A new diet pops up on the internet just about every day. But one nutritional trend that’s revolutionizing the way people think about their meals is the vegan diet. Choosing to join the vegan lifestyle is a big decision that takes a lot of research, time, and commitment. While losing weight fast is certainly appealing, veganism has many nutritional and environmental benefits beyond a thinner waistline.
Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
Many people falsely believe that vegans don’t get enough nutrients in their diet after cutting out animal products. However, this only becomes an issue if you fail to incorporate nutrient-rich whole foods into your new diet.
In fact, studies report that vegan diets contain more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. They’re also richer in potassium, magnesium, folate, and Vitamins A, C, and E (hello, healthier skin!). To avoid deficiencies in essential fatty acids, Vitamin B12, calcium, iron, iodine, and zinc, switch to a whole foods diet. That means eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
Additionally, a vegan diet can help you avoid developing serious diseases. Eating vegan food can lead to lower blood sugar, improve kidney function, and even help prevent against certain cancers. It can also help lower your risk for heart disease and relieve arthritis pain.
Veganism and Environmental Impact
Beyond the nutritional facts, veganism has a positive impact on the environment as a whole. Using animals for food, shelter, and other resources once supported human survival. However, continuing this pattern has become increasingly unsustainable.
In 2010, the UN released a report encouraging a global movement away from using animal products. Why? Animals raised for consumption are fed over half the world’s total crops. What’s more, 60% of deforestation is done to convert forests into agricultural land for grazing cattle. As we continue to use up agricultural resources for animal products, 14% of the world’s population continues to go hungry.
Making the switch to vegan food can create a more sustainable future for our planet. As more people adopt the vegan lifestyle, the need for deforestation will slow. And, our agricultural resources can be used to feed more people.
Vegan Food and Animal Welfare
Another benefit to the vegan lifestyle is the impact it has on animal welfare. The American diet contains many farm animals, yet few people ever interact with the animals they eat everyday. While farm animals’ emotional capacity goes largely ignored, many people would protest against eating the dogs and cats they keep as pets.
However, evidence suggests that farm animals have a wide emotional range and are actually quite intelligent. One Cambridge study found that cows enjoy mental challenges. They even get excited after using their intellect to overcome obstacles. Pigs have the cognitive skills of a three-year-old child, according to modern research. They are also number two on the list of smartest animals in the world. Even chickens show empathy, have excellent memories, and can do basic math.
Yet, nearly all animals raised for food in America are kept on factory farms. Here, they are needlessly abused. They are kept in small crates where they will never know fresh air, sunshine, or socialization. The only time they can leave is when they go to the slaughterhouse, where they are mutilated for food. Even more disturbing: many animals are fully conscious during these final, brutal moments.
Veganism and Pollynation Apothecary
Pollynation Apothecary is a proud advocate for the vegan lifestyle, with many of our products falling within these guidelines. While we do use beeswax and honey in some products, we always ensure the beekeepers from whom we source materials are using cruelty-free and ethical practices. We are passionate about promoting health and wellness for not only ourselves, but the planet and the animals who share it with us as well.
Ready to make the switch to a vegan diet? Join us this weekend at North Carolina’s First Annual Vegan Soul-FULL Festival on Sunday, May 26, from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. The event will feature Charlotte’s finest vegan vendors and cuisine, with special guests Tabitha Brown and Ayanna Gregory. Come join the fun, eat delicious food, and shop Pollynation Apothecary’s vegan and vegetarian products!