Our world is constantly changing at an ever-quickening pace, and thankfully, a lot of these changes are positive. Particularly when it comes to living and consuming mindfully, we seem to have become more aware as a society. We’re trying to reach out to each other and nature itself, probably as a result of being fed up with the way things have been so far. In a collective quest to be more mindful of how we eat, research suggests that the search for plant-based products is rapidly escalating and veganism is going to be the next big thing in 2018. But when it comes to any kid of mega-trend, nothing is ever black and white and education is key. So, whether you’re thinking of going vegan or completely opposed to the idea, let’s look at some facts.
Plant-based diet done the right way
As the number of people who adhere to vegan or vegetarian diets has gradually increased, so have the options of finding healthy plant-based foods. The whole idea is much more demystified now and even non-vegetarians are making use of the extensive knowledge we gained on extremely nutritious fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
For example, avocado, various nuts (especially almonds), seeds, beans and legumes, tofu, quinoa, rice, tempeh and leafy greens such as kale and spinach have all proven to be highly nutritious ingredients. Various studies suggest that all the necessary nutrients can be taken in through a vegan diet, but only if the meals are diverse and eaten properly. That means that special attention should also be paid in order to ensure that all the nutrients are absorbed to a maximum level. Eating a wide variety of foods is really the most important.
A major contradiction
As we mentioned, the industry of plant-based food has really grown and spread, but with this rise in popularity comes a major contradiction: vegans now have a choice of mock-meats, plant-based cheese, faux fish and a still growing number of imitations of animal-based products. These are all highly processed foods, as their names suggest, and that is precisely where the contradiction lies.
People choose to be vegan because they see it as the best way to consume natural and organic wholefood products and they approach other aspects of consumerism in an eco-friendly way as well – cosmetics, clothes, cleaning products, etc. Being vegan is definitely not about banishing meat from your diet and then turning to processed mock foods to satisfy the craving.
In this sense, there’s really not such a big difference between vegans and conscientious meat-eaters who choose only organic meat from grass fed, free-range animals. Actually, being a junk food vegan is much more worse since rightfully treated and prepared animal products are nutritious, healthy and often essential food sources.
To vegan or not to vegan
People decide to be vegan for various reasons. For many, these reasons are very personal and deeply rooted in their minds. In short, it’s something that resonates with their idea of self so soundly, to the point that they really see it as the only choice for themselves. They are very responsible about their diet, investing a lot of time and effort to prepare meals and to remain well informed.
But a danger emerges when it comes to those who do not fall into this category. Typically, very young people who fall under the influence of social media and the latest trends, without realizing they must first educate themselves before even making a decision…and without realizing that you cannot live off of fruit smoothies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In this category are mostly the people who want to be environmentally conscious through their eating habits, but are not sure how.
When choosing how to eat, the choice should be made for the right reasons. A lot of people feel they would never be able to exclude meat from their diet, and this makes perfect sense as well – everybody gets to choose the kind of lifestyle that resonates with them. Eating only organic, grass-fed meat is an environmentally and socially aware choice as much as veganism. Since studies have shown that a varied plant-based diet is neither beneficial nor detrimental to health, the news is pretty great for everyone – eat what suits you, just make organic, healthy and diversified choices whenever you can.