Have you considered becoming a vegan? Are you curious? Being a vegan is more a lifestyle choice than it is a diet.
People choose the vegan lifestyle for various reasons including animal rights and welfare, religious beliefs, disease prevention or control, or simply to become more environmentally friendly. After all, avoiding animal products is a way to reduce your carbon footprint
“There’s definitely been a renewed interest in all things vegan,” says Dr. Tushar Mehta, Family Physician and Founder of Run for The Earth. “The vegan lifestyle has changed from expensive and difficult, and has become a lot more accessible thanks to the increase in vegan dining options, DIY recipes, and the incredible amount of educational resources available.”
Why do people switch? Here are some factors to consider:
1 – Lower risk of cancer: Research has shown that eating animal fats and proteins is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. Men with early stage prostate cancer have been able to reverse the progression of their illness by changing to a vegan lifestyle. Similar studies have also shown that women who eat very little or no meat have a much lower rate of breast cancer than those who consume more animal products.
2 – Lower risk of cardiovascular health issues: Reducing the amount of saturated fats often found in dairy products and meats, and instead eating nuts and whole grains can improve your overall cardiovascular health.
3 – Lower cholesterol and blood pressure: Studies show that eliminating animal based foods and changing to a vegan lifestyle rich in whole grains plays a key role in lowering high blood pressure. Plant-based diets with lots of vegetables and fruits contain very little to no cholesterol so it is no surprise that it is good for your heart.
4 – Increased energy: In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, being a vegan also brings various physical benefits including much higher energy.
5 – Improved complexion: There have been instances when people suffered from long-term acne issues and found their skin changed completely when switching to a vegan diet. The nuts and vitamins A and E often found in vegetables play a key role in making this happen.
“The number one question I get from people interested in switching to vegan is how to get the nutrients you would normally get from animal-based products,” adds Dr. Mehta. “It’s simple. Beans, nuts, lentils, cereals, soy products, whole grains, and chick peas are only a few of the various plant-based sources that can help vegans meet their protein, vitamin B or iron needs among others.”
A great way to find out more is to visit Toronto’s Veg Food Fest, the largest vegan food festival in North America. Presented by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, it takes place September 9-11 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.