Unless you have been hiding out on Mars, you will have noticed that the vegan lifestyle is all the rage and has been growing powerful momentum for several years. Celebrities, sports people and even politicians have come forward to praise the meat-less lifestyle, citing how it turned their lives around for the better.
But what is really behind this trend?
Is it a passing fad or something that is here to stay?
Take a look at the list of side-effects on the body and decide for yourself.
Because they contain less saturated fats, vegan diets are known reduce heart disease risk and what’s more, data shows pretty conclusively that vegans suffer from fewer diseases caused by a modern Western diet such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity type 2 diabetes, diet-related cancers, diverticulitis, constipation, and gall stones, among many others.
With a vegan diet, you have on average a higher intake of fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids.
Foodborne illnesses, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood when compared with plant foods, particularly organic fruits and vegetables.
A big bonus to sticking to a plant-based diet is the positive impact it has on our weight.
People who are plant-based typically weigh less as a result of a diet comprised of higher-quality foods in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Vegans are also generally more aware of healthy food options and therefore tend to eat better. What's more, plant foods tend to be easier on your digestion too.
3. Athletic performance
While the majority of active people focus on maintaining their protein intake, increasingly athletes follow a high-carbohydrate, healthy-fat, and and mineral and vitamin-rich vegetarian diet to optimize their performance in sports.
Different conflicting research exists, but the number of world-class vegan sportsmen continues to increase.
Tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams for instance, announced they were going vegan already in 2011, and famous tennis player Novak Djokovic also announced that a vegan diet proved to be the key to his world-renown success.
Vegans tend to have better vision and less macular degeneration – all that extra vitamin c and consequent collagen leads to much better skin.
Since plant-based eaters on average also tend to eat less processed foods, a vegan diet also contributes to keeping your skin toxin-free from the inside-out.
5. Environmental degradation
A plant-rich diet is better for our planet as it requires much less energy and farmland to feed a vegan than to feed a meat-eater.
The raising of meat and other animal-based products places a heavy burden on our environment– from the large amounts of crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other steps involved in the process.
The astonsihing amount of grain feed necessary for meat production is a significant factor in deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction.
Protecting the environment is beneficial to us all.
According to a Loma Linda University study, vegetarians live about seven years longer and vegans about fifteen years longer than meat eaters.
The Cornell-China-Oxford project on Nutrition, Environment and Health, the largest study on nutrition ever conducted, found that those Chinese who ate the least amount of animal products had correspondingly lower risks of cancer, heart attacks, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
A British study tracked 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 meat eaters for twelve years and found that vegetarians were 40 percent less likely to die from cancer during that time and 20 percent less likely to die from other diseases.