Over the past several years, the number of people around the world who follow a vegan diet has increased dramatically. There are a myriad of reasons why someone might turn to this lifestyle, from the desire to be healthier to concern for animals and the environment.
What Does It Mean To Be Vegan?
Those who do not follow a vegan lifestyle often do not fully understand it. Some use the terms vegan and vegetarian interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the two. While vegetarians do refrain from eating meat, other animal products are often still a large part of their diet. Vegans, on the other hand, follow more restrictions. Meat, eggs, dairy, honey and a wide variety of other products are all off the menu.
How Does A Vegan Lifestyle Benefit You?
The restrictions of a vegan diet can seem intimidating, particularly if you have grown up consuming a large amount of meat. However, once your body has adjusted, you may start to notice several benefits. Eating meat, especially red meat, can increase your risk for many health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. A plant-based vegan diet can reduce these risks and improve your health in other ways as well. Some may believe that the lack of meat means you are not getting the required amounts of protein, but there are many healthy alternatives. By choosing these instead, you can lose weight more easily, reduce your blood sugar levels, and decrease inflammation within your body. Even those who do not want to transition to a completely vegan lifestyle can receive some of these benefits by incorporating more vegan and vegetarian meals into their diet. Meatless Monday is a popular way to do this.
How Do You Know Your Food Is Vegan?
Because vegans follow a strict diet, it is important for them to know what they are putting into their bodies. With many processed foods, this can be difficult. Something that may sound vegan could be hiding unexpected animal products in its ingredients. You may sometimes need to read through the list yourself, but many vegan products have a symbol such as the BevVeg Vegan Certification Label on the packaging to let you know it is free of animal products. If you see this label on your food, then you can rest assured that there are no animal ingredients or by-products within the food or used during the processing or manufacturing.
Whether you are looking to make the switch to a vegan diet or simply want to increase the amount of plant-based foods you consume, there are many options to choose from. Your body will thank you for the healthier choices you are making.