Vegans don’t consume products derived from animals. In the diet, this means no meat, eggs or dairy. This is the strictest type of vegetarian.
A vegan doesn’t consume products derived from animals. In the diet, this means no meat, eggs or dairy. This is the strictest type of vegetarian. However, there are other types of vegetarians with the most common being lacto-ovo who refrain from consuming animal meats but do eat eggs and dairy. A recent sub-classification of vegetarian is a pescatarian who eat eggs, dairy and include fish in the diet. This new category of vegetarian reflects the growing number of people shifting to eating more plants and fewer animals and wanting to be a part of this movement.
Vegetarians still represent a small percentage of the population (10%) but growth in those switching to a plant-based diet has been increasing rapidly. People make this change for a variety of reasons. Some change due to a health or medical scare, some out of concern for the environment, and some because of concern for animals. Sticking to a vegan diet can be hard but becoming a vegetarian is easy and starts with eating vegan occasionally each week.
In making the shift to a vegetarian diet most try to introduce small changes in meal preparation each day. Learning how to prepare vegetarian meals so that they taste good takes a lot of practice and time. However, if you get help from a vegan or follow some simple recipes you will discover that there are many great meal options that are high in protein, nutritious and delicious. The more you learn, practice and discover about being a vegetarian the more committed you will be to a plant-based diet.
There are a number of benefits to eating vegan and these exist even if you simply include a few more vegan options each week.
It is well known that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. This is especially important for those with a family history. As well, reducing the consumption of animal meat has a huge impact on the environment. Experts estimate that if all Americans eliminated just one-quarter pound serving of beef per week, the reduction in global warming gas emissions would be equivalent to taking six million cars off the road. Lastly, many stop or reduce eating animal meat due to the poor treatment of animals bred for food.
The supply chain for the handling and disposing of meat is at an all-time low. This is due in large part to the rising costs to house, feed, treat and transport animals breed for consumption. Many consider the conditions in which animals are housed and then slaughtered to be cruel. In addition, there is growing concern over the use of antibiotics and steroids in animal feed. That ultimately you get exposed to when consuming red meat, fish or chicken.
Every little bit helps. Adding more vegan options to your diet will add up to a significant impact over time. If you are an athlete you likely consume a lot of protein. You may use supplements to support your performance and recovery each day. If you use an equally nutritious and delicious option that is vegan you can positively impact your health, the environment, and animal welfare. Be a leader. Your choices matter and can help support positive changes for many more to follow.
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