Pros, Cons Weighed For The Question: To Vegan Or Not To Vegan?

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jun 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:34:48-04

SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Studies have shown more than 7 million Americans have become vegetarians. Veganism has been one of the strictest forms of plant-based dieting, but would it be right for you?

No meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, no honey! Could you be a vegan?

Clinical Dietician at the University of Washington, Dr. Judy Simon, said a vegan diet can be known as healthy, but not always.

“Some vegans don’t eat many vegetables, so they may be eating processed grains, rice, crackers, and breads,” Simon told Ivanhoe.

Other negatives: you might not get enough omega-3’s. Nuts and chia seeds have had some, but Simon said they only provided a fraction of what you get from fish like salmon. It was also more difficult to eat out if you’re a vegan, so you might have needed to pack your own food. Also pregnant women were found to possibly not get enough vitamin D or calcium from a vegan diet.

“The fetus will actually take calcium from the mother, so if her intake is low anyway, it may not be sufficient enough for the baby,” Simon told Ivanhoe.

However, there were plenty of vegan pros: the plant-based diet can lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. People who ate vegan also had a lower body mass index.

“For many people it allows them to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Simon told Ivanhoe.

Recent research also showed vegan dieters had healthier guts than those who consumed meat.

“We’re finding that they have more of the healthy bacteria that can actually be heart-healthy and prevent heart disease,” Simon told Ivanhoe.

So to vegan or not to vegan? It’s a choice that has to be made with every bite you take!

The Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit company, has been offering tips for eating and cooking vegan. More information can be found by clicking here.

BACKGROUND: The term veganism was coined in 1944, when a British woodworker named Donald Watson created the term to describe those vegetarians who also did not eat dairy or eggs. The year before, tuberculosis had been found in 40 percent of British dairy cows and Watson used this fact to prove that the vegan lifestyle protected people from tainted food. He began the first Vegan Society and started with just 25 followers. Veganism quickly spread to the United States, and the first American Vegan Society was formed in 1948. By the time Watson died in 2005, more than 200,000 British men and women and two million Americans who identified themselves as vegan. Celebrities, such as Woody Harrelson and Jessica Chastain, have popularized the lifestyle in American pop culture. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)

LIMITATIONS: (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3) Some have chosen veganism for health reasons, while others choose the vegan lifestyle for moral reasons. Traditionally, vegans do not eat any animal products. They also do not wear materials like leather or wool or use cosmetics or soaps derived from animals or animal products. Some examples of things that vegans avoid include:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Honey
  • Fish
  • Whey
  • Silk
  • Products that have been tested on animals

PROS AND CONS: With high-profile celebrities endorsing the vegan movement, it’s easy to get swept up in the growing trend. Studies of veganism have shown that the lifestyle can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Veganism can give rise to deficiencies if you aren’t careful. Vegans must find ways to work in Omega-3, Vitamin D, and calcium into their diets. (Source