cruelty that happens in conventional farming practice is unacceptable. I recently took a master class in plant-based nutrition to further deepen the understanding and the knowledge of plant-based diet and as well as being a Vegan. Like a lot of things, it is our ignorance that keeps us away from actually taking an action. My sister sent me a link to watch ‘Forks Over Knives’ and ‘Dominion’. Just the first minute of Dominion trailer was enough for me to hit the pause button. No one would want to purposely hurt the animals. One presenter from the masterclass questioned us, ‘if we see a dog being bashed by people, would we do anything?’ of course we would! But if we see that it is in fact a cow, and not a dog, then we just turn our eyes away. Same goes for the standard dairy industry practices of separating the calf within 24 hours of birth from its mother. It is unthinkable to separate a human baby from its mother straight after birth! Again, educating ourselves is so important so that we can make an informed choice as a consumer.

Back to nourishing our body, we have moved away from conventional products to going organic. Although ‘Certified Organic’ mandates many standards and practices for organic livestock producers, animals may still be further away from humanely raised. I continue to research further on this.

Moving away from animal products, a common question for people to ask is ‘where do we get our protein?’. Well, living in a western society our protein intake is more than adequately met in general (RDI 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight = 70 kg sedentary adult male needs about 56 grams per day). Legumes such as beans (chickpeas, kidney beans, white beans), lentils, green peas and soy products as well as nuts and seeds can provide adequate protein to meet the needs of a Vegan. There are nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Zinc, Iron, Calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids which are important to take into account. The number one barrier for moving towards the wholefood plant-based nutrition is that we just don’t know what to eat and how much of everting to eat to ensure optimal health. I can help you achieve this by educating on how to eat and what to eat with meals plans to make the transition to plant based nutrition easier so that you won’t have to stuff yourself with ‘Impossible’ ‘Beyond burgers’ and Vegan Magnum!

So, is being a Vegan healthier?

- Not if we are consuming vegan junk foods such as fake meats and generally considered junk foods that are the ‘vegan version’.

- Not if you are living your life feeling tired and miserable following a vegan diet and you just don’t feel ‘right’. Being a Vegan is not for everyone. Like any diet, it depends on the individuals, some people might thrive on vegan diet but other may not. Some nutrients may take up to 5 years to be depleted from your body when we are transitioning from diet consisting of animal foods to plant-based one. It is recommended to keep track of our nutrient status so that we can have objective measurements of our nutrient status.

- There is no denying that plant-based nutrition has been proven to reduce chronic diseases such as Cardiovascular disease, diabetes as well as obesity.

Would I believe it is the healthiest option? It is certainly the most ethical and may well be the healthiest approach for many people. . . for now my view is that the healthiest way of eating consists of mostly plant based vegetables and fruits coming straight out of the nutrient rich soil, with minimal pastured grazed organic meats and animal products, and elimination of process foods. Most importantly though, let’s celebrate the awareness that we can create that our dietary choices have significant impacts on the environment, animal warfare and on our health!

#vegan, #health, #healthiestdiet

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