Many new dietary fads have come and gone, but few have remained.
Veganism is an emerging lifestyle that has been popularized by various youtubers, celebrities and organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
According to Vegan Action, a vegan is “someone who chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products.”
Many vegans choose to not wear animal products, such as fur, wool and cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Another name for a vegan diet is called a whole-foods plant-based diet.
There can be many benefits to adopting this lifestyle, such as improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and weight loss.
The Dietary Guidelines Committee performed a 2010 review on the effect to individuals that are on plant-based diets compared to those that are not. They found that “plant-based diets were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality compared with non-plant-based diets.”
Many individuals are trying to improve their lifestyle and are incorporating more fruits and vegetables to aid in having a more balanced diet.
Bethany Thomas, sophomore biochemistry major, said, “While campus doesn’t offer officially vegan meal options I’ve learned how to ‘veganize’ most meal options. So if I’m ordering a burrito I just get it without meat and cheese and I’m good to go. The snacks tend to be where it gets difficult, or having to ask food service workers to go to the back and find the ingredients list. I keep up with the lifestyle by having some of my own vegan food pre-made, so that I can take it with me places.”
Individuals that do not follow the vegan diet wonder where the protein in their meals comes from. An article, Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets, on National Center for Biotechnology Informational by Philip Tuso, Mohamed Ismail and Carole Bartolotto states, “Essential amino acids can be obtained by eating certain combinations of plant-based foods, for example brown rice with beans, and hummus with whole wheat pita.”
There is protein in everything an individual eats, but being aware of foods that consist of more protein assists an individual on a vegan lifestyle.
Jen Sorenson, a physician assistant at Student Health Services, said, “Following a vegan diet can be a healthy option when a person is careful about their intake of certain vitamins and minerals that may typically be lacking in a vegan diet. Studies do suggest that consumption of a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower incidence of obesity, heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.”
“Vegans, who typically exclude dairy products in their diet, may, however, have low bone mineral density and higher risk of fractures due to inadequate intake of calcium,” Sorenson said. “Ashley Chrisinger, a registered dietitian at Student Health Service, can review your diet and offer nutritional advice.”
There are many reasons why a person might choose to follow the vegan lifestyle. It could be for religious reasons or simply because they want to avoid using products derived from animals. For more information, ask advice from a physician and follow up with research.