Sitting here with my morning cuppa, I thought to share my thoughts on Veganism; not to judge or preach anyone, but over the holidays it was a hot discussion topic with so many, so I thought to share my views with you all. 
 
There are many ways to embrace vegan living. but one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey - as well as avoiding animal-derived materials, products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment. 
 
Firstly the environment. From recycling our household rubbish to cycling to work, we're all aware of ways to live a greener life. But one of the most effective ways an individual could do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products. This goes way beyond the problem of cow wind issues! The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment - from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment. 
 
For people a plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. With rising global food and water insecurity due to the environmental and socio-economic problems, this would be the time to adopt a more sustainable way of living. 
 
For your health, for a well planned vegan meal follow healthy eating guidelines, and contain all the nutrients that our bodies need. Both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognise that they are suitable for every age and stage of life. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. 
 
But are there any negatives? 
Getting enough protein from pulses can cause bloating which with regards to the flautulant cows can effect us humans too. 
Unfortunately, a diet that excludes all animal products does have some nutritional drawbacks. 
Calcuim, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and folate—all of which are present in meat and dairy—as key nutrients a vegan diet can lack. The reduced or even (in some extreme cases) non-existent levels of vitamin B-12 in a strict vegan diet are of particular concern. Vitamin B-12 has many implications for the smooth running of the central nervous system and for optimizing metabolic functions and it’s quite hard to get adequate amounts of B-12 from fruits and vegetables alone. 
 
Meat, particularly beef, and shellfish are rich sources of iron for omnivores, but it's important for vegans to consume iron-rich foods as well. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and problems with brain function. Females need 18 milligrams of iron daily between the ages of 19 and 50, but the requirement jumps to 27 milligrams for pregnant women. Men only need 8 milligrams daily. Breakfast cereals fortified with iron, soybeans, white beans and spinach are good sources of iron for vegans. 
 
Vegans need to eat plant sources of calcium, such as dark leafy greens or fortified soy products, to get the recommended 1,000 milligrams per day. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and adults need 600 international units per day. Vegans need to either take a vitamin D supplement or drink soy milk fortified with vitamin D. Most vegans need to take a vitamin B-12 supplement to get 2.4 micrograms per day since the vitamin is mainly found in animal products. Some soy milk and breakfast cereals are fortified with B-12, but just watch the sugar in these. 
 
Further to this there is a lot of research into meat free alternatives and the amount of salt and processes that are added which are harmful to us especially our hearts. 
 
So really its time to ask yourself: if it is now possible to live a life that involves good clean foods, leaves a smaller carbon footprint and avoids killing other creatures for you and your family? Yes it will take some thinking and relearning, perhaps more time in preparation and planning but I know my conclusion what’s yours? 
 
Even to go Vegan half the week is surely better for everyone than nothing? Go on give it ago……make it this years resolution. 
 
 
References: 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/06/health-warning-salt-content-vegetarian-sausages/ 
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/salt-warning-on-meat-substitutes-pjp9pr9hf 
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/ n why don't we? 
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ 
https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/vitamins-minerals/iron.html 
https://www.aarp.org/food/diet-nutrition/info-02-2011/9-pros-and-cons-to-going-vegan.html 
https://www.vegsoc.org/ 
https://apple.news/Aj3RnKspnRt6mUlvR1-xODA 
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