Choosing Veganism for Health
Veganism is not a bad word
Take the word Veganism, rip it up and throw it in the bin. Forget what you know about it and what you think you know about it. Veganism is a word that conjures up all kinds of mad ideas, but mad ideas always come from somewhere don’t they?
Yes, some vegans do go around in hemp sacks, hug trees and eat tofu all day. Don’t let that put you off, because there is more to choosing veganism than that. There’s SO MUCH MORE to it than tofu. Veganism can symbolise fantastic, youthful health. It is a diet based on plant foods: Vegetables; fruit; wholegrains; nuts; seeds; beans; lentils and yes- tofu (if you fancy it). A diet based on clean, whole foods – you don’t have to eat processed vegan meat and dairy alternatives (and for the most part, we would advise you not to).
An organic, whole food plant based vegan diet is the healthiest diet you can give your body and this is the type of diet we will be talking about on Vegan Power Nutrition.
Our Bodies Love Plants
I know you’re going to tell me I’m wrong, but trust me when I say – our bodies LOVE plant foods. All you have to do is look at the digestive system. In the human body, the digestive process is rather long and complicated (much like untangling a ball of knotted string) and so is the small intestine. It is about 7 metres long in the average adult. Despite this, vegetables digest in the human body with ease. They travel through the system fairly quickly.
The human body finds it hard to process meat and it is a lot more time consuming. A diet high in meat puts the digestive system under constant strain and can easily lead to digestive issues and conditions such as gout and heart disease.
What About Dairy?
Sorry, the bad news isn’t over. Dairy is hardly any better. Once consumed, it becomes highly acid forming and difficult for our bodies to digest, encouraging weight gain and lethargy.
Don’t we need dairy for calcium & strong healthy bones? Don’t worry – dairy isn’t necessary for calcium as society would have you think. Higher levels of calcium don’t even appear to stop osteoporosis from occurring as Dr T. Colin Campbell writes in his book, ‘The China Study.’ He compares the average consumption of calcium in America compared to China, and discovers that despite America consuming considerably more (1143mg compared to China’s 544mg), American citizens experience much higher levels of osteoporosis.
Dark green leafy vegetables as well as nuts and seeds are fantastic sources of calcium. Therefore a balanced and varied diet is completely possible through a vegan plant based diet.
Time for Some Good News
Plant foods give us light, powerful energy. Ever felt exhausted after eating a non-meat salad? It doesn’t happen does it? Compare that to having a traditional meal of meat and potatoes. I often find it exhausting. And guess what? Food shouldn’t make you want to crawl under a duvet to take a nap, food is meant to give you energy! And it seems that after one too many Sunday roasts we’ve forgotten that. Don’t get me wrong, a rich meal on Christmas day might be just what you want, and why not? But feeling incredibly tired after every meal… surely that’s not right?
Healthy Fats, Cholesterol & Protein
‘But WHERE do you get your protein?? That’s the question that’s always asked. Vegan, plant-based protein is surrounded by many misconceptions. By eating a highly varied, colourful, well-sourced vegan diet (consisting of all food groups!) you are able to give your body enough protein. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these professional, vegan athletes:
Barny Du Plessis (Mr. Universe Bodybuilder)
Scott Jurek (Ultra marathon athlete)
Rich Roll (Ultra triathlon athlete)
Jim Morris (Vegan bodybuilder)
Billy Simmons (Vegan bodybuilder)
David Carter (NFL athlete)
Tony Gonzalez (NFL athlete)
And that’s just a few. Search for ‘Vegan athletes’ and there will be a world of inspiration at your fingertips.
Fats are not created equal. Plant based sources of fat such as avocados and olive oil are wonderful, healthy sources. They are not only good for you, but in fact necessary to your diet. Good fats help you to feel full and satisfied & are good for your heart. Bad fats, on the other hand, including red meat, butter and cream (just to name and shame a few) will load your body full of cholesterol and put you at risk of heart disease.
So if you’re not yet convinced of choosing Veganism – experiment with increasing your daily intake of plant food. It doesn’t need to be a lot. That side salad with dinner, fruit with breakfast or carrot and hummus snack can go a long way to reinvigorating your body, detoxing your digestive system and giving you a new lease of life that animal foods just can’t give you. I know all vegan’s aren’t perfect – but if you eat a varied, organic, locally sourced vegan diet you are providing your body with the best nutrition possible, whilst helping the planet in the process.
On a side note, if you are trying a vegan diet for the first time, a good trick to go by is eat fruit before anything else. Eating fruit after a main meal is not the best thing to do for nutrition… and gas. If you eat fruit after a meal, the fruit will just sit on top of everything else, ferment (fruit breaks down in your body faster than other foods) and then might make you gassy issues with your digestion.