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How a plant-based diet could be better for you

There are many reasons to become a vegan.

For many people the main reason is due to the unethical treatment of animals worldwide; veganism combats animal cruelty as well as animal exploitation. By choosing to become a vegan you will also become healthier, look younger and feel energized.

To become a vegan you must first implement many changes to your diet and your lifestyle. The elimination of all foods that originate from an animal, such as meat, seafood, cheese, milk, eggs, and gelatin are the first steps to becoming a vegan.

Romain lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and caulifower salad. Stephen Davis/The Telescope
Romain lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and caulifower salad. Stephen Davis/The Telescope

Vegan diets are naturally low in saturated and trans fats, therefore reducing the risks of heart disease as well as many types of cancer.

Before making any decisions on becoming vegan first you must consult with your doctor about any health concerns or issues you may have prior to your transitioning into this new lifestyle.

In some cases where individuals have not consulted with their dietitian or researched veganism properly; a vegan diet might limit the intake of some of the nutrients that our bodies need, in turn hindering our bodies’ abilities to absorb nutrients more efficiently. For you to receive your bodies’ daily vitamins and minerals you must first research and speak with your dietitian.

Weight Loss

You may inadvertently experience weight loss when first transforming into a vegan. There are a wide variety of plant-based species producing an overabundance of fruits, vegetables and legumes. With these plant-based foods being lower in calories, it is easier to lose weight and not feel deprived. For example, to lose one pound it requires a deficit of 3,500 calories. If your newly implemented vegan diet eliminates 300 calories from your daily intake, you may inadvertently lose more than three pounds per month. Add nuts, avocados and coconut milk to your diet; by providing healthy vegan fats to your diet, you are better able to ensure that you consume enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.

Nutrient absorption

Increasing your vitamin C intake will also aid in maintaining a healthier body. By consuming more citrus fruits such as oranges, tangelos, lemons and limes the body is better armed against bacteria. Spinach, broccoli and kale are rich in calcium, but these foods have food components that inhibit some of the calcium absorption. To better absorb these nutrients it is always best to drink plenty of water and use olive oil as a dressing in your salad, as this will aid in your bodies digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Since some micronutrients from plant-based foods are hard for your body to utilize, your doctor may suggest taking certain supplements to further increase your vitamin and mineral intake while following a vegan diet.


A sudden increase in plant-based foods greatly increases your fiber intake. While your body needs fiber for normal digestion, too much in a small amount of time may have a negative influence on your body in turn wreaking havoc on your digestive tract. You may experience uncomfortable bloating, diarrhea, gas and even constipation. To better equip yourself against these negative experiences, drink plenty of water throughout the day, ensuring that your body is well hydrated and better able to aid your digestive enzymes to break down the fibrous foods. Another important thing to remember is to have a food chart that explains what foods must be eaten first such as fruits before vegetables. For example, an apple would require 20 to 30 minutes to digest, while broccoli or potatoes would require 40 to 50 minutes.

When you consume foods in the wrong order this causes a blockage to take place causing more stress on the body than is needed, therefore resulting in bloating and stomach aches.

Another thing to remember is to not consume too much fiber when first venturing into this new diet; your body must first learn to adapt to this new lifestyle. As a result it may take several weeks for your body to recreate new digestive enzymes to be more adequate to this lifestyle.

Deficient protein sources

Proteins may either be complete or incomplete. Complete proteins provide all of the nearly two dozen types of amino acids your body needs. Animal-based foods and seafood provide complete proteins, with many individuals stating that your vegan diet does not allow you obtain all the necessary amino acids you may rest assured that there are certain foods known as miracle plants such as edamame also known as soybeans. By including some form of soybean dish into your daily diet you are better able to maintain a healthier body.

Remember a vegan diet is not for everyone. If you wish to eat more vegan foods to become healthier but would still wish to consume some non-vegan dishes, this is fine, do not feel discouraged if you are unable to become a fully-fledged vegan.

Image Sources

  • Opinion.Raw Vegan_smcopy: Stephen Davis/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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