Before you jump on the vegan diet bandwagon, here's what you need to know before making the change.
As a generalization, there's no one right way to eat for everyone. We're all different and what works for one person may not work for the next. The question “Is the vegan diet healthy?” is a question that's often asked, especially by those looking to transition into veganism. The answer is that it depends as much on the variety of what you eat, the portion size, and how often you eat as it does with any other diet. Someone living purely on ready salted crisps or dehydrated fruit chips, for example, would technically be following a vegan diet, but they would in no way be eating a balanced and healthy diet.
What Are The Benefits Of A Vegan Diet?
Research shows that there are some great benefits to a vegan diet. A recent study indicated that the average vegan diet is higher in vitamin C and fiber, and lower in saturated fat than one containing meat. In addition, statistics show that vegans have a lower BMI (height-to-weight ratio) than meat eaters, so, in other words, they're skinnier.
A diet without any meat or dairy products is likely to contain a lot less saturated fat, and saturated fats are related to increased cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. We also know that fat contains more calories per gram than other foods, so vegans typically consume fewer calories as a result. Finally, a vegan diet is generally thought to contain more cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds than a non-vegan diet, which is all good stuff.
Sounds great right?
So What Are The Drawbacks Of A Vegan Diet?
In terms of micronutrients, a vegan diet is actually susceptible to being nutritionally poor. A vegan diet is naturally low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, if you follow a vegan diet it is essential that you get enough of these nutrients through specific vegan food sources – and you may even need to take additional supplements.
See https://authoritynutrition.com/7-supplements-for-vegans/ for a deeper look at recommended vegan foods, supplements, and nutrients.
Nomad's Outlook On A Vegan Diet
We're all for the vegan diet but going vegan doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be healthier. In fact, much of the improvement in the diets among vegans is a result of education rather than going meat free. In other words, if someone chooses to go vegan they're more likely to care about what they're eating and therefore are more likely to educate themselves on the types of foods they should and shouldn't be eating.
Vegans tend to be more aware and conscious of the foods they're putting in their bodies. Without having to break down the heavier foods that an omnivore eats, a vegan is more likely to feel the individual effects that each food they ingest has on their body and well-being. Feeling the effects of individual foods creates a landslide of positivity as unhealthy foods rarely make us feel good and become avoided. While avoiding unhealthy foods is a great thing, ingesting essential nutrients is as well. Vegans must be tuned into their body's nutritional needs and aware that the light feeling many people begin to crave isn't, in fact, a warning sign of a developing nutrient deficiency.
We recommend all serious vegans to take your diet to the next level by having your health care practitioner evaluate your blood levels so that you may adjust your nutrient and supplement intake accordingly.
Here at Nomad we love to experiment, stay healthy, and learn so be sure to share your vegan thoughts and experiences here and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages!
And if you're looking for something vegan-friendly to bring with you on your next adventure grab a box of our Blueberry Spice energy bars and #JustGo!