VEGANS vs MEAT EATERS - Who Will Live Longer? Food / Diet Comparison
What being vegan actually means…
No, it doesn't just mean you eat hummus all day...
The number of vegans in Britain has risen by more than 360 per cent over the past decade, with more and more people switching to either a full on vegan diet or plant-based way of life. Along the way, this spike in vegan converts has sparked a fair few debates including discussion around whether a vegan diet is more, or less healthy, what counts as veganism (are eggs included or not?) and so on.
So, to help dispel fact from fiction, we have put together a helpful guide to equip you with all the info you need before you decide to embark on a new way of eating. And have asked Go Vegan World’s founder Sandra Higgins and nutrition expert, Luciano Venezia, Co-Founder of EDO – an app designed to help vegans with their daily choices – to talk further about veganism so that we can uncover the myths from the facts.
What is veganism?
Sandra says: ‘Veganism means non-violence. It describes a way of living in alignment with the value of justice that avoids causing unnecessary harm to all sentient life. There is no ingredient in the lives or bodies of other animals that humans need for their health or wellbeing. Therefore, we use other animals for reasons of taste, pleasure, convenience and tradition.
Every year 7 billion humans breed and kill 70 billion land animals and kill trillions of fish for food. Therefore, while veganism is not a diet, how we eat greatly affects other animals. Vegans avoid participating in unnecessary violence by not using or viewing other animals as food, clothing, entertainment, research tools or objects.
The greatest problem on earth today is the notion that some lives matter less than others. We imagine that non-human lives hardly matter at all. We live as though our difference from other species entitles us to use them and that they exist for our benefit. This view is not only inaccurate, it is unethical.’
Luciano takes a similar stance, ‘Put simply, being a vegan means eating only plant based foods, excluding all animal products such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and even honey.
There are a number of different types of ‘vegan’ and of course a number of different reasons why an individual would choose to follow a vegan diet. Some choose to go vegan to avoid the exploitation of animals, others are concerned about the environmental impact of the dairy industry, while others prefer a vegan diet for health reasons.’
How healthy is a vegan diet?
Sandra explains, ‘All the major world nutrition and dietetics associations declare that a plant diet, devoid of any animal products, can meet all our nutritional requirements, and help prevent and treat some of the most significant burdens of disease in the Western World including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
A growing body of clinical evidence is demonstrating that animal foods contribute to human disease and premature mortality and that a plant diet confers significant health benefits. The meat, egg, fish and dairy industries have been promoting their products to us as healthy foods because they profit from doing so. It is our human right to be aware that these products contribute very significantly to our risk of developing disease and decreasing our lifespan.
In practice, a plant diet contains foods ranging from the everyday lasagne, shepherd’s pie and pizza to the luxurious gourmet plant cheeses, ice creams, and chocolates. There is a delicious alternative to every animal product including flesh, fish, dairy and eggs.’
Luciano adds, ‘Those who follow a plant-based diet typically have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, a lower body mass index, and reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
However it is important to note that when following a vegan diet it can be more difficult to supply your body with the right amount of nutrients each day. Therefore those who choose to go vegan should carefully plan their meals each day and include a wide variety of highly nourishing foods.
Video: Reasons Why You Should Not Become a Vegan
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