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Beyond the -ism: Defining and understanding Veganism

Posted Mar 07 2011 9:32pm

By popular demand, it is time to clear the air, clarify some misconceptions, and come to an understanding.  What exactly is veganism and what can it do for your health?

First of all, lets start by breaking it down a little. A  vegetarian  is someone who does not consume animal meat (i.e. pork, beef, chicken, turkey, etc.). However, they will eat dairy and eggs.  Vegans  do not consume any animal, animal byproducts (eggs, cheese, butter, milk, even honey) or any processed foods containing animal byproducts (baked goods, pastas, etc.). Some believe a vegan lifestyle to be strange, faddish, or difficult, but in all reality, a vegan diet is recognized by many to be rewarding, energizing, and healthy. Check out my  FAQ  page for a better break down if your interested.

There are numerous reasons for choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but the reason that reigns supreme are the many health benefits. According to research a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds such as veganism is associated with decreased risk of cancer, disease, and illnesses. Eliminated animal products which contain high amounts of saturated fats and replacing them with food rich in fiber, folic acid, magnesium, antioxidants, and carbohydrates significantly increases the body’s ability to thrive and ward of diseases. A diet predominately consisting of fruits and vegetables increases nutrient absorption, cell regeneration and reconstruction, healthier bowl movements, and boost protective enzymes insuring overall better health.

Eliminating animal and animal byproducts from one’s diet has been shown to reduce the risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, macular degeneration, and type II diabetes. Preparing meat produces carcinogens and consuming prepared meat is consuming such byproducts. Carcinogens are well known to be the cause of such cancers and diseases. However, a diet full of fruits and vegetables has been shown to consume high amounts of disease-preventing vitamins A, D, C, and E, phytochemicals, potassium, phytosterols, flavonoids and polyunsaturated fats.

Physical benefits associated with a vegan lifestyle are lower body weight and weight loss, increased energy, longer life expectancy, lower BMI (body mass index), reduced allergies, and healthier hair and skin. A vegan diet on average consumes fewer calories and less saturated fats than a nonvegan which increases one’s overall health. Removing dairy alone significantly improves health because humans do not possess the enzyme necessary to breakdown milk and other dairy products causing allergic reaction and illnesses. Not to mention, cow’s milk is designed grow a calf into a thousand pound cow. What do you think it does for a human? It grows an average sized human into an overweight one.

This is just the tip of the proverbial ice-burg, but before you reach for that hamburger or glass of milk ask yourself this, is it worth the risks?  

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