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A Vegan Diet Is Not Only About Giving Up On Meat, It’s More Than That!

A Vegan Diet Is Not Only About Giving Up On Meat, It’s More Than That!

Ever wondered what it would be like only eat plant-based foods and completely remove any type of meat from your diet? Then ask a vegan! Veganism is a term that does not really refer to a diet, but rather a lifestyle as being a vegan does not only mean you are avoiding any animal-derived food, but it also means that you are completely avoiding the use of any products that are derived from animals. While veganism and vegetarianism are often associated with one another, it is vital to realize that there is a distinct different between the two. Where vegetarians solely avoid eating meat, vegans completely remove any animal products and animal derived products from their daily lifestyle – this does not only extend to meat and food sources, but also to non-consumable products such as leather handbags. In this post, we’ll discuss what veganism is, where it came from, what you can eat and, of course, what can’t vegans eat.

How does the vegan lifestyle become more popular these years?

The original Vegan Society was founded in 1944, but the first traces of veganism dates back to approximately 500 BCE, as reported by The Vegan Society.[1] At this time, the traces refer to a diet that is more similar to a vegetarian diet, but mentioning this discovery is important as it marks an entry point for the development of the vegan lifestyle. In 1806 CE, the vegan lifestyle became more developed when the lifestyle was promoted to be free of dairy products and eggs. The vegan lifestyle as we know it today, however, was developed in 1944 by Donald Watson – this is also now referred to as the modern-day vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle now includes a healthy diet plan, along with the removal of any items in your life that are made from any kind of material derived from animals.[2] This includes leather, feathers and much more.

The vegan diet has received quite a lot of attention in recent years. Similar to how people have adapted their lives to becoming vegetarian or following particular diet plans, such as the paleo diet, many people have discovered that veganism is a healthy way of living and plant-based foods are still able to provide the human body with essential nutrients that are needed to promote overall wellbeing and longevity.[3] It is reported that at least 2.5% of the entire American population are now following a vegan lifestyle and the consumption of meat are constantly decreasing in the country, with a 12.2% drop noticed in a five-year period between 2007 and 2012.[4]

What foods are included and not included in a vegan diet?

A lot of people are used to consuming meat on an everyday basis, which often leads to the thought that protein and some other nutrients can only be obtained from meat. This, however, is not true. While there is one particular exception that should be considered – being vitamin B12 – all other nutrients can be obtained from a vegan diet at adequate levels to support normal red blood cell production, to keep the immune system healthy, to support a healthy weight and to ensure the entire human body functions properly without any compromises.

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SF Gate explains that the following nutrients are important in a vegan diet, and provide excellent examples of food sources where each of them can be obtained:[5]

Protein – Protein is essential for the well-being of organs, bones and skin. It also helps to keep muscles healthy and plays an important part in the growth of muscle mass. In a normal diet, most protein is consumed through meat and animal-derived products, such as dairy and eggs. In a vegan diet, however, protein is obtained from food sources such as chickpeas, soybeans, soy meat, almonds, seeds, nuts, lentils, black beans, tofu and peanut butter.

Calcium – Calcium is also an important nutrient that is classified as a mineral. This mineral is vital for keeping bones and teeth healthy, and plays other important parts in the body as well. Even though dairy products cannot be consumed in a vegan diet, it is still possible to obtain high amounts of calcium from spinach, broccoli, tofu, soy milk and kale.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Iron – Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Iron are also essential nutrients that vegans consume through plant-based food sources. Vitamin B12, however, need to be consumed through a supplement or through fortified products, such as fortified soy milk or fortified cereals.

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We should not only focus on foods that are included in a vegan diet, but also foods that should be completely avoided when you turn vegan. Authority Nutrition reports that the following foods are no-no’s when it comes to following a vegan diet:[6]

• Any type of meat, including beef, veal, wild meat, organ meat and pork.

• Poultry, seafood and fish are also not part of a vegan diet.

• Dairy products, such as cream, butter, cheese, milk, ice cream and yogurt.

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• Any type of eggs should be avoided, including fish eggs, quail eggs and chicken eggs.

• Royal jelly, honey and bee pollen are also not allowed on a vegan diet.

• Specific additives in some products that are animal derived – these should also be avoided.

• Gelatin is also a product that is not allowed on a vegan diet.

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• Any products that contain casein, lactose or whey.

• Baked goods that contain L-Cysteine.

• Certain candies are manufactured with gelatin – these are also not allowed on a vegan diet.

• Pasta usually contains egg, which means they are also not allowed.

Veganism is not only a diet plan but a lifestyle that promotes the removal of certain products

Becoming a vegan can be a rather tough journey if you are used to eating meat, eggs and cheese. Unlike becoming a vegetarian, veganism also requires the removal of certain lifestyle products, like handbags and coaches made from leather, as these products contain material that is derived from animals. Thus, education about what exactly the vegan diet is should be an essential step towards approaching this lifestyle change as it will allow you to determine whether or not this lifestyle choice is appropriate for you.

Reference

[1] The Vegan Society: History
[2] Consumer Health Digest: Best Diet Plan: 6 Ways to Choose an Effective Diet Plan
[3] Consumer Health Digest: Paleo Diet Plan: Is Paleo Diet Plan a Good Way to Lose Weight?
[4] Top RN To BSN: The Rise of Veganism: Start a Revolution!
[5] SF Gate: List of Foods That Vegans Eat
[6] Authority Nutrition: 37 Things to Avoid as a Vegan

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Katleen Brown

Katleen is a health and beauty advisor.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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