Much like going alcohol-free this January, there is a rising trend called Veganuary where participants will go on a vegan diet for the whole month as part of their New Year’s resolution. And this year, around 50,000 people have already joined. Restaurants who are also partnering up with this trend are serving their customers with dairy and meat-free dishes to help them stick to their vegan diet for the whole month. And organizers of this campaign believe that, even for a short period, going vegan has numerous health benefits to offer stating that eating a balanced vegan diet will be able to give people the nutrition that they need which many are looking into after the binge eating they have done over the holidays.
The question now though is whether going vegan really helpful to your health?
As the name suggests, the vegan diet eliminates all meat and dairy products in your diet which means that you will be focusing more on plant-based foods instead. There are various reasons for people to want to go on a vegan diet such as environmental and ethical reasons, but most see this diet as a means to lose weight and to reduce their risk from chronic diseases. Although many are willing to forego their consumption of meat and dairy products for a chance to lose weight, or at least improve their overall condition, some may find this diet to be too restrictive in terms of food choices.
However, for Clea Grady, the spokeswoman of the Veganuary campaign, she said that she has never felt better and as such, will be sticking to a vegan diet throughout the year. This change in the diet can reduce one’s blood pressure, obesity, and even type 2 diabetes just to name a few. About 75% of those who tried the Vegan diet remarked on seeing positive changes to their health. Most were able to sleep better and have lost up to 6 lbs. because of it.
Lucy Jones, a spokeswoman for the BDA, the Association of UK Dieticians, said that there was much to be said about these strict dietary plans since people will have to start planning their meals early on. They won’t be able to have their usual cakes and soda during snack time and will be stricter when it comes to what goes on inside their meals. Caution need to be taken as well and even tempering one’s expectations when it comes to the results of the diet. That being said, focusing more on foods that are plant based may not be such a bad thing after all.
Are you getting enough nutrients?
There is still an ongoing debate on the consumption of organic foods, and although many believe that vegan diet is a healthy diet to follow, you may be missing out on important nutrients that are found in meat and dairy products. Vegan diet may be centering on vegetables, but legumes, and cereal grains are found to be low in nutrients, while organic and wholefoods such as fish, shellfish, and eggs, are considered to be among the most nutrient-dense foods available today.
Those who are following the vegan diet tend to run low on vitamins and minerals such as B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium and zinc, which is why proponents of Veganuary are recommending that you take b12 supplements to cover this gap.
There is no doubt that going a completely different route in your diet this January is going to cause changes to appear in your physical and mental well-being, but make sure that you are not compromising your health because you are missing important nutrients like the ones stated above.