A lot of people wonder why a vegan diet is a better option than a vegetarian lifestyle. The words are actually often used interchangeably. What’s vegan is already vegetarian, but what is vegetarian isn’t always vegan. More simply put, a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry or fish. Vegetarians do, however, consume dairy and eggs. Vegans, on the other hands, abstain from eating any animal by-products. They don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs or even honey. The term vegan also refers to a lifestyle free of animal by-products. Vegans do not buy leather, fur, wool or any other by-product from an animal.
A vegan diet is better for your overall health. Vegans don’t usually have problems with cholesterol. The reason for this is simple–there’s no dietary cholesterol in vegan foods. However, vegetarian foods, like cheese and eggs, still contain dietary cholesterol. A vegan diet is heart friendly.
Vegans need to be sure to get enough vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements and foods such as flax seed can make sure that a vegan gets all needed nutrients. On average, the vegan diet is much healthier than the average American diet.
Body odor is often eliminated or greatly reduced by a vegan diet. Observers from health experts to Oprah have stated that, when you don’t eat meat or dairy, you naturally smell better. Going vegan eliminates a lot of body odor concerns.
Although studies are still being conducted, a vegan diet has shown to reduce the risks of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. In countries where very few animal by-products are consumed, there is also a lower rate of breast cancer diagnosis. A vegan diet that is also organic and not filled with processed foods is ideal to contribute to optimal health.
A vegan diet, as long as its not filled with vegan junk food, can lead to easy weight loss. As a result, going vegan can also lead to a lower BMI level, the now popular index that attempts to correlate weight and health risks. It’s debatable if BMI levels themselves actually mean anything, but a lower weight can be a great relief for those battling the bulge.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has produced a food group chart that reflects what vegetarians, vegans and others should be eating for optimal health. Don’t look for animal by-products there. It’s a healthy food group chart without the need for dairy, eggs or meats at all.
A lot of people choose vegan over simply being vegetarian because of ethical concerns. The dairy and egg industries have repeatedly been exposed for animal abuse in the same way that the meat industries have. In order to make a stand against violence against animals of any kind, many people take it a step further and commit to the vegan lifestyle.
For those who are concerned about the environment, going vegan is also something seen as inevitable. Plant-based foods take up fewer resources than animal-based foods.