What is veganism? What does a vegan eat? Is veganism a healthy diet?
Written by Cristina Pérez on 1/11/2016 at 12:23
Coinciding with World Veganism Day , we propose to reflect on this way of understanding life and to better understand what a vegan diet consists of . But veganism goes far beyond mere food , settling as a philosophy that moves by respect for animals and opposition to the exploitation of them.
If we stop to think about it, the human being tends to use the animal world for his own benefit in many facets of life. We feed on a good part of meat or products from certain animals, we investigate with them to test treatments or creams, and we dress with their skins. And this is precisely what veganism avoids.
To understand the vegan philosophy you have to think about a way of life of maximum respect to the animal world. It is also a current that opposes speciesism , that is, discrimination according to species . In fact, this is considered the main cause of animal exploitation.
We introduce ourselves to veganism to get to know your ideas thoroughly and analyze all its advantages and disadvantages.
What is it to be a vegan?
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As we have already said, veganism is a way of understanding life that rejects any kind of animal explotation. Contrary to what many people think, veganism is not just a type of vegan diet. There are other facets of human life in which animals are also used for self-interest, regardless of their suffering.
Many of the cosmetic products of big brands are previously tested on animals, as well as garments made from the skin of different species.
Veganism is strongly opposed to speciesism , which is based on any discrimination by the mere fact of belonging to a species in particular . And is that many people care about dogs or cats, for being domestic animals docile and affectionate with humans. However, these same people do not lament the situations that must be suffered by other animals such as cows, pigs, chickens or rats, simply because they do not arouse us so much sympathy or are no more alien to our daily life . But after all they are animals and as such, they must be respected. That is how vegans think and this is what they stand for.
What does veganism involve?
With all this, we conclude that veganism involves several issues.
The vegan diet does not include any animal product or animal product . In this way, not only meat and fish are avoided, but eggs, milk and honey are not consumed either . Vegans act this way because they argue that animals are prematurely slaughtered or abused to use them as food or to harness their resources.
Instead, plant products are the main source of food for vegan people.
There is some controversy by some collectives about the risk of not consuming substances that are mainly in products of animal origin. Fats, calcium, iodine, iron, proteins or vitamins D and B12 are some of the substances that are most difficult to find in plant foods.
In fact, most of these nutrients are found in very low amounts in vegetables. In some cases, the presence of them is non-existent in products of plant origin, as with calcium or vitamins D and B12. If you follow a vegan diet, you need to take supplements or fortify the foods to supply these substances.
How proteins are obtained in a vegetarian diet
Vegan philosophy discards the use of products tested with animals . Many creams, facials and cosmetics use this method before being marketed, so that vegans avoid using it.
In these cases, it is sufficient to review the list of components of this type of products and to inquire about others of a natural nature that fulfill the same functions.
There are fabrics such as wool, leather or silk that come directly from animals . In the same line of opposition to animal exploitation, vegans tend not to use garments of these tissues.
Crudiveganismo is a current that proposes to consume the same products that the vegans, but in raw. Thus, this current only eats food in its natural state, without being treated or cooked.
Differences between vegans and vegetarians
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Many people may have doubts about the similarities and differences that exist between vegans and vegetarians.
The truth is that these are two different types of food , although they have some points in common.
The vegetarian diet is one in which animal products (meat, fish and seafood) are eliminated, but not necessarily those of animal origin, such as honey, eggs or milk.
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For its part, the difference lies in the fact that veganism, as we have explained, goes beyond the vegan diet itself. It is a way of life that includes certain dietary guidelines, yes, but also other ideas that reject animal exploitation in any field. In addition, in this case they do oppose products of animal origin such as milk, eggs or honey.
Ovolactovegetarians and strict vegetarianism
Vegetarians who consume animal products such as milk, yogurt, cheese or eggs that do not involve the death of the animal are called ovolactovegetarians . The food chain also called strict vegetarianism is the one that does not include dairy products or eggs. It is basically the diet that vegans follow.
Advantages of veganism
The main advantage of the vegan diet is the deep respect that is professed to the animal world. In fact, it is the main reason why anyone decides to start a vegan lifestyle. In addition, it involves a very healthy diet type that icnluso elite athletes perform without problems.
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But there are also other benefits of eating a vegan diet and lifestyle:
Diet low in fat and cholesterol. Vegan diets are very low in fat and cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is found primarily in animal products, as is the case with most fats.
Diet rich in fiber. On the contrary, it is a diet with a large percentage in fiber, a very beneficial component for the body.
Disadvantages of veganism
Low protein diet and some other essential nutrients. We went ahead a little higher. Vegan diets are often lacking in substances and nutrients much needed for health, such as vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium or protein, among others. Therefore, make sure to compensate and supplement these substances in some other way. For example, there are drugs with these nutrients or you can simply consume plant foods rich in these nutrients.
Not appropriate for certain stages of life. On the other hand, another of the disadvantages of the vegan diet comes in very specific stages of life, such as childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, breastfeeding or the elderly. These stages are treated with much more demanding and complete nutritional needs, so it is necessary to consume proteins and fats of animal origin, which the vegan diet does not contemplate.
Eat away from home. It can also be a problem to eat out, as not all establishments have specific vegan products. However, it is something that is increasingly present in many bars and restaurants.
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With all this information, have you considered if in your life would fit a vegan philosophy, both food and in terms of how to dress or take care of your body?