Ah yes, food and diets – always popular topics in the doctor’s office!
Q: “Is there value in a vegan diet? What are the drawbacks? What are the benefits of a vegan diet?”
A: Yes, there is value in a vegan diet. A vegan diet is one where all nutrients are obtained from vegetables and none from any animal source (no eggs, no milk, no cheese and no meat).
The challenges and drawbacks are:
- You will need a vitamin B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, so no animal products means no Vitamin B12 and the human body needs Vitamin B12! Vitamin B12 can be synthesized in a lab though, and therefore taking a B12 supplement is still vegan!
- You will have to ensure you eat enough iron. There are vegetable sources of iron, but sometimes a supplement is needed.
- You may also need extra calcium, vitamin D, and zinc.
- You will need to be sure you obtain enough protein in your diet. Think beans, legumes, soy, and nuts.
- It can be challenging to eat out eating a vegan diet. Though, there are more restaurants now than a few years ago that offer vegan fare.
- Your friends may not understand. If they are truly your friends, they’ll accept you no matter what!
- You may or may not lose weight! Most vegans do lose weight, but you can eat plenty of calories in a vegan diet and therefore still gain weight (think donuts, cakes, cookies, bread, and rice – but no butter, no eggs, and no dairy in those items).
The benefits of a vegan diet are:
- You will be eating no cholesterol in a vegan diet. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. So, a vegan diet can help lower your cholesterol.
- You can probably eat for less money. Pound for pound, meat is the most expensive food. I’m not talking about a pound of saffron or truffles! However, fresh fruits can be pricey.
- You’ll probably have perfect BMs as you’ll be eating more fiber than you otherwise would. High fiber diets are very helpful at preventing colon cancer.