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With any new year comes a reinvigorated goal to lose weight, get fit and look after our health and well being more effectively. After gaining those few extra pounds while celebrating the holidays, January has become known as a detox month to wash away the excess and bring our mindset and bodies inline with a more normal and healthy way of living and eating.
Many people choose to go sober during January after the few too many cocktails in December. Others are choosing to embark on a more plant based diet. This means no eating meat whatsoever. While vegetarianism is relatively easy to follow, a stricter vegan lifestyle is making a play for the latest fashionable way of eating. “Veganuary”, as it is now known, is big amongst millennials and those ethically conscious eaters and dieters. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
Why Go Vegan?
Exploring a vegan lifestyle means not eating cheese, eggs, butter or animal milk. This may sound relatively simple, but consider what’s in your favorite meals and snacks. Finding substitutes for these staple food groups can be tough – although not impossible.
There are plenty of vegan recipes available online, so you don’t have to worry too much about eating the same things over and over again, or being stuck with boring meals.
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Following a more plant based diet has its health benefits. Blood sugar levels naturally decrease and become more constant improving kidney and liver function. By not eating meat, certain cancer risks are lowered. Studies have shown that heart disease occurrence is lower in vegans and arthritis pain can be naturally reduced.
With a diet richer in antioxidants and phytochemicals, many nutritionists have suggested that going vegan can actually improve your mental health. Coupled with seeking out one of the many mental health supports available to you, you can tackle stress or anxiety head on and live a more positive, happy and content lifestyle.
A plant based diet is fundamentally sound. You can find protein within lentils, beans, pulses, and tofu. However, you will find your ability to source certain nutrients diminished. You may need to take calcium and Vitamin D supplements to gain your recommended daily allowance. You will likely need to get used to shopping around and spending a little more money when becoming vegan.
Milk tends to be the food that people struggle to find a supplement for when trying veganism. Yes, there are plenty of alternatives such as soya, rice, oat, and almond milk. However, none come close to the taste of cow’s milk which can lead to a real struggle for those keen on becoming fully vegan.
If you are trying out veganism to get fit or lose weight, there may be alternative diets that will help you reach your goals. Perhaps a low carb diet will be more effective. Maybe upping your attendance at the gym or heading out for bike rides every evening will make more of a difference.
While veganism may be a fad, a little expensive and you might find yourself giving it a go on a bit of a whim, there is no doubt that you will reap the health benefits of embarking on a plant based diet.
YOUR TURN: Have you tried going vegan for Veganuary? What pros (and cons) did you experience? Did you find an incredible recipe that you want to share? Please comment below!
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