Some vegan proponents claim that a plant-based diet is the best option, claiming it provides the body with the optimal nutrition that is needed for good health. It is true that you should be consuming healthy plants, such as vegetables and fruit, but is it really good to eliminate all types of animal products, including meat and dairy?
When you look at the nutritional basis of a vegan diet, you will find many benefits to the types of foods that most vegans eat. The problem lies in the fact that even though the diet has some good elements, there are some gaping holes when it comes to overall nutrition.
Positive Aspects of a Vegan Diet
One of the main benefits of a vegan diet is that many people focus on eating higher amounts of vegetables instead of animal products. The increased vegetable consumption can be very beneficial for your health in many ways, because vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
When you are eating fresh, raw vegetables, your body is getting essential nutrition that helps to support good health. Most modern diets are lacking in the fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy lifestyle. Becoming more aware of the things that you are eating is a good way to improve your nutrient intake.
Many vegans are looking for ways to improve their health, so they choose to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. But, big problems occur when a person is cutting out meat and dairy, and they choose to avoid vegetables as well. These “junk-food vegans” choose to eat highly processed foods which are lacking in nutrition. In comparison, a person who eats processed foods and meat will still get some nutrition from the meat that is consumed, but you can’t depend solely on meat to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Negative Aspects of a Vegan Diet
Other than the increased vegetable consumption, there aren’t many other positive benefits that can be gained by following a vegan diet. This single benefit (more vegetables) isn’t enough for most people to commit to a vegan lifestyle, because we know it’s possible to increase your vegetable consumption and still enjoy meat at the same time.
Learning more about the health problems that can occur when meat is eliminated will help you to understand why meat is such an important part of a healthy diet. People who avoid meat and dairy products are often lacking in important nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B 12
- Vitamin D
These nutrients are essential for good health. They are difficult to get from plant based foods, and easy to obtain from animal foods. Many vegans are deficient in B12 and iron, both of which are important nutrients that your body needs.
Another reason that meat is so beneficial is because the calories in meat are very efficient. Each calorie is packed with nutrition that can be used to improve your health, and when a person is avoiding meat then they will likely need to consume more calories in order to get the same nutrition. Higher calorie intake might lead to weight gain and obesity which can increase the risk for a number of health problems.
Healthier Meat Options
One of the arguments to encourage veganism is the fact that factory farmed meat is unhealthy and dangerous for your health. There is a lot of truth to the fact that factory farmed dairy and meat products contain subpar nutrition and they are loaded with toxins that can be dangerous to your health. But, just because certain types of animal products are raised in an unhealthy way doesn’t mean that you should avoid animal products all together.
Instead, a better option is to choose higher quality meat and dairy options in order to be sure that you are getting the nutrition that you need without the dangerous elements that go into factory farming. Look for meat, dairy, and eggs that are pasture raised, grass fed, and organic. These animals are raised in a natural environment, and they are less likely to have the dangerous toxins that are present in conventional products.
The truth is that the environment in which an animal is raised can have a direct impact on the nutritional value that is available within the meat and milk. Animals that are allowed to graze on grass and live in a natural environment have superior nutrition compared to the animals that are raised in confined spaces.
It might cost a little more to buy grass fed meat instead of conventional meat, but it is worth the cost if you want to improve your health. The old saying “you are what you eat” rings true here, especially when it comes to meat. Make room in your grocery budget by cutting out unnecessary items like junk food, so you have some extra cash to put towards eating clean, high quality products.
In Health and Fitness,
The Diamond Guru