There seems to be a major controversy going around the health industry about the dangers of being vegan.
Many people believe this diet could be responsible for a person’s demise over time while others swear by it as a way to improve your health and well-being.
For something that is considered to be a healthy lifestyle and yet have so much controversy, I decided to do a little digging for facts and found some interesting information, including some shocking things.
Europe for example is seeing a huge trend with up to 10 percent of its population claiming to be Vegan and they host a celebration known as the Veganes Sommerfest. They even have butch shops popping up all over Berlin specifically made for people who live this lifestyle!
But I am mentioning Europe because there are some shocking things to report about what has happened to many people who switched and we’ll look at that in a bit. The stats coming out of there may make you rethink switching as well.
But anyway, let’s take a look at what was found when investigating this topic and I’ll let you decide on whether it is right for you and or your family.
What Is Being Vegan mean?
I went to Wikipedia for a definition of the this lifestyle and here is what they have to say.
It seems there are three definitions presented.
One is the most strict definition which boils down to not eating any animal products including fish, poultry, eggs, honey, and meat. You can pretty much label this as vegetarian.
The second definition is called an ethical vegan and this is more of a lifestyle than the strict version in that is has set opinions on any use of animals for any product creation from testing. This version opposes the use of animals for any purpose be it consumption or not.
The third type is called environmental vegans. This lifestyle believes that industrial farming and harvesting of animals is cruel and is also unsustainable and should not be happening in any way.
They all seem to have the idea in common that man should not exploit animals for any purpose aside from companionship.
Pros to living a vegan lifestyle
These types of diets are known to lead to higher fiber in the diet along with phytochemicals, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium.
This diet is also lower in cholesterol, saturated fats, and B-12 vitamins along with zinc, calcium and vitamin D.
Strictly following this type of lifestyle can reduce many types of disease including heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and others.
It is recognized by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as appropriate for all stages of the life cycle.
All of this sounds pretty good but there are some concerns with this lifestyle that have some doctors and even governments up in arms! Let’s take a look at some of the cons that were found and why some think this is a dangerous diet…
Cons To The Vegan Lifestyle
These types of diets are lacking in some vitamins, calcium, and iron and are heavy on nuts and soy products which one would think is a good thing but alas, some say it is not.
Soy and nuts can be very hard to digest and for people with low stomach acid, this could create serious problems. Soy is also a thyroid suppressive and it can interfere with digestion.
Some doctors warn that because your body is so quick to adapt to changes in survival methods it can take months to years before any symptoms start showing due to lack of proper nutrients, many times causing impaired detoxification, thyroid issues, and/or hormonal imbalance.
These discoveries can possibly be too late to correct any imbalance or reverse the damage.
Long-term effects are still being studied but to date, there really is no civilization on the planet that is completely plant based. They all have some sort of animal product they live on.
One other major concern is the lack of vitamin A in this diet, which can only be derived from animals. There are supplements available, but many people can not break down these into a simple form of vitamin A thus creating what is called poor gut health.
And speaking of poor gut health, one thing you may want to consider is eating foods with healthy amounts of healthy bacteria. Not exactly vegan, but it The Lose Your Belly Diet explains why it’s important to maintain a healthy gut through this method.
Supplements are recommended and careful planning must be used in creating diets that will cover all the nutrients needed for a balanced healthy diet.
Other World Views (Back to Europe):
In an interesting finding we did find some disturbing reports from Germany. This county has issued a warning in response to the recent popularity of this lifestyle in its biggest city, Berlin.
They claim this diet is hazardous especially to pregnant women and children due to lack of nutrition issues. This is shocking considering this country seems to be at the heart of the plant-based diet movement in Europe.
Their concerns pretty much go along with the cons we stated above, but they did also report that this diet, when planned properly and executed can be life changing and reap a bounty of healthy rewards including lower cancer rates.
Their concern is that many people who are taking part in this are not doing the necessary planning and the long-term effects of the lack of proper nutrition can be devastating to the body.
So what can be drawn from these things?
We have covered what the different forms of the vegan lifestyle are, how it can change your life and what the concerns are from both doctors and users of this lifestyle.
We also covered the deeper meanings of being a strict, ethical and environmental vegan and how that can effect our environment.
One thing most people can agree on is not all diets work for everyone. People are different and what works for you may not work for your neighbor so when changing to a lifestyle like this it is imperative to do it right by keeping records and be sure to do your homework.
Now obviously for Vegans, the main point is doing no harm to animals. Personally in my opinion, this crosses into some very extreme territory as even before the agriculture and industrial age, people were eating animals to survive and many methods they used to capture and eat them were through humane methods.
There was no such thing as locking up and tutoring animals, which I have said in an article comparing veganism to vegetarianism is something I agree with wholeheartedly.
If you are someone who is at crossroads to eating this way or not because you are worried about what it does to animals, consider the fact that so many of them are meat eaters to begin with, including us. We are not herbivores by nature, we are omnivores and to change our diets to ignore a huge chunk of our nature is unsurprisingly showing through the evidence above that it can really mess up our health in some areas, while improving it in others.
Overall, we have to consider that as long as what we eat is humanely gathered and the animal doesn’t suffer, that at least then, in my opinion, it can be OK to eat meat.