The Proof Is In The Pudding: Vegan Pudding That Is. Veganism Isn't Just a Meatless Mania

There are a number of reasons why people are increasingly choosing a vegan diet.  In addition to moral considerations, health benefits like reduced risk in cardiovascular health and diabetes [7] and celebrities endorsing it,  make it hard not to look into whether a vegan diet might be of benefit to you as well. 

Well, it's not always easy, as some do not understand the allure of the vegan diet of those partaking in it and it might prove to be difficult to get a well balanced meal when you're out or on the go, but the research seems to show proof postive:  that when it is well balanced to include all nutrients, the vegan diet could have extraordinary health benefits. 

Plant Based Foods Are More Than Just Salads

A vegan diet is one that is based entirely on plant based foods.[1]  These include:

* fruits

* the wide range of vegetables

*  seeds and grains including quinoa, rice, wheat and oat

* and meat-less proteins like:

     *  lentils

     *  chickpeas

     *  tofu

     *  soybeans and soy products, fermented soy products like miso and tempeh, and soy protein powders [1]

     *  nuts and seeds, nutbutters and seed butters

A vegan diet differs from a vegetarian one in that it it doesn't allow ANY animal products, not just meat-restrictive ones known to vegetarianism.  No jello at grandma's reunion picnic.  No honey candies or saturday morning eggy pancakes.  This diet includes no honey, butter, cheese, or any other product that was sourced from or made from an animal, or even insect.   

Let your vegan flag fly high, however!  The vegan diet has gained quite a bit of popularity traction in recent years and now it takes nothing more than the tap of your fingers to find delicious vegan recipes to take the place of such family favorites. 

Try these delicious pancakes from Simple Veganista [2]

Or this vegan jello from Loving It Vegan [3]

"Where's the Beef?":  Plates That Might Benefit From Missing Meat

It is shown that there are multiple health benefits from a vegan diet, including benefits in top morbidity diseases like obesity, and metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. [1]  There is no shortage of studies to prove it!

*  In one randomized clinical trial in participants with Type II Diabetes consuming a low fat vegan diet showed that 46% of participants were able to decrease their diabetes medications. [4]  The study concluded that a low fat vegan diet was favorable for those attempting to control lipids and glycemia. [4]

*  a 2017 meta-analyses showed a vegan diet had a substantial reduction in the risk of incidence of cancer [6]

*  In a 2020 study to assess the association between vegan diets and inflammatory biomarkers, it was concluded that more studies were needed, however there was a direct and positive correlation between veganism and BMI and waist circumference, which are known to be highly influential on inflammatory biomarkers. [7]

Plates That Might Want To Keep Their Meaty Portions

Those with diagnoses like IBD, Crohns disease, or celiac with malapsorption might want to avoid or be extra conscientious if choosing a vegan diet as deficiencies of vitamins and minerals are generally already a concern for this group of individuals.  For example, B12 deficiency is prevalent particulary in those that eat a vegan diet. [1] 

The question on whether a vegan diet is beneficial for children, however has been under long-term debate as children are highly susceptible to the potential of inadequate nutrient intakes that are essential for developing bodies and brains. [5]  An 2021 article admitted to the research on the appropriateness of a vegan diet in children is heavily outdated and did concur that it is a committment that needs careful guidance and expert planning.  [5]  

Those that are already on a restrictive diet might also be especially observant to make sure it is the right diet for them and there are still plenty of options in their diet plan.  

Where Do You Go From Here?

1.  Talk with your practitioner and nutritionist.  Veganism is not to be played with as there are some very real risks of developing deficiencies in critical nutrients like calcium, zinc, B12, omega 3's, and iron. [1]  These are gleaned normally in the diets amongst the meat eating population, so there is extra effort on the part of the vegan to ensure availability of these particular nutrients.  

2.  Beware of "dirty veganism".  This is where the mentality is that as long as it's considered vegan, it's considered healthy.  There are plenty of unhealthy vegans eating an exorbitant amount of pastas and cereals simply because they are vegan and eat no vegetables or fruits whatsoever.  A healthy diet is one that is balanced, fulfills nutrient requirements, and is sustainable.  Make sure you know the ins and outs of what to include in your diet so that it truly is the healthy diet it can be!

3.  Veganism seems to be a movement, with the participants enjoying the comraderie that comes with what is not only not only a lifestyle but a moral stance as well.  I would highly recommend hooking up with discussion boards and support groups and the popular Meatless Mondays website to have a clear understanding of all that is involved in enjoying a vegan diet.   Who knows?  It might be just the stepping stone you need to evolve in other conscious ways as well!

 

1  Ross, K. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2021.  Vegan and Vegetarian [PDF]. SCNM. https://scnm.instructure.com/courses/3499/pages/module-3-lecture?module_item_id=139507

2  Julie | The Simple Veganista. (2021, March 28). Vegan gluten free pancakes - The simple Veganista. THE SIMPLE VEGANISTA. https://simple-veganista.com/banana-flapjacks-gluten-free-vegan/

3  Vegan, L. I. (2019, March 21). Fruity vegan jello. Loving It Vegan. https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-jello/

4  Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ, et al. A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1777-1783. doi:10.2337/dc06-0606

5  Kiely ME. Risks and benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets in children. Proc Nutr Soc. 2021;80(2):159-164. doi:10.1017/S002966512100001X

6  Dinu M, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A, Sofi F. Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(17):3640-3649. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1138447

7  Menzel J, Biemann R, Longree A, et al. Associations of a vegan diet with inflammatory biomarkers. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):1933. Published 2020 Feb 6. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-58875-x


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