A vegan and vegetarian diet both don’t allow meat to be consumed. But few know that a vegan diet also eliminates eating anything from an animal (i.e. eggs, milk, and honey).
Like all diets, there are pros and cons to being vegan. I wish to express the pros and cons I experienced (and those close to me) when I followed this diet.
More Veggies: The more plants we have in our diet, the healthier we become. The vegan diet (in my experience at least) almost forces you to eat a salad every lunch and dinner. It also encourages less common snacks throughout the day like carrots, cucumbers, and apples. You will never regret eating more fruits and vegetables.
Mindful meals: Vegans typically eat fewer calories during their regular meals. When you’re eating less, it’s easier to recognize what your body is telling your mind throughout a meal. This was certainly the biggest positive for me when I was vegan. I learned very well when my body was telling me that it was satisfied.
Reduced food costs: This one’s simple, but meat is expensive. Fish, steak, and just about every other option (except for chicken and eggs) is more expensive than the vegan alternatives of tofu, beans, and soy.
Heavy on the carbs: When you eliminate animal products, you must look for other ways to get protein in your diet. Most vegans will end up eating lots of beans in order to supplement this lack of protein — but beans are a carbohydrate-dominant food. As a rule of thumb, you want your protein to come from foods where protein is the dominant macronutrient.
More frequent snacks: In general, your meals have fewer calories when you are following a vegan diet. This is great for weight-loss and learning to be mindful about your eating, but my experience has shown that it encourages more snacks in between meals. When I was a vegan, I would eat unhealthy amounts of chips, salsa, and protein bars. I also ate plenty of M&M’s and Chick-Fil-A waffle fries.
Lack of key nutrients: Animal products provide you with key nutrients like calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D that are hard to find anywhere else. Because of this, vegans generally are forced to supplement their diets with these key nutrients. I suppose you can find these nutrients in some brands of soy milk and breakfast cereals, but all of the vegans in my life’s circle choose to supplement.
The universal diet problem is processed foods. We eat way too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good stuff.
Our tendency as an unhealthy population is to point our finger at meat or a single macronutrient and say that is to blame for the chronic disease pandemic. Instead, I suggest that we wage war on the fake foods, eat less during the day, and look to a vegetable at every meal
Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.
I’ve been saying this for a long time now; there’s no need to go to extremes on any single piece of this three-part prescription.