Vegan lifestyle is worth the health benefits


Photo Illustration By Bre Parks/The Runner

By Jorge Avila, Opinions Writer

Have you ever considered going vegan? Being vegan can be difficult, as it is more than just a diet choice; going vegan is a lifestyle. If implemented successfully, a vegan diet can lead to several positive health benefits.

Going vegan means cutting all forms of animal-based product from your diet. This includes any meat, eggs, cheese or other dairy products. As a result, vegan diets consist mainly of nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and soy.

According to Madeleine Burry, a writer for Health Magazine and author of 11 Things That Can Happen When You Go Vegan for a Month, removing meat alone from your diet can greatly reduce the risk of several cancers. Following a full vegan diet can lead to weight loss, healthier blood pressure, improved complexion and lower heart disease risk.

In addition, Burry states, “Even after just a few weeks, the sensitivity of our taste buds for fat can change,” meaning our taste buds are able to adapt in a short span of time until eventually the craving for fatty acids is practically gone.

In just a few weeks, our bodies are able to adapt to vegan alternatives and develop new cravings for the foods being eaten. However, the shift to a vegan diet can have damaging side effects if not done correctly.

In her article, Burry cites Shilpa Ravella, a professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, stating, “Gas and bloating may occur as the body adapts to increased fiber intake.”  

She also states the body can suffer from a deficiency of vitamins including iron, zinc and calcium. This is why it is recommended for beginners to implement the diet slowly by progressively cutting various foods from their everyday meals, rather than all at once.

You may be wondering how a vegan is able to consume enough protein in a day without eating any meat. In actuality, protein intake is hardly ever a problem for vegans as there are several plant-based foods that are loaded with protein.

In an article titled Becoming a Vegetarian released by Harvard Health Publishing, it is stated, “There are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains,” all of which are simple foods easily added onto any meal.

Sacrificing your favorite foods can feel like an impossible task, but the long-term health benefits provided by a vegan diet make it all worth it. In addition, there are several great-tasting vegan alternatives to common foods, such as bean patties instead of meat patties, soy-based cheeses and creams, and my personal favorite, almond milk.

So join the millions of people around the world and take those first steps towards going vegan.