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    Not all Vegan Diets are Healthy

    Not all Vegan Diets are Healthy

    Many people are attracted to the vegan diet because of morality. If someone believes that it is not ethical to eat animal byproducts, the vegan diet is the only option. Not only does the vegan diet remove meat, but it also eliminates eggs, dairy, and other animal byproducts.

    But the vegan lifestyle is not just a great option for ethical reasons. Many studies are beginning to show that a vegan diet is healthier, as compared to other options.

    Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

    A study from the University of Florence in Italy showed that vegan diets lead to lower rates of cancer and ischemic heart disease. Other research has indicated that vegan diets can help with gut health, lower stress levels and less uncomfortable symptoms for women during menopause.

    The vegan lifestyle may also be one of the top options for weight loss. A study from 2015 done by the University of South Carolina showed that even if people did not follow their diet plan diligently, vegans were losing more weight as compared to non-vegans.

    Good and Bad Vegan Diets

    There are some principles that every vegan diet must adhere to. A vegan diet will not include foods such as chicken, beef, fish, cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs. But there are so many types of foods that do not fall into those categories. It is why saying that a vegan diet is the healthiest option is not so simple.

    While much of the research cited above shows that a vegan diet may be more healthy and a better weight loss option than non-vegan diets, there are still good or bad diets within veganism.

    Study on Various Vegan Diets

    A recent study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is a very informative look at different types of vegan diets. The study was created to understand the relationship between a plant-based diet of different qualities and a person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease.

    Every participant in the study started without any signs of chronic disease. They were monitored for close to 20 years, submitting information about their diet to the researchers every couple of years.

    Their diet was split into three sections: an overall plant-based diet, a healthful plant-based diet, and an unhealthful plant-based diet. The overall diet simply emphasized eating plant-based foods instead of animal foods.

    With the healthy diet, healthful plant foods were prioritized, while unhealthy plant-based foods were prioritized in the final section.

    Healthful foods are items such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, vegetable oils and non-calorie beverages such as coffee and tea. And unhealthful diet includes a lot of juice, sweetened drinks, refined grains, potatoes, fried food, and sweets. If someone did consume an animal product within the time they were monitored, it was also included as an unhealthy food.

    Importance of Healthy Vegan Foods

    The study found that when someone ate more healthful plant-based foods, they had a lower chance of developing heart disease. Those who had the least healthy plant-based foods had a 32 percent greater chance of suffering from heart disease. A healthful plant-based diet also helped with lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    Studies such as these show that while a vegan diet is healthier than a non-vegan diet, there are many different approaches to veganism. Someone who consumes a lot of fruit juice, sweetened coffees and teas, fried foods and refined grains is still a vegan. But they are not necessarily a healthy vegan.

    Focusing on healthy, plant-based foods is the best approach when it comes to healthy veganism. Not only is that an ethical way to eat and live, but it also lowers risk for issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    How to Pack on Lean Muscle Mass While Going Vegan

    How to Pack on Lean Muscle Mass While Going Vegan

    As a society, we tend to associate building mass with eating a lot of meat. The two have become synonymous. It is why so many workout enthusiasts end up gorging on steaks, chicken, and other meat-based protein sources when they are attempting to bulk up.

    However, there is no reason to look to animal by products for protein while trying to build lean muscle mass. There are some great options within the vegan diet for building lean muscle mass. In fact, these options are a lot healthier for the body in the short and long-term.

    Those who are apprehensive about gaining lean muscle on a vegan diet should read on.

    Great Foods for Building Muscle Mass

    The first rule for building lean muscle mass on a vegan diet is to eat real and not processed foods. The issue with processed items is they contain a lot of unnecessary additives that will inhibit the attempts to gain lean muscle mass. There are too many hidden sugars and unhealthy fats in processed foods, even if they are labeled as “vegan alternatives” to animal-based food items.

    Eating protein-rich meals on a vegan diet is no issue. People assume that a lack of meat means there is no protein in a dish. However, it is not true. For instance, vegans can enjoy foods such as lentils, tofu, black beans, and quinoa if they are hoping to bulk up on lean muscle mass.

    Lentils are an excellent source of protein, delivering 9g per half cup. Moreover, they have 15 grams of fiber in the same serving, which is excellent for digestive health. Tofu contains 10g of protein per cup. It is so easy to add to meals, as it goes well with salads, stir fry dishes and sandwiches. It has such a neutral flavor that it can easily absorb the flavors of other ingredients and spices!

    Not only are black beans full of protein (8g per half cup), but they are also a wonderful source of antioxidants. They also contain less starch compared to other beans, which is helpful for those who do not digest beans so easily.

    The final change to make to a vegan diet while building lean muscle mass is to substitute quinoa for other carbs. While rice can be a useful part of a vegan diet, it is not very nutritious. Quinoa contains 8g of protein per cup, along with good amounts of iron, potassium, and magnesium.

    Exercises to Build Lean Muscle Mass

    When building lean muscle mass, it is important to stay moving at the gym. Many people are used to working out at a more leisurely pace, where they take a few minutes break between each set of repetitions. However, the goal of building lean muscle mass is to improve muscle size and definition, but not lead to over-bulking. Moving around and staying active helps with that.

    It is a good idea to split up exercises into different muscle groups, which allows each part of the body to get adequate rest. For instance, working on the chest and biceps the first day, legs the second day, shoulders and triceps the third day, and the back on the final day is a good base workout plan. Of course, it is possible to add a couple of rest days into that schedule, so it extends to the whole week.

    Exercises such as the bench press, push-ups, bicep and tricep curls, barbell squats, calf raises, lunges, overhead press and deadlifts are very useful when trying to build lean muscle mass. With these exercises, it is important to focus on proper form and getting a decent amount of reps completed. Shoot for three sets of 8 to 10 reps, instead of fewer reps at a heavier weight.

    The Honest Truth About Adopting a Vegan Lifestyle

    The Honest Truth About Adopting a Vegan Lifestyle

    It started out as a trend that most people expected would go away. “Oh, it is just another fad. People will get over it.” Being vegan is not a fad, trend or fashion statement. It is a lifestyle based on people’s beliefs and desire to live a humane, healthy life.

    There are so many misconceptions, lies and falsehoods put out there regarding a vegan lifestyle. “It leads to malnutrition. People do not get enough protein. Vegans are unhealthier than meat eaters. It is bad for the environment.” So, what is the truth? What is it like to adopt a vegan lifestyle?

    Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

    There is no doubt that change is difficult. When a person is making any type of change in their life, there are hurdles to overcome. Those who are used to eating meat, dairy, and other animal products must go through an adjustment period. But that period is a lot shorter than most people assume.

    Many vegans have talked about how they were shocked that their first week in the diet was so easy. They were expecting meat and dairy cravings and other issues, but it never transpired. Why? Because there are so many incredible options in the vegan diet.

    All fruits and vegetables are present in a vegan diet. Enjoy making a refreshing salad after coming home from work? It is still possible on a vegan diet! In fact, it is the cornerstone of the diet, as fruits and vegetables are so good for the body.

    And with whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa, there is always a staple of carbohydrates for those who enjoy it. Beans and legumes are a wonderful source of nutrients, with kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, hummus, and lentils a key part of many vegan diets.  

    Healthy and Moral Lifestyle

    Most people transition to a vegan lifestyle because they are unhappy at eating animal products. They do not see it as humane to eat meat, dairy and other items that come from animals. It is understandable because animals have as much right to live as humans.

    But staying in the vegan lifestyle is not only about morals, but health too. There are scientifically proven reasons why a vegan lifestyle is the right choice for most people. For instance, a vegan diet provides you with more fiber, antioxidants, plant compounds, potassium, magnesium and key vitamins. Why? Because the foods most vegans consume after ditching meat will contain these nutrients.

    Many controlled studies have also shown that those who are on a vegan diet are more likely to lose weight, as compared to those who continue to eat meat and dairy. And it is easier to remain within a calorie limit on a vegan lifestyle, as there are fewer “empty calories” to consume from foods such as red meat and cheese.

    Dispelling Myths

    It is a very common myth regarding veganism that vegans do not get enough protein and iron. “How can someone gain muscle mass while eating vegan” is a common question. But it is a lie.

    Vegans get plenty of protein and iron. Foods such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains provide a ton of protein and iron. By adding tofu, tempeh, kidney beans, quinoa, chia seeds and healthy grains, a vegan diet is perfect for aspiring athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

    In fact, many famous athletes have commented about how switching to a plant-based, vegan diet helped them improve their physical performance. Famous NFL players have transitioned away from a meat and dairy-oriented diet to find they had more energy, less inflammation, and more lean muscle mass.

    Anyone considering a vegan diet should understand that it is superior to any non-vegan lifestyle. It is also the humane way to consume food. The transition is never simple and easy, but it is more than doable. And when the initial transition is over, continuing as a vegan feels as natural as waking up in the morning!

    The Top 10 Myths About Going Vegan (and 3 things that are true)

    The Top 10 Myths About Going Vegan (and 3 things that are true)

    Know someone who is considering going vegan? Thinking about making a personal choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle? There are so many vegan myths that can cloud a person’s judgment when making such an important decision. Here is a list of the top ten vegan myths that have been debunked time and time again!

    Top Ten Vegan Myths

    1. Vegans Need More Supplements

    There is no study that shows vegans consume more supplements than people on other diets. Of course, some vegans may need supplements based on the foods they eat, but that is the same for those who eat meat and dairy.

    2. Veganism is Just a Trend

    Many people first heard about veganism in the past few years, which leads them to believe it is a modern trend that will go away. But veganism originated in the 1940s, or even earlier, which shows it is only growing in popularity - not a trend that will go away.

    3. Children Should Not Be Vegan

    People like to point out children will miss out on some nutrients if they are vegan. But it is not true. So long as their diet is balanced, they will get every nutrient they need from healthy sources.

    4. Vegans Eat Too Many Processed Foods

    The opposite is true. Those who go toward veganism tend to stay away from fast food, processed foods, and other unhealthy items. They eat more vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts and healthy fats.

    5. Vegans Lose Muscle Mass

    If a vegan has an imbalanced diet, they may lose muscle mass. But the protein from meat is easily replaced by soy, tofu, healthy grains, seeds, and nuts.

    6. Food Allergies and Veganism are Incompatible

    Again, the opposite is true. Many people are allergic to dairy, meat or both. It is why they choose to move away from processed and animal products.

    7. Veganism is Always Healthy

    It is important to remember that veganism is only as healthy as the diet a person adopts. If someone is eating only bread and beans all day, they are not being very healthy. Similarly, if someone consumes 1000 calories a day more than their daily requirement, they are not being healthy.

    8. Veganism is for Hippies

    Veganism has nothing to do with hipsters or hippies. It is a lifestyle that anyone can adopt, especially if they want to be healthier or believe that eating animal products is immoral.

    9. Veganism Lowers Testosterone

    There is zero link between eating meat and testosterone. There are professional athletes who are vegan, along with bodybuilders. Some of the best testosterone boosting foods come from plants.

    10. Plants Feel Pain Too

    Plants do not have a central nervous system, which means they cannot feel pain.

     

    Three FACTS About the Vegan Diet

    1. Veganism is Scientifically Healthier Than Other Diets

    Even some vegans do not realize that veganism is scientifically healthier than many other diets. Several studies have shown that when people adopt a vegan diet, they tend to get more fiber, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium, as compared to those who have a diet that includes meat and dairy.

    2. A Vegan Diet May Protect Against Cancer

    While a vegan lifestyle is not a cure or preventive measure against all cancer, studies have shown that a vegan diet could help against certain cancers. Studies indicate that eating vegan-friendly foods, such as legumes, fruits and vegetables and soy products helps lower the risk of cancer. The percentage change is anywhere from 9 to 15 percent, depending on the study.

    3. Veganism Promotes Eating Natural Foods

    Veganism is not about eating processed or unhealthy food. While some vegans may go in an unhealthy direction, most eat more natural and healthy foods. For instance, the typical vegan diet consists of foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, tofu, soy and healthy grains. Foods such as spinach, avocado, quinoa, farro, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and hummus are fantastic for the body.

    How to Get Enough Protein and Iron (while only eating plants)

    How to Get Enough Protein and Iron (while only eating plants)

    “Does a vegan diet provide enough protein and iron for the body?” It is one of the most common questions that people ask about going vegan. Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of misinformation out there regarding the vegan diet, protein, and iron. Many people assume that if they are to abstain from eating any animal products or byproducts, they will forgo many nutrients from their diet.

    However, it is a complete misconception. The vegan diet offers plenty of sources for protein and iron. Here is a simple guide that will show all aspiring vegans how to get enough protein and iron in their diet.

    1. Eat More Tofu, Tahini, Green Lentils and Mushrooms

    These four foods are incredibly useful within a vegan diet. Not only are they delicious additions to any lunch or dinner, but they are also packed full of the nutrients the body needs to grow and stay healthy. Green lentils contain roughly 6mg of iron per cup, while mushrooms have around 2.5mg per cup. Tahini is an incredible source of protein, bringing in 6g per a single ounce, while an ounce of tofu delivers 4g of protein.

    A huge advantage of getting protein from such sources is that all the unhealthy aspects of meat and dairy are avoided. While meat provides a lot of protein in a typical diet, it is also full of unhealthy fats and other substances that are not good for our body. Focusing on items such as tofu, tahini, green lentils, and mushrooms will help vegans maintain a healthy balance of protein and iron.

    2. Go Nuts

    Nuts are one of the biggest assets within a vegan diet. Not only are they delicious, but they contain all the right nutrients too. And they are so easy to incorporate into a diet. They do not require cooking or adding to meals. Packing up a zip-lock bag of mixed nuts is the perfect way to create a healthy snack that is full of protein and other nutrients.

    Those searching for vegan protein sources will love nuts. Almonds contain 6g of protein for each ounce, while hazelnuts deliver 4g per 1oz. Cashews are another excellent source of protein, clocking in at 5g per ounce. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and walnuts are also great source of iron. It is also a good idea to add items such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to a bag of mixed nuts, as those are also rich in iron.

    3. Replace Simple Carbs with Quinoa

    It is incredible how much of a difference quinoa can make to a vegan diet. Instead of gorging on simple carbs, it is a good idea to add quinoa to the base of some meals. A single cup of cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein and up to 15 percent of the daily iron requirement for healthy adults. It is among the best vegan iron sources, as it is so easy to incorporate into a diet.

    Making a raw salad for dinner? Add cold quinoa to the base. Cooking up some roasted vegetables? Quinoa is the perfect warm side dish. It also contains other nutrients that will help vegans meet their daily requirements, such as manganese, magnesium, folate, copper, and potassium.

    The idea that going vegan means having to give up on a lot of protein and iron in one’s diet is a complete misconception. There are plenty of incredible sources of protein and iron within the vegan diet. In fact, these foods are healthier than “animal” protein and iron sources, such as red meat. Vegans who eat plant-based sources of protein will live healthier and happier lives!