Going Vegan Benefits

Going vegan can be due to a variety of reasons. Health issues, weight loss motives, nutritional diet and even for religious reasons people decide to become vegan. Beside these reasons, the Harvard Medical School has put up a very interesting article about many issues that are also involved with a vegan lifestyle. They even suggest some alternatives to a strict vegan lifestyle which one could also take into consideration if becoming a total vegan seems to be a bit tough in the beginning.

“Avoiding meat is only one part of the picture. A healthy vegetarian diet should be chock-full of foods with known benefits.

People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health, religious convictions, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources. Some people follow a largely vegetarian diet because they can’t afford to eat meat. Vegetarianism has become more appealing and accessible, thanks to the year-round availability of fresh produce, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing culinary influence of cultures with largely plant-based diets.

Today, six to eight million adults in the United States eat no meat, fish, or poultry, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit organization that disseminates information about vegetarianism. Several million more have eliminated red meat but still eat chicken or fish. About two million have become vegans, forgoing not only animal flesh but also animal-based products such as milk, cheese, eggs, and gelatin.

Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. In July 2009, the American Dietetic Association weighed in with a position paper, concluding that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009).

Appropriately planned” is the operative term. Unless you follow recommended guidelines on nutrition, fat consumption, and weight control, becoming a vegetarian won’t necessarily be good for you. A diet of soda, cheese pizza, and candy, after all, is technically “vegetarian.” For health, it’s important to make sure that you eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s also vital to replace saturated and trans fats with good fats, such as those found in nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. And always keep in mind that if you eat too many calories, even from nutritious, low-fat, plant-based foods, you’ll gain weight. So it’s also important to practice portion control, read food labels, and engage in regular physical activity.

You can get many of the health benefits of vegetarianism without going all the way. For example, a Mediterranean eating pattern — known to be associated with longer life and reduced risk of several chronic illnesses — features an emphasis on plant foods with a sparing use of meat. (For more about the Mediterranean diet, go to www.health.harvard.edu/womenextra.) Even if you don’t want to become a complete vegetarian, you can steer your diet in that direction with a few simple substitutions, such as plant-based sources of protein — beans or tofu, for example — or fish instead of meat a couple of times a week.

Only you can decide whether a vegetarian diet is right for you. If better health is your goal, here are some things to consider.”

To read the rest of the article, check it out on the original source over at Harvard Medical School.

Image Source: Takver

120 comments

  1. Jean Lee Reply

    Good luck with the transition! Going vegan was the best decision I made in my life. I did it overnight, cold turkey, and never looked back. I think you decide how hard the transition is going to be. Decide that it’s going to be easy and it will be.

  2. Tanida Williams Reply

    Ummm…this article is about going vegetarian not vegan. Anyway, went vegan…occasionally pesco vegan this July. Yes, I know “real vegans” hate the term “pesco vegan”. It is very occasionally, not ready to give up salmon sashimi. But now farm animals are tortured for me.

  3. Tanida Williams Reply

    I think about the victims of Factory Farming then veganism becomes easy. One minute in the life of the way Animals are forced to endure life by the hands of man makes living life as a vegan very easy.

  4. Christine Klimczak Reply

    It’s not hard if you know why you are doing it. Don’t “wish” you can go vegan because you CAN do it. Seeing the movies above will reinforce the reason to follow through.

  5. Bonnie Rae Reply

    I know I have seen part of earthlings I couldn’t watch anymore it was so heartbreaking I know I can go vegetarian and I have cut back a lot on all dairy products I have a family I need to transition over as well so baby steps are what works for me. My oldest daughter is vegan and personally I don’t like most of her food so I need to find what will work for me

  6. Dexter Ann Young Reply

    It’s called stomach cancer . It started as breast cancer . They are still trying to figure out why my body refuses to break down carbs . I can’t even have potatoes .

  7. Dane Berkshire Reply

    You wouldn’t die without meat. How absurd and medically ignorant. Sorry you have breast and and stomach cancer, but your diet of meat and dairy is likely the culprit. Fruits and vegetables and nuts and legumes. Enjoy!

  8. Dexter Ann Young Reply

    Are you fucking high ? There are tons of people who can’t digest complex carbs , it’s a easy Google. A TON of veggies and some fruits and almost all legumes are in that group.
    I’ve been in medical for years .

  9. Going Vegan Reply

    Dexter Ann Young I sincerely wish you so much that the your medical doctors very soon find the solution of your issue and that you get better very, very soon!

  10. Wendy Most Reply

    Follow your own path you will get there, educate yourself, Many good documentaries out there to help. .every little step you do will help your health,the animals,and the environment. .good luck! !

  11. Jessi Hill Reply

    Why would you kill a sentient being if you didn’t need to? Also, as the article and the American Dietetic Association point out, it is a very healthful diet and one that can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease can in many cases be reversed by a vegan diet. Some cancer risks are also greatly reduced. And it’s just nice. And since I can see your a grappler, you should know many folks in the Jui Jitsu circles embrace veganism because it allows quick recovery and optimal carb ratios for rolling.

  12. Michael Marcele Reply

    Well if we’re dealing with issues of right and wrong my point is that killing an animal isn’t better than killing a plant.if we can agree that we may eat lower life forms the consequences would be the same for both of those.if your point was we should feel compassion let me ask you;would it make you happier if they tranquilized the animals first? And nah most people and doctors recognize that there is plenty of beneficial benefits in meat that plants don’t usually provide … And meat tastes better lol

  13. Cara Lynn Reply

    Is there a difference between breaking a limb off a tree vs ripping ones arm off? Obviously. Animal raised for food have no life. it is only a short span… Which is probably a good thing because it is tortured. They do not enjoy the sun, raising young, or being snuggled with a companion. They are beaten, live in extreme poor conditions and maimed. It is actually much worse than it sounds… Except I’m sure for the animals which you eat or steal from… I’m sure you found that one small farm that raises and kills animals humanely. What a crock.

  14. Heather Smith Reply

    Brand new vegan here and I’m LOVING it!! I’ve been making strides in going fully vegan for several months and have finally cut out all dairy products (I’ve been off of meat for a while). It been 2-3 weeks which I know isn’t much, but I already feel amazing!

  15. Victoria Aguilar Reply

    Dairy contributes to factory farming (and also veal)… It took me a while to make that connection. But yea, dairy (environmentally and from a cruelty point of view) is just as bad as eating the cows flesh.

  16. Wendy Most Reply

    Please dont be a vegan$#%&!@*.every little step helps. .just giving up meat helps…small steps,add up,it’s a big lifestyle change ,everyone has to do it,at their own pace…we,all, ate meat at one time unless you were born and raised a vegan.

  17. Kathryn Josephs Lundgren Reply

    After 30 years of being a vegetarian (no beings), I went vegan! I thought I’d miss butter and cheese but the new (no soy) substitutes are really good. It’s nice to go to the milk counter now and seeing so many non-milk products for sale.

  18. Jody Mae Reply

    Vegan is healthy for people and the planet but it’s more than a fiet choice it’s an awareness and a lifestyle that is best not pushed on others. We all grow at our own rate. The planet isn’t set up for everyone to eat vegan yet let’s work towards that instead of spending time pushing our current place in awareness and perspective on others. In all the time it takes to make the signs and promote you could plant food and give vegetables away for free that would be a more worth while promotion in my eyes. Let’s be wise about our efforts.

  19. Amanda Sapp Reply

    People need to be educated. Planting food is wonderful too but if we aren’t communicating these messages people won’t hear it and will continue on with their ways.. People need to hear the truth!!

  20. Ryann Ertz Reply

    It’s incomplete because you have to click the link within the article to view the entire article. And I don’t see how, “Only you can decide whether a vegetarian diet is right for you.” Could possibly be considered “preachy”

  21. Leisa Rich Reply

    I have been a vegetarian and vegan — in that order — for 28 years. I have read a lot of articles, including dry ones in the New England medical Journal and Lancet medical journal. I have also read very basic articles, blogs and more written in a variety of styles. I am not responding to the positivity of the message but to the writing.

  22. Jim Walden Reply

    I had a bacon cheeseburger for lunch today and it was AWESOME!!!

    Cassie Bender, just exactly what are you going to win??

    There will ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS be meat eaters in the world.
    My life…… My choice!!!!

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