The Pros and Cons and Everything in Between About Veganism

December 5 2016

Jacqueline Rosenhek

 

Nowadays more and more people are starting to shun meat and animal by-products for a number of reasons, whether it’s health, environmental, animal welfare, or something else, that is what seems to be happening. Since this is the case these days, veganism is a much more widely available option than it used to be due to supply and demand. Veganism is the dietary choice to forgo consuming or using any animals or animal by-products. There are many points of view on whether or not veganism is a good choice, especially with regards as to whether or not it is a safe option for your health because up until recently, veganism was considered an incredibly restrictive lifestyle which resulted in a serious lack of food options and in turn, essential nutrients. That being said, with increased knowledge on the subject followed by rising popularity in the dietary lifestyle, veganism is becoming a much more sustainable, even healthy option for many people to benefit from if they choose to  follow. A healthy vegan diet would benefit the person following with abundance in vitamin B1, C, E, folic acid, magnesium and iron while helping to keep cholesterol at a low level and being scarce in saturated fats. It also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  

One of the main reasons many people go vegan is for the sake of going against animal cruelty. Many people feel that they cannot truly say they love animals and yet take their lives for food and by-products when we live in a time where we no longer really need animal based products in order to survive anymore. With this they make the switch to stop eating animals or using their bodies for anything that would be used in their day to day lives (cosmetics, clothing, medicine etc.). In North America, many animals such as pigs, chickens, fish and cows are injected full of sex and growth hormones (in the case of cows, pigs and chickens) or are genetically engineered (in the case of fish, especially salmon). This also results in negative side effects on the people who eat these animals, such as early puberty in children or a higher risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer. There are also many studies showing that raising animals for food is actually causing environmental destruction through greenhouse gases (cows, pigs and chickens produce a lot of methane) and overbreeding them for meat and by-products tends to contribute to environmental issues such as global warming.

There are, however, some drawbacks to veganism. Protein found in animals and animal by-products tend to be more effective in the human body due to the fact that their tissues mimicking ours much more closely. Opting for tofu, beans, hemp, chickpeas and nuts are sustainable protein options for vegans. It is also notoriously difficult to get vitamin B12 in a vegan diet unless the foods you are eating are fortified with it or taking a supplement. Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are not only formidable vegan sources of B12, but they are incredibly versatile in vegan cuisine (nutritional yeast is often used in making vegan cheeses).

So what makes veganism so much easier to follow than it used to be? It is important to follow not so much a strict diet so much as you need to follow a varied diet, almost all foods can provide you with some protein, essential fats and vitamins and minerals and still be completely vegan. With this type of progression, it would not be surprising if in the next couple of years it will become even easier to go vegan!

 

 

 

 

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