Is Veganism Healthy?
Veganism is a philosophy that rejects the commodification of animals. It is primarily practiced through eliminating all animal based products from ones diet, such as: meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey. Although the term ‘vegan’ has been spoken about since the 1940’s, the prevalence of veganism and consequently, vegan products, has expanded rapidly in the last few years with more and more people gaining an interest in what it’s all about.
There are several reasons why people turn to a vegan lifestyle. Firstly, many vegans believe that all animals and creatures have a right to freedom and that the process of producing dairy and meat products, organic or not, is always harmful in some way.
‘A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture’.
Secondly, we as humans have never been so concerned for our environment as we are today. There are many common ideas flying around about going green, such as recycling and walking to work, however one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop eating animals products. The sheer volume of grain needed for meat production contributes seriously to habitat loss, extinction and deforestation. In fact, ‘a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture’.
Lastly, and the point in which this post will focus on, is health. It has been statistically proven that vegans have a lower BMI than meat eaters. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables and legumes means high amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals and reduced consumption of saturated fats.
BUT did you know these foods were vegan?
Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, a vegan diet does not mean a healthy one. Not only are there hundreds of brands out there that produce naturally vegan foods, such as Oreos, Pop Tarts, and Kettle Chips, the vegan community has grown so popular that vegan convenience foods such as meat substitutes, fake cheese and dairy free chocolate are so easily available to buy. It seems to be that many brands are labelling their products as vegan and therefore their consumers are lead to misconception that it must be healthy, when in reality, it’s not. For example, vegan chocolate is more often than not, going to contain just as much sugar as a normal chocolate bar.
As long as it’s vegan, it must be healthy, right?
Turning to a plant based diet can be really tricky and time consuming in the beginning, hence why many people may fall down the trap of turning to ‘junk’ food that they know and that is convenient. It’s all well being pro-active about saving the animals, but not when it’s going to impact how you look after yourself. I believe we could all benefit from making more plant based meals and so I admire anyone who has made that move, however my aim of this post is to highlight that your own health is equally important.
My Own Food Journey
I have always had a passion for baking however throughout my teens up until now, I have suffered with a hiatal hernia ( I won’t bore you with the details) but it makes it very difficult for me to eat rich/sugary/acidic foods. This meant that in order to carry on baking, I had to start experimenting with sugar free and dairy free recipes and hence the creation of this blog. As I started to incorporate healthier options into my diet, I found myself feeling so much better than ever before.
I don’t even like to label myself a vegan let alone preach it on anyone else.
I have been on a bit of a roller coaster, trying to figure out what are the best foods for my body and trying to put a label on what I stand for. After many ups and downs, I finally settled with eating a healthy balanced diet 85% of the time. As I said above, I believe that everyone should have a go at incorporating more plant based meals into their diet, for all the listed reasons above, however I don’t wish to preach a certain way of life on anyone. I don’t even like to label myself a vegan, let alone preach it on anyone else.
Let’s face it, no one is perfect. We all slip up. We all crave that gooey pizza and melt in your mouth chocolate brownie every now and then, and hey, that’s OK! We deserve a treat sometimes, whether it’s a vegan one or not. However, indulgence isn’t necessary ALL the time, and frankly won’t make you a happy healthy person. I want to share with you as many healthy alternatives as possible to keep you on your own healthy track.
Feel free to check out all my recipes for inspiration in the kitchen… the world is your oyster!