Posted on Leave a comment

How to be Vegan on a Budget—10 Vegan Budget Tips

Vegan Meal Budgeting

How to Be Vegan on a Budget? 10 Vegan Budget Tips

It stands to reason, that if India managed to accomplish their “Mars Orbiter Mission” with a lower budget than the movie “Mission to Mars”, it’s only fair to imagine that our vegan meals budget could work out a lot cheaper than an omnivore’s diet.

In fact, many of the poorest people in the world rely on some of the beloved vegan staples like rice, beans, lentils, corn, wheat, sweet potatoes, cassava, to survive the day–thus cost by no means should be an issue to be a vegan on a budget.

Armed with this vegan budget guide, you’re bound to save yourself money while enjoying all the other benefits a vegan diet has to offer!

1. Get Creative


Making sure your cupboards are stocked with a few affordable staples is the best way to begin. Supermarket-own or in-house products are usually less expensive than branded products.

So pack your shelves with some of these, and you’ve got the basics you need to inspire some healthy and delicious vegan meals!

  • Vegetables and fruits (particularly in-season varieties and items that keep well like onions, potatoes, squash, and pumpkin)
  • Legumes/pulses of various types
  • Grains such as whole grain rice
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Culinary herbs and spices

While they may not sound particularly exciting on their own, these ingredients can come together in some truly magical ways helping with your vegan budget!

Think curries and chilies, wraps or burritos, pasta dishes, stir-fries, stews, and casseroles; it will only be limited by your imagination (and with the wealth of vegan recipes added to this site frequently, it will be a breeze!).

2. Compare Prices


Learn to keep an eye not just on the individual item prices displayed at the grocery store, but also the price by weight.

This can give you a better idea, how two products actually compare price wise – one may be cheaper, but is the packaging volume smaller? If the “cheaper” item were to be the same weight or volume as the more expensive one, would it still be cheap?

Don’t feel whipping out your phone’s calculator to help you as an inconvenience. The minor inconvenience and time spent doing the maths may make for a major saving on your vegan meals budget!

Where possible (especially if grocery stores are located nearby), visit a variety of stores and make a mental note of the price differences on your favorite items. After buying, keep all your receipts to make comparisons in the future. It may be a little bit of an extra effort, but you might be surprised to find many ways, you can save money.

Keep an eye open for special deals, sales, and markdown items at the grocery store. Getting to the store just before they close or shortly after they’ve opened is another great way to find special markdown prices on produce that they’re trying to clear off.

3. Bulk Buying


Plant based diet on a budget

Of course, you don’t need a gigantic shopping cart like the one in the image, but bulk buying certainly has its advantages.

Large packages are often sold at a lower price per volume, the biggest package may often work out to be the cheapest option in the long run.

So again, don’t just go and buy the cheapest prices on the shelves, but actually compare what quantity you are paying for, as buying in bulk can often save you a lot of money.

Some Great Vegan Options for Bulk Packages Include:

  • Legumes, beans, and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Milled products like flours
  • Whole grains like rice, wheat, and barley
  • Dried fruit

Another option you may have is excellent combo deals, such as getting a free sack of butternuts when you buy a sack of potatoes. You can find some really awesome deals like that which you may not have been opened to before you started making bulk purchasing part of your lifestyle!

If the option is open, joining forces with others in a buyer’s club or food cooperative is a fantastic way for you to save money, and support local suppliers of vegan food products.

Essentially, people in these organizations come together to increase their collective buying power and unlock the benefits of group bulk purchasing with discounts, lower prices and better access to local suppliers, and even free delivery if your group is large enough.

While the core concept is the same, the way a co-op and a buyer’s club work slightly differs:

Buyers Club

A buyers club (also sometimes called a buying club) is a group that organizes its members together with the goal of increasing their collective buying power. This means that they are able to make purchases at lower prices than are available to the general public.

Start by checking for groups in your area online, or even forming your own. Get your hands on the grocery lists of some interested participants, and compare to see what common items you all buy on a regular basis. Now you can see how much money you can save by buying together in bulk and distributing to all the members.

How you work out the finer details is up to you. We assume beginning at least with the staple items is a great starting point, and who knows this could form new friendships and even make shopping a fun activity besides helping you with your budget!

Food Cooperative

A food cooperative is slightly different in that it is owned by the participating members and served in the best & common interests of the members which can be really helpful to be a vegan on a budget.

It is more formally organized than a loose collection of members, where members elect a board of directors to govern the operations according to generally accepted and agreed standards.

These co-ops can become really large–which means greater savings are possible because suppliers like the idea of being able to move a lot of stock.

If you’re in USA you can use the link below to find your closest cooperative:
https://www.ncg.coop/find-co-op

If you’re outside USA, just do an online search and you may find such cooperatives in your country as well!

4. Consider Store Memberships


Paying for a membership to a large retailer like Costco can save you a lot of money in the long run, whether you’re buying as an individual or a family. You pay an annual fee per year, but enjoy greater savings which outweigh the membership fees on all your grocery items year-round.

Shopping frequently at these markets is a great way to save money. Keep your eyes open for special member discounts, and try to focus on items which are far-dated and aren’t likely to spoil fast.

5. Online Retailers


If you’d rather do your price comparison calculations and deal hunting at the comfort of your computer, there are some amazing deals to be had if you’re vigilant enough.

Make use of coupon codes, promotional discounts, bulk discounts, clearance sales, referrals, subscriptions (for automatic recurring purchases), price comparison tools, and free delivery/shipping. This may save you time and money on traveling costs too!

If a website offers email notifications of extra special deals, sign up! You can always unsubscribe if you need to, but it’s better to be in the know if a product you really like gets offered at a substantial discount.

You will often receive extra discounts for being a member of their mailing list as well, so hit that subscribe button for great deals which may help your plant-based diet on a budget!

6. Brand Names vs. Supermarket-Own/Generic Brands


Large retail chains have a huge buying power that lets them get products with their own supermarket brand at a much lower price, and they can easily afford to pass some of that savings on to their customers.

Similarly when it comes to “generic brands”, they may not aggressively advertise or spend a lot on branding. This too would mean they can charge less for their products than a brand that heavily spends on branding (e.g. a brand that uses a lot of fancy colors and graphics in packaging).

Getting rid of that brand mentality would let you try some of the supermarket own or generic brands, which can surely help your plant-based diet on a budget!

Here are some products that large retailers will typically stock as supermarket-own or generic brands:

  • Oatmeal
  • Baking supplies: flours, salt, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder/baking soda, etc.
  • Pasta, rice, and grains
  • Pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Plant milk products
  • Frozen veggie burgers, and vegan sausages
  • Dried vegetable mixes

7. Produce: Compare Raw vs. Frozen


Plant based diet on a budget: Fresh Produce
While we all love cooking with really great quality fresh produce, don’t overlook the benefits of frozen fruits and veggies–especially for products which are out of season.

Frozen fruits are extremely convenient for making oatmeal, baking, and smoothies for example.

Because vegetables & fruits are generally frozen at its best ripeness, during offseason, they can be higher in nutrients than their raw counterparts that have been sitting in a truck and on the shelf for some time.

They may even taste quite as good compared to raw produce as well! Many vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and pepper are actually cheaper frozen than fresh, and the fact that you can keep those for longer have the added benefit of less to no wastage helping you further.

If you’re lucky enough to find a great deal with fresh produce even during off-season, buy in bulk and freeze. Exploring your local farmer’s market is a great place to find good deals on all the freshest products “in-season” at a lower cost than the supermarket, and with unbeatable discounts on bulk purchases.

Some fruits in particular freeze very well. Just give them a wash, a rough chop, and freeze in small containers for quick use in a smoothie whenever you want them!

8. Prepare Your Own Food


While convenience foods certainly have their place, you’re going to pay for that convenience! Making your own meals from scratch is not only cheaper; it means you have complete control over everything you’re putting in your mouth.

The ingredients list of microwave meals can sometimes be alarming to say the least, and it’s not always easy to tell, whether an ingredient may be of animal origin.

If time is a problem for you, make sure to make extra-large batches whenever you have the time, so you can freeze a portion for later use.

Build Your Diet around Whole Foods

The wonderful thing about a vegan diet is that the building blocks of all our meals–whole foods like grains, legumes, and pulses are cheap!

The healthiest whole food choices like vegetables, seasonal fruits, beans, pulses, nuts, and seeds are generally affordable, so building your diet around these foods will help your course to go vegan on a budget greatly.

Limit Substitutes for Non-Vegan Products

The range of vegan products considering the substitutes for meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs available seem to increase by the day.

While these could be wonderful for an occasional craving, convenience or to satisfy some fussier eaters, do note they are often priced similarly to their non-vegan counterparts and the processed products may not be as healthy as whole foods.

No harm in using those occasionally, but do try to keep your focus on homemade, whole food meals as much as possible to keep your health and costs in check.

If you’re having a requirement for non-vegan substitutes (we are talking about meat, dairy, cheese, and egg substitute lovers) then check at large health stores or specialty stores which offer these vegan products.

An Advantage of Freezing and Reheating

A lot of vegan meals are extremely easy to freeze for reheating later. Sauces, chilies, curries, soups and vegan stew/casserole freeze well and make a super quick meal with reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

Make large portions whenever you cook your favorites and freeze to be used later, which saves money compared to buying ready meals frequently.

While making your own food is a great way to have your plant-based diet on a budget, it’s best for your nutrition as well!

9. Plan & Schedule Your Shopping Trips


Have a List and Stick To It!

If you find that you tend to buy things on impulse, or purchase things that you end up not using or letting spoil, then it’s time to get into the habit of keeping a shopping list.

Planning out your week’s meals and making a list of requirements is a good way to stay organized and make sure you buy only what you know you’re going to need, and therefore not spend more than you have to.

It also allows you to make sure you have the ingredients available to make different dishes and keep the menu interesting, healthy and varied.

Have Scheduled Shopping Trips

Failing to plan your shopping list and not making the most out of each trip you make, mean you’re likely to end up having to run out to the store more often, wasting time and money on traveling. Not a way to be vegan on a budget!

The better you plan, the fewer trips you’ll have to make, and you’re far less likely to get stressed out or find yourself missing a key ingredient that you thought you couldn’t possibly forget! A tip from our own experience is, you can benefit by trying to stock up once a week, and then freezing whatever you can which can be reheated later.

Being proactive will make sure your kitchen runs smoothly and efficiently!

10. Keep Exploring New Shops and Markets


While it’s tempting to stick to the shops you know, you might be missing out on some new experiences and money savers if you don’t take the time to poke your nose around some farmers’ markets and explore shops dedicated to the cuisine of other cultures.

Chinese markets, for example, are a great place to find products like tofu (Non-GMO), noodles and sauces at a much lower price than the supermarket. Indian shops often stock some wonderful spices and traditional blends which can add that something special to your meals.

Keep your eyes peeled for new store openings, markets and places you just haven’t tried before that might have some good deals waiting to be discovered!

10 Vegan Budget Tips

Conclusion


Once you get used to the tips you’ve learned, having a plant-based diet on a budget becomes a breeze–you just need a little bit of will and dedication!

Eventually, planning your weekly meals and shopping trips will become automatic, and you’ll find yourself with money you didn’t expect to have available at the end of the month.

By exercising, what you’ve learned on how to be vegan on a budget, you should rarely find yourself overspending. Keep an eye for good deals, only buy what you know you’re going to use, freeze what you don’t finish or the surplus.

Need some budget-friendly meal inspiration? Have a look at some of these cheap vegan recipe ideas

  • Pasta and rice dishes
  • Wraps, sandwiches, tortillas, and burritos
  • Stews and curries
  • Baked potatoes
  • Salads
  • Hummus and fresh vegetables for dipping
  • Vegan pancakes
  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal with toppings, either sweet or savory

Buying on a budget really doesn’t have to mean buying unhealthy food, often it is quite the opposite from the tips you’ve learned here.

Make vegetables, whole grains, legumes, pulses, fruits, nuts and seeds the cornerstone of each shopping trip and you’re all set for successful vegan budget management!

Related Posts:

Posted on 2 Comments

How to Go Vegan and Stay Vegan Forever

how to go vegan, how to be vegan, how to become vegan, How to stay vegan

If your question of how to go vegan and stay vegan led you to this post, then let us first congratulate you on deciding to go vegan!

We’re quite sure you already know your motives to become a vegan but possibly feeling like this girl in the image trying to figure out the path in your vegan journey.

Perhaps you’re looking for some advice on how to begin or how to continue and overcome any hurdles you may have down the line.

That’s what this post is all about. Answering the questions, how to be vegan and stay vegan, without giving up!

There could be many reasons for going vegan for different individuals. Could be due to the suffering of our fellow animals, a desire to improve your health or lose weight. Perhaps you’re concerned over the damage caused to our environment through factory farming.

Let’s see some of the tried and tested tips to go vegan and stay vegan forever…

1. Embrace Your Own Pace!


How to go vegan, how to be vegan, how to become vegan, how to stay vegan
Some people experience a light bulb moment; something just clicks for them and they decide then and there that they’re going for it firing on all cylinders.

But we’re all different and making progress is infinitely better than doing nothing being overwhelmed by what is after all, quite a lifestyle change!

You don’t have to declare from the rooftop that you’re now a vegan to the whole world and never going to touch any animal products ever again, and later embarrass yourself by falling short.

Don’t feel pressured into going any faster than what feels natural for you.

Truth is, it is about working towards a goal sincerely to the best of your ability and not about getting a label called “vegan” or trying to attain perfection.

The best way to start on a vegan journey is to educate yourself. There is no “one size fits all” approach and like any lifestyle change, it may take some time to find the approach that works best for you. Since eating is something you have to do every day a good way to start is by exploring the different vegan diet options and finding vegan alternatives to some of your favorite meals.

Your adoption initially can be based on certain days, particular meals or even products. It can be as simple as removing meat, eggs, and dairy just one day a week and building from there, or slowly starting to incorporate plant-based alternatives one meal at a time. You may also try adopting a vegan meal just for breakfast or lunch at first. If you find something you like, go with it! Try swapping cow’s milk for soy or almond milk alternatives.

If you tend to eat out a lot, start going for the vegan options on the menu of your local restaurants and find your favorites. If they inspire you enough, try and make them yourself!

Armed with the internet, you’ll find that there’s a vegan alternative to pretty much every non-vegan meal out there. Hence, you don’t have to miss out on any of your favorite foods, if you do your homework or get creative.

If you embrace health benefits of a vegan diet, remember where those benefits come from:

  • Veggies (including greens)
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts & seeds

Gradually incorporate more of them into your daily routine until they start to crowd out the less healthy options.

Like your eyes readjusting to a dark room, you’ll soon find that your taste starts acclimatizing to natural foods that aren’t packed with salt, oil and sugar. Pack some fresh fruits with lunch,  have a salad at dinner, or a smoothie for breakfast.

The more veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds you have in your daily diets, you would have less room for the non-vegan options. Most importantly you will find a newly found craving for plant-based foods, which is healthy as well.

Be patient, be gentle with yourself, and you will get there!

If you slip up, you haven’t failed. You’ve learnt something valuable that will help you progress better. Veganism isn’t a destination, it’s an on-going journey to becoming more conscious of the impact you have on yourself and the world around you through the choices you make each day.

All you need to do is focus on making better choices at the moment, one step at a time.

2. Comfortable With the Change? Now Keep Evolving!


How to go vegan, how to be vegan, how to become vegan, how to stay vegan
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says a vegan diet is only healthy if it’s well-rounded and planned out [1].

Therefore, a diet focused on whole foods in their natural form is the easiest way to ensure you get all the nutrients you require. And it can be ridiculously easy!

Keep your kitchen well stocked with healthy, easy options that you can grab in a hurry. If time is limiting for you, cook large batches of food so you can freeze some. Keep some whole grain muesli or granola, and plenty of fruits, nuts & seeds available for a quick snack.

Do your homework. What foods that you like (that are vegan-friendly) do you need to start putting in your diet? Nuts? Plant milk? Oatmeal? Beans? Greens?  See how you can cut out honey, gelatin, and other ingredients sourced from animals as well. You can find many vegan substitutes for these ingredients today.

To keep yourself healthy keep close tabs on nutrients like,

  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

Every now and then, you may get a health check-up to make sure your health is in good shape. Though we always recommend getting your nourishment from whole foods as much as possible, if you find it difficult to get certain nutrients from your diet, you can always consider fortified foods or vegan supplements to compensate for any deficiencies (especially keep tabs on vitamin B12).

Be mindful not to get overly addicted to vegan substitutes, but vegan ice creams, cookies, and chocolates can be helpful in breaking the routines and satisfying your sweet tooth! Oh yeah, that’s part of being healthy, keeping yourself happy!

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment!


How to go vegan, how to be vegan, how to become vegan, how to stay vegan

Embarking on a new diet and lifestyle involves change!

This is an excellent opportunity to discover new taste sensations. Try new things and put a brand new spin on all your old favorites.

You don’t have to be a professional cook to achieve this. You wouldn’t believe the number of meals you can easily prepare from things already in your kitchen or from local groceries.

There are so many vegan recipes available, which you can find in our own website (check recipes section on the top menu), check online and in bookstores that are bound to inspire you!

This is your time to explore, get creative and learn new skills in the kitchen! Woo hoo!

Here are some other quick tips:

    • Consider some healthy meat substitutes like mushrooms, jackfruit, eggplant – whatever you fancy!
    • If you don’t like the idea of having your tea or coffee plain or black, spoil yourself with some almond or cashew milk so you don’t feel like you’re being deprived of dairy.
    • Be experimental and prefer a range of vegan food and recipes to avoid monotony and boredom. Today, there are plenty of foods & vegan brands that you can choose to keep your taste buds happy providing substitutes for meat, eggs, dairy milk & cheese. There are many vegan chocolate brands and fortified food as well!
    • Keep your eyes open for the ever-increasing vegan restaurants and other fine dining, casual or fast food chains. Many Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, and Indian restaurants will have vegan options on the menu! Even at a grill house, you can always make your own meal from sides – some steamed rice, grilled veggies, spinach and baked potato make for a delicious vegan meal. Check our guides for vegan restaurants and eating out as a vegan!
    • Apps like Happy Cow are also extremely useful in finding vegan-friendly restaurants when you’re traveling or visiting a new area. Remember to leave a positive review and share a great experience with others!
    • If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder you can still adopt a vegan diet without any hesitation. You can get your carbs, protein, and fats with no fuss and there are many role models for motivation!
    • Be an ambassador! If you feel you can make a vegan meal which others will enjoy, share it with friends at work or take it to a dinner party and wow them! Not only you will satisfy their appetite but will help them discover how they too can make that transition from eating flesh to savoring fresh, plant-based whole foods.


4. There’s No Need To Break The Bank!


Looking at the price tags on some of the vegan products at the supermarket may give you an impression that some vegan food is expensive – yes, may be the case with faux meats, vegan cheese, and vegan ice cream.

But the healthy whole foods like beans, rice, legumes and other grains are literally some of the cheapest foods in the supermarket.

If you’re on a budget make these the core of your diet and you will almost certainly end up saving money on groceries!

Seasonal veggies and fruits are often surprisingly affordable, especially sourced from a farmer’s market. Cabbage, butternut, pumpkin, spinach, and carrots are usually quite cheap. See what your local selection is like and try to build some meals around it.

Focus your meals around these affordable options:

  • Seasonal  vegetables and fruits
  • Pulses and legumes like lentils, beans, peas and other varieties
  • Pasta / Noodles
  • Rice and other grains like barley, rye, millet, and quinoa
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin

You can also consider & try growing some of your own spinach, kale and kitchen herbs in your garden to bring down the cost further and have the best quality for you and the family.

One thing is for sure, that a bill for a balanced vegan diet should not be expensive than a non-vegan diet, if anything, you may find yourself saving money. The more creative you become and the more local market knowledge you acquire this becomes a breeze with time.

Check our article with many tips for going vegan on a budget.

5. Ethical Considerations—What About The Non-Vegan Things I Already Own?


Some people feel that once they’ve embraced the ethical side of veganism they shouldn’t continue with any products of non-vegan origin. This is entirely up to you. If you feel guilty of wearing leather shoes, leather jackets or wool coats that you bought before your transition, you can get rid of those.

Others may feel that because these products are not having an influence on demand anymore that there is no reason to throw away such items. Essentially, this decision is up to you and whatever you decide is completely fine, after all, what matters is how you personally feel!

6. Dealing With Family and Friends


How to go vegan, how to be vegan, how to become vegan, how to stay vegan
Although perceptions are slowly but steadily changing, there are some who may still believe in the inferior myths about vegan diet & lifestyle. Parents can feel especially concerned over the new diet pursuits of their children.

They may also feel that their children or family members are rejecting family tradition by no longer partaking in the same meals the family used to enjoy together.

You know your family better than anyone.

So will they feel reassured if you have some scientific articles & evidence to back your diet & lifestyle? Will it help better to point them in the direction of some successful athletes that follow a vegan diet?

Answers to these questions may help convince your closed ones. Always maintain a positive attitude, and composure.

Tell them you feel great and most family members will be happy for you. Generally, convincing them is best done through example, and dialogue, but not through argument!

Be as respectful as you can, and sometimes, time and patience may be your best tools to solve any continuous resistance. Try bringing some delicious vegan offerings along with you to family occasions so they know you’re doing your best for them.

7. Keep Learning!


One of the most empowering aspects of being a vegan is the doors it opens once you have made the connection between the foods on your plate, products you use, and the world around you.

You become aware of the power that your choices have for the animals on this planet, your health, and the environment.

Once the doors are open, there’s a whole new world to explore.

Expect to learn more about nutrition, health in general, animal & environmental ethics and much more!

Embracing veganism takes a certain amount of courage and remember it has a learning curve which needs time. Hence allow yourself enough time to learn different aspects of veganism and don’t forget to take pride in the progress you’ve made and pat yourself on the back!

8. Remember Your Motives and Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help


Out of everything you’ve learned so far if we were to tell you the most important thing to remember, that would be your motives for going vegan in the first place.

Your motives could have been to not take part in harming animals, for better health, have the least impact on the planet, etc. Some of these motives could be so profound, the mere remembrance of those would be enough for many to stick to their vegan lifestyle.

You may still have questions like,

If you have these questions, there is nothing to fear! This website is full of information and resources covering different aspects of veganism. Just navigate on the site menu to find out! You can also subscribe to our free newsletter for frequent updates.

There are vegan forums for every lifestyle and plenty of groups you can join on social media that allow you to connect with people who have faced and conquered the issues you might be experiencing!

We live in a connected world and make use of it! You’re certainly not alone and connecting with other vegans in your area or across the globe is a wonderful way to stay motivated and inspired.

How to Go Vegan and Stay Vegan Forever

Last Thoughts


Now that you know how to become vegan and stay vegan, during any lows you may have, just remember the profound reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Take a deep breath and reflect on all the benefits a vegan lifestyle offered you, and how good it makes you feel.

If you’re struggling with something, there is always help at hand, and there are always new things to try.

Reading educational vegan books, watching informative & inspiring videos, talking, chatting, connecting with other vegans or keeping photos of animals may help a great deal.

By going vegan you really are making a difference to yourself, for the animals and to the environment. Be proud of the amazing & earnest way you’ve chosen to live your life – as a force for good – and make sure you enjoy it!

Related posts:

References

[1] http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/practice/position-and-practice-papers/position-papers/vegetarian-diets

Posted on 14 Comments

Why Go Vegan? Six Convincing Reasons To Be Vegan

Why Go Vegan? Six Convincing ReasonsIt’s a question asked by many for good reasons considering the rapid growth of vegans and many others who show a great interest in plant-based foods.

We believe it’s due to our capacity to evolve as moral beings, our thirst to seek the truth, and our ability to question our own thoughts and deeds.

But before knowing the various noble & personal reasons for this infectious shift, you may first need to clarify who is a real vegan is.

A vegan is a person who does not consume animal products (including by-products) and doesn’t contribute or participate in any kind of animal cruelty or exploitation. This definition is based on the doctrine of the word veganism which was founded by the Vegan Society in 1951 [1].

Some of you may think, “why go vegan or bother? How am I to forgo the joy of eating a steak, drinking a milkshake or the comforts & style of a leather jacket?”

However, wouldn’t it be such a relief if we told you that you don’t have to lose your cravings & comforts, to go vegan. This post starts showing exactly that, besides revealing many other reasons which have far-reaching implications.

Let’s discuss the six convincing reasons why increasingly many are opting for a vegan lifestyle.

1. It’s Not Really a Sacrifice Anymore!


As we told before, gone are the days where it was quite a challenge to pursue a vegan lifestyle without sacrificing your taste & comforts to an extent.

With the ever-evolving vegan trend & demand, and thanks to so many vegan-friendly product manufacturers, things have become much easier today.  Because many suppliers have realized that there is a growing demand for vegan products and with the demand increasing year over year they have found a profitable market to which they can cater.

Today there is no reason for you to stop loving the taste of meat, eggs, milk or even cheese just because you’ve become vegan.

See a list of substitutes and vegan food options to indulge yourself:

  • Meat can be substituted with mushrooms, jackfruit, eggplant, tempeh (Non-GMO), tofu (Non-GMO), and other meat analogs.
  • Dairy milk can be replaced with soy milk (Non-GMO), almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and coconut milk.
  • Eggs can be substituted with tofu / silken tofu (Non-GMO), agar powder and brands like VeganEgg, etc. Irrespective of whether you want to have a dish with eggs or use it for baking there is a vegan option.
  • Cheese substitutes are soy cheese, nut cheese, seed cheese, and rice cheese.
  • Most quality dark chocolates are vegan and there are many vegan chocolate brands.
  • You have access to many vegan fortified food options for nutrition and add variety.
  • In fact, by now, there is hardly a food item sourced from animals that doesn’t have a vegan option. There are vegan ice cream brandsvegan cookies, and many more vegan options to keep you satisfied!

As you can see, when it comes to replacing non-vegan food, your options are practically limitless, and there seems to be no reason what so ever to miss any of it.

Much like food, it is the same for style & fashion. Leather, fur can be subbed by faux/synthetic leather & fur. Instead of sheep’s wool, you can use cotton wool. For silk, you can choose nylon and rayon. There is hardly any animal product that doesn’t have an alternative today. So it boils down to a matter of awareness.

2. For Animals


via GIPHY

Preventing animal cruelty, exploitation and to standby animal rights are the reasons why many decide to go vegan. It was the same motive that prompted myself to go vegetarian initially and then be vegan later (I became vegan after learning about the dairy & poultry industry).

Just take a look at the meat and dairy farm images below and sincerely ask whether you want to support these industries.

factory farm meat industry animal abuse,cruelty, animal rights violation,why go vegan, why be vegan, why become vegan, why vegan diet
This is how cows with broken legs are beaten and electrocuted to force them to stand and go to slaughter. Credit: Wikimedia Commons [CC BY 2.0]
factory farm meat industry animal abuse,cruelty, animal rights violation - why go vegan, why be vegan, why become vegan, why vegan diet
Cow restrained for stunning just prior to slaughter / By Phil Wolff via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Dairy industry animal abuse,cruelty, animal rights violation - why go vegan, why be vegan, why become vegan, why vegan diet
Does that huge udder look normal to you? This is how dairy industry has turned cows into milk producing machines. / Credit: Maxpixel (CC0 1.0)
Dairy farm industry animal abuse,cruelty, animal rights violation - why go vegan, why be vegan, why become vegan, why vegan diet
Dairy industry sends male calves and unproductive cows to slaughter

Poultry industry battery cage animal abuse,cruelty, animal rights violation - why go vegan, why be vegan, why become vegan, why vegan diet
Egg laying hens are crammed into battery cages (less than the space of an A4 paper) for their entire lives and prone to muscle and bone deterioration. / By איתמר ק., ITamar K. [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There is no rationale to suggest that we have been granted the rights to interfere with animal lives or use them for food, clothing, entertainment, science, etc. The only rationale obviously is all sentient animals have a right to life & freedom.

Animals are not objects, and they have feelings, have beautiful & varied personalities, social bonds, hierarchies and they experience life besides not forgetting how intelligent they’re. On the other hand, just like us, they have every reason to fear pain & death.

By going vegan, you do your part in reducing demand for animals to be slaughtered for profits and satisfy taste buds. In totality, if you be vegan that may help save 100-200 animals per year approximately (including sea animals). Going vegan helps you sincerely appreciate animals at a much higher capacity without any guilt knowing that you have done your part to save and protect them.

3. Why Vegan Diet? For Health


The Healthy Vegan Diet Plan for Vegan Food and Nutrition

Many would want to know other reasons behind choosing a vegan diet, with an intention of knowing all the health benefits that come with typical vegan diets.

A lot of vegans can attest to this as there are numerous scientifically proven health benefits linked to healthy vegan diets compared to standard western diets.

Below are some of the top health benefits you can expect when you go vegan:

  • Reduced risk of heart attacks & strokes (leading causes of death) [2]
  • Prevent obesity, reduce and control weight [2]
  • Lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer [2]
  • Prevent many diseases spread from animals and other harmful effects of animal hormones & antibiotics [3].
  • Other benefits include but are not limited to healthy skin, longevity, better digestion, better sleep [4], etc.

While a vegan diet can easily get fiber, protein, carotenoid, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid, iron and phytochemicals, a well-planned vegan diet & lifestyle can take care of calcium, vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and zinc as well.

The vegan diet also has proven to be ideal for all stages of life starting from pregnancy, infancy, childhood up to adolescence [5]. Since a healthy vegan lifestyle demands an awareness of balancing nutrition and eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, there is a tendency to be health-oriented when you become vegan.

In fact, a vegan diet can be successfully adopted by athletes and bodybuilders as well. You can find many real-world examples of athletes and bodybuilders who are following these diets.

4. For Humanity and Environment


Many children and adults in the world die due to malnutrition and starvation. Going vegan is one of the best things you can do for humanity and even for the environment as well.

If the entire world goes vegan, there will be enough food to feed everybody including all the malnourished people in the world.

Apart from the mistreatment of animals many of the animal factory farms are known for violation of labor laws, low labor standards, and higher labor turnover. Many of these workers have low to no education and are not even aware of their rights.

They are being put under tremendous physiological and mental stress and exposed to a high level of injury, where their human rights can seriously be questioned. No big surprise, it has been named as one of the riskiest jobs in USA.

Thus, if you go vegan, you’re doing your part to discourage this exploitative industry. At the end of the day, one needs to ask “am I going to support an industry that kills for a living?”

As far as the environment is concerned, let’s look at some stats:

  • According to one study, farm animals seem to create more greenhouse gasses than the transportation sector [6]. These greenhouse gasses consist of intestinal gas, decomposition of animal droppings, and carbon dioxide released via deforestation to create grazing lands for livestock and animal feed crop.
  • In 11 western states of the USA, approximately 70% is grazed by livestock [7].
  • Grazing has caused an issue for 171 endangered species.
  • About 80% of the deforested Amazon rainforest is made as grazing land for livestock [8].
  • Land used as pasture & crops to feed farm animals causes the highest deforestation while making it quite difficult to restore for other types of farming for human consumption.
  • To produce one pound of beef it takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water [9] compared to 700 gallons to make a pound of lentils and 299 gallons to make a pound of rice [10].

No doubt, by adopting a vegan lifestyle, you choose a much greener path and would lessen your impact on the environment.

5. For Better Conscience & Positive Outlook


People with a moral compass would always value a finer conscience and consider it to be a no trade-off.

Irrespective of the motive to become vegan, consciously or subconsciously vegans know that they are making a contribution towards noble causes.

Not only these lifestyles would lead to a brighter future for our own species, but it is an attempt towards a world with greater coexistence for all sentient beings and natural habitat.

Further, anyone becoming a vegan would know that it takes compassion, critical thinking, commitment, and self-belief to make such transitions. All these powerful qualities, forces and fulfillment enable vegans to have a positive outlook on life and future in general.

6. The Probable Financial Savings


Transitioning from an omnivore’s diet to a vegan diet could be budget friendly as well. True that, when someone asks why be vegan, this is certainly not the main reason you would get as an answer. But you can always consider this as a bonus from the animals and nature for going vegan.

The cost per gram of beef, milk & eggs is much higher compared to a gram of vegan options like oats, beans, lentils & chickpeas. This shows you don’t have to be rich to go vegan. All it takes is an inexpensive, well-planned diet to be a healthy vegan.

Did we mention the hospital bills you may save if you go vegan? Considering the number of health benefits a vegan lifestyle provides it is a saving a vegan should expect. Apart from that, there are broader & indirect environmental, social, and economic cost savings from reduced environmental damage and a healthy population.

Pinterest Pin: Why Go Vegan? Six Convincing Reasons

Final Thoughts


You have now learned many convincing reasons to go vegan and we presume you have understood all the parties affected by your decision and the gravity of it.  Do note that it’s never too late (if that thought ever occurred to you) to be vegan.

By doing so, not only you will refrain from animal cruelty and exploitation, you will also embrace many health benefits and reduce the environmental impact on the planet which can badly affect the future generation.

If there are plenty of vegan foods available without compromising taste & health, if animals have a right to live, if we can lessen or even reverse environmental damage and have a better conscience as moral beings, instead of asking, why go vegan, it’s about time we ask, why not?

If you need to know more about veganism, you can find many other aspects related to veganism by navigating our website menu.

Related Posts:

References

[1] https://ivu.org/history/world-forum/1951vegan.html
[2] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Vegetarian-Diets_UCM_306032_Article.jsp#.WabC-fkjHIU
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234384/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10943644
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864
[6] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772#.WabsEfkjHIV
[7]http://archives.evergreen.edu/alumni_writers/Fleischner/FleischnerLivestock.html
[8]http://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/amazon/land-use/cattle-ranching
[9]http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report-48-WaterFootprint-AnimalProducts-Vol1.pdf
[10]http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Report47-WaterFootprintCrops-Vol1.pdf

Posted on 10 Comments

Vegan vs Vegetarian, Let’s Discuss Diet and Go Beyond!

Vegan vs. Vegetarian?

Vegan vs Vegetarian, Let’s Discuss Diet and Go Beyond!Vegan vs vegetarian, what’s the difference? Any similarities? Fair question at a time, where more are gravitating towards plant-based diets.

In an attempt to discuss this rather sensitive comparison, we hope to give an understanding of the definition, motive, diet, health, dietary costs and environmental impact of these two groups.

Educating yourself about these two terms will certainly help you understand the two groups better and reflect upon your dietary/lifestyle choices!

Pinterest Pin: Vegan vs Vegetarian

Vegan vs Vegetarian–Definition & Pronunciation


Vegan (vee-gun)

Vegans typically don’t consume any animal products & its by-products. There are few terms being used to identify different types of vegans based on diet and philosophy.

There can be ethical vegans, environmental vegans, and dietary vegans. Various terms to identify different groups based on diet and philosophy are defined below.

Vegetarian (vej-i-tair-ee-uh n)

Vegetarians don’t consume animal flesh but may consume dairy & eggs. There are different types of vegetarians according to what they eat which we will discuss under diets in this post.

Simply put, veganism is principally a lifestyle and philosophical due to its broader motive, but vegetarianism is mostly defined by diet. There are many would-be vegans who first start out as vegetarians as a stepping stone of being a vegan.

Various Terms Based on Diet and Motive

Ethical vegan – Avoid the consumption of animal products and activities with all forms of animal exploitation (according to the Vegan Society it is as far as possible and practicable)

Environmental vegan – Following a vegan diet to avoid the demand for factory farming industry and commercial fishing which cause environmental pollution (higher carbon emissions), depletion of natural resources like water, land, etc. and avoid food chain disruptions. They may also believe that their efforts will support the reduction of global malnourishment and starvation.

Dietary vegans (strict vegetarians) – Refrain from having any animal products in their diets

Raw vegan – In addition to not having any animal products, they do not consume food cooked above 48 °C (118 °F). Their food is essentially ‘raw’ and in its natural form.

Fruitarian – This group eats a diet formed entirely from fruits, nuts, and seeds

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian – According to the definition of The Vegetarian Society, no animal flesh is included and consumes both milk and eggs (considered the standard vegetarian diet)

Lacto vegetarian/ Lactarian – Vegetarians in this category exclude meat, fish, and eggs but consume milk

Ovo vegetarian/ Eggetarian – Excludes meat, fish, and milk, but eats eggs

 

How many vegans and vegetarians are there today?

The exact number of vegetarians and vegans in the world is unknown, but there have been some attempt to get reliable stats.

Apparently, there are around 475 million vegetarians in the world [1]. To put that number into perspective that’s 19 times the population of Australia, 3.2 times the population of Russia and 1.4 times the population of USA. Yes, a significant number that cannot be ignored!

In general, vegans tend to be around 0.5% – 4% out of the vegetarian population. There are stats available (approximately) for some countries, but for other countries, we just have to apply the general percentage to get an estimate.

With all the available stats and general percentages put together, we could expect 12.3 million vegans in the world approximately. It is still an estimate, and the real numbers are completely unknown.

Vegan vs Vegetarian–Motive


Similarities:

Both vegans and vegetarians can adopt these diets due to numerous, yet similar reasons.

One of the most prominent reasons appears to be their consideration for animal life. Hence both these groups pursue a flesh-free diet.

Similar reasons for both these diets could be,

  • Rejection of butchery
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Religion
  • Taste preferences
  • Affordability (meat being expensive, etc.)
  • Accessibility (difficulty of obtaining animal products)
  • Influence from family or partner

Differences:

On the other hand, vegans compared to vegetarians may contrast in the way they view as to how animals being used by humans. While vegetarians may just be fine using animals for dairy and poultry, vegans do not support the use of animals for any form of consumption or exploitation.

Vegans believe that all sentient animals have a right to live free of human exploitation. That means animals to be free from any human activity, whether it’s for food, for clothing & accessories, entertainment or science. This is why many animal rights activists follow a vegan lifestyle.

Do note that some vegetarians may not be fully aware of the commercial process of dairy & poultry industries. They may just assume the animals are well taken care of while using them for their products not knowing the abuse and ultimate fate of such animals. Some may also follow a vegetarian diet initially with an intention of transitioning into a vegan diet subsequently.

The Difference in The Diet


Similarities:

Comparing the diet, both vegan diets & vegetarian diets will not contain any meat, e.g. beef, pork, chicken, turkey, mutton, fish, etc. Their diets primarily consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds as shown in the images above.

If a vegetarian chooses their diet for ethical reasons,  they may avoid any animal ingredients as well, just like vegans, such as honey, gelatin, carmine, fish omega 3, etc.

Both of these diets can be successfully adopted by athletes and even bodybuilders. You can find many real-world examples of athletes and bodybuilders who are following these diets.

Differences:

When it comes to differences, vegetarians may have dairy milk, eggs, cheese, etc. in their diet, though vegans will exclude those.

Do note that, due to the rise in demand for vegan food there are many vegan substitutes/options for meat, milk, eggscheese, chocolates, cookies and even ice creams!

When selecting chocolates, vegans generally go for dark chocolate since quality dark chocolates have no dairy ingredients. But now there are even milk & white chocolate brands made of plant ingredients. Vegetarians generally can consume any chocolate as they don’t avoid dairy.

Both vegans and vegetarians can opt for many foods fortified with nutrients such as cereals, juices, milk (plant milk for vegans), though vegans have to make sure none have any animal ingredients.

As far as eating out is concerned there are many dedicated vegan restaurants and vegetarian restaurants catering to both these diets. While Ethiopian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisines can be accommodating to vegans, Indian and French cuisines are more vegetarian-friendly due to the use of dairy in many dishes.

Some vegan food may carry the vegan verified certification, and some vegetarian food may carry its respective vegetarian certification assuring its suitability for vegetarians.

Health


Vegan vs Vegetarian Diet & Health

Similarities:

Both vegan and vegetarian diets tend to be low in saturated fat, resulting in low cholesterol due to the avoidance of meat.

These diets also contain high amounts of vitamins (with lots of antioxidants), minerals, fiber and other useful nutrients as the consumption of vegetables & fruits tend to be high compared to omnivores.

As far as life expectancy is concerned, both vegans and vegetarians have the capacity to extend life due to a lower probability of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and type II diabetes and some types of cancer [2]. This can only be true if they are health conscious and take care of other factors that go into healthy living (exercise, less processed food, avoid smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, etc.).

It is also much easier to lose or control weight when you are not eating meat which is high in saturated fats and calories. Due to this, most vegans and vegetarians are able to keep their weight under control with much ease.

While a balanced & well-planned vegan or vegetarian diet can have all the nutrients necessary, followers of these diets should keep close tabs on nutrients like vitamin B12, omega 3, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and zinc.

As you can see, due to many health benefits these two diets provide, people may choose these diets purely for better health.

Differences:

As you know, while a person cannot pursue health by neglecting diet, it also depends on other factors like inherited psychological & physiological conditions, general lifestyle, physical activity, etc.

Vegans ought to be health-oriented, as they have to obtain knowledge on a variety of food options and nutrients since a healthy vegan lifestyle requires such commitment.

Vegans may also have a lower risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, type-2 diabetes, and various types of cancer compared to vegetarians. Reason being as you found already under diets, vegans do not consume any animal products whereas vegetarians may consume dairy & eggs.

Dairy and eggs can still contribute towards above illnesses due to higher saturated fat, calories, exposure to antibiotics [4] and hormones [3] injected to dairy farm animals.

Chances are your weight loss goals too will be much easier, with a vegan diet due to low saturated fat and calories.

There is one nutrient that vegans have to be more conscious than vegetarians which is vitamin B12. Vegetarians get this nutrient from dairy products and eggs. Vegans can get it from fortified products and B12 supplements.

Environmental & Dietary Cost Impact


Vegan vs Vegetarian: Environmental Impact People also decide to change their diet due to the environmental impact. Meat, dairy & poultry industries have substantial repercussions on the environment.

The environmental impact of factory farming can take many forms in terms of higher usage of resources like water, soil & energy, air pollution, diseases, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity to name a few [5].

Another point to note is that meat, dairy, and eggs could be expensive than affording a vegan diet.

Similarities:

Since both vegans and vegetarians don’t consume meat, both these diets discourage the meat industry which is a major polluter and heavily consumes finite resources. Therefore, these diets are great options for “green thinkers”.

Further, vegan and vegetarian diets are less expensive compared to an omnivore’s diet as there is no requirement for meat which is generally expensive.

Differences:

Vegans lead the way, as far as carbon footprint is concerned. The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about two-thirds compared to an average Western diet and it considerably drops further for vegan diets.

Dairy cows and their manure contribute towards greenhouse gas emissions which in turn can affect global warming. Due to the ever-increasing feed crop demand of the dairy industry, natural habitat is lost in some places to land which is used to cultivate animal feed crop. Dairy production can also create significant water contamination and soil degradation.

Though poultry damage to the environment is not on the same scale, one cannot ignore its impact on the environment.

Considering the above, it is fair to say that veganism has the least impact on the environment, relatively.

In terms of dietary costs, a vegetarian diet can be slightly expensive than a vegan diet due to the expenses of dairy products and eggs. This is based on an assumption that a vegan diet is primarily based on budget-friendly whole foods.

Conclusion


True that many people can get the terms, “vegan” and “vegetarian” mixed up, especially among those who are totally alien to these plant-centric diets.

You also learned that veganism is a lifestyle (except dietary vegans) and vegetarianism is a diet. It is important for both vegetarians and vegans to plan their diets to make sure they get all the important nutrients.

Lately, interest in veganism has drastically risen compared to vegetarianism as information about the dairy & poultry industries being widely available.

Related Posts

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_by_country#cite_ref-12
[2] Pramil N Singh, Joan Sabaté, Gary E Fraser; Does low meat consumption increase life expectancy in humans?, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 78, Issue 3, 1 September 2003, Pages 526S–532S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.526S
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4524299/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234384/
[5] http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

Image credits:

  1. Plant milk: Veganbaking.net (USA – CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Seitan: By John via Flickr
  3. Tofu scramble: By Bart Everson via Flickr
  4. Vegan eggs: Follow Your Heart
  5. Vegan cheese: Follow Your Heart

Posted on 8 Comments

Vegan Pros and Cons, Debunking the Myths!

At Crossroads

vegan pros and cons, vegan benefits and disadvantages, vegan diet pros and cons, arguments for veganism, arguments against veganism

It’s always wise to check everything involved in a lifestyle decision (pros & cons) when you’re considering it for the long haul.

Vegan pros and cons can be discussed in terms of its impact on animals, health, or the environment.

While discussing all the pros and debunking some of the perceived cons, we hope this post will enlighten and help you make an informed decision.

Animals


The Pros

Animal Rights and Liberty

This is straightforward and is the most compelling reason for many to become vegan and to have an unwavering will to remain one.

By going vegan you reduce demand for meat & stop supporting the ruthless factory farming industry.

Animals are sentient (capacity to experience life) beings that have emotions, social relationships and intelligence. Scientific studies show that animals can experience joy, pleasure, stress, pain, fear,  affection and show many more complex emotional behaviors.

In the U.S. approximately 29 million cattle, 2.2 million sheep & lambs, 115 million pigs, 1.5 million goats, and 9 billion birds are killed for food every year. If you imagine & consider the annual headcount of cattle killed in USA as a human headcount, it’s like killing everyone in Australia in a year or causing four holocausts.

You cannot even include the numbers for fishing as it is measured in tonnes! According to one estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either completely exploited or depleted.

All the above stats will only make any sense if food animals are considered living beings instead of commodities.

Apparently, if you follow a vegan diet for one year you’ll be saving 100-200 animals annually (vary on individual consumption and includes beef, pork, chicken, fish, other seafood, etc.)!

Perceived Cons

Animal Over Population

A question asked by some non-vegans is “what happens to the billions of farm animals if everyone goes vegan?” Let’s answer the question with humane options since killing the animals is out of the equation. Because humans are the ones who left room for such a question to be raised.

First of all, we should understand that the world’s billions of chickens, cattle, pigs, geese, goats, lambs, sheep, ducks and turkeys are an artificial creation by our own kind. Though by no means it is kind. Production of such large numbers is the result of a system driven by gluttony, profits, and speciesism.

It is pity that these animals have been forcefully bred generation after generation bringing them into a world in which they don’t find any regard to its sentience, rights, and life.

Remember, all these animals that mankind subject to dreadful injustice were once living in the wild freely. Therefore, it is our responsibility to intervene and end the misery for animals that we on our own started.

Having a plan for an efficient and effective program will certainly help these animals to be reintroduced to their natural habitats. This should be done gradually & humanely with a lot of thought & care for the animals. Once we do our part to rectify the terrible misdeed humans created, we can allow mother nature to take its course.

What we are about to discuss next has much relevance to the pros and cons of vegan diet.


The Pros

Healthy Weight

We can’t talk about healthy weight without considering the BMI (body mass index).

BMI is the way to measure your body fat based on your height and weight. In general, a BMI range of 18.5–24.9 is considered a healthy weight.

Since vegan diets are low in fat consumption people who follow these diets have found it much easier to shed those fatty pounds more easily.

I can vouch for that with my own experience as I have been able to stay within the healthy BMI range throughout my vegan life (my current BMI stands at 22.31). Though healthy body weight is not the sole factor determining your overall health it is still an indicator not to be overlooked.

Low Heart Decease & Stroke Risk

Our body stores excess calories (energy) in the form of fat, which could result in more cholesterol. Too much of cholesterol can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

To put this into context, approximately 1 ounce of steak will give 77 calories whereas 1 ounce of vegetables would give you only 18 calories. Besides this, we can also get excessive cholesterol directly from animal products.

Therefore, it is much easier for vegans to control their cholesterol levels, compared to omnivores (people who eat both animal and plant-based food). Since our body naturally produces all the cholesterol it needs, it is sensible to have some control over the additional cholesterol intake from food sources.

Control Diabetics

According to studies, those who adhere to a vegan diet can maintain, control or reduce blood sugar levels quite efficiently.

For those who already have diabetes, this could mean making your body more responsive to insulin, taking less medication and keeping your complications related to blood sugar under control.

Low Cancer Risk

Numerous studies have suggested that eating a diet abundant in vegetables and fruits not only will reduce your exposure to cancer but equip you with cancer-fighting properties to lower the chances of developing cancer.

Especially processed meat such as sausages, deli meats, ham, salami, bacon and hot dogs have been linked with a higher risk of colon cancer. Red meat such as beef, lamb, and pork too could pose a cancer risk if consumed excessively.

Healthy Digestion

A well-planned vegan diet can lead to healthy digestion due to its fiber. Though meat has no fiber, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes are rich in fiber. Especially insoluble fiber is known to create smoother bowel movement and helps those who have difficulties with constipation and irregular bowel movements.

Fiber also makes you feel fuller. If you feel fuller you don’t eat more than you require and that helps to keep a healthy weight which in turn keeps digestion in good health. This is especially beneficial for those who have digestive issues such as acid reflux. You can also keep bloating under control when meat is avoided.

Healthy Skin, Hair & Youthful Aging

We all love to look and feel young and no two thoughts about it. But this is not about a magic pill that gives you the fountain of youth, rather a realistic lifestyle which truly prolongs your aging process.

  • Fruits and vegetables are plentiful when it comes to essential vitamins and antioxidants. These are much-needed building blocks for glowing skin.
  • Since vegetables and fruits are fiber-rich it could help you to get those skin damaging toxins out of the system.
  • Opting for low-fat vegan diets will help you reduce those pore-clogging saturated fats which are found to be higher in animal-based foods.
  • Healthy unsaturated fat found in avocado, olive oil and fatty acids found in almonds, walnuts are a great source to keep skin hydrated and supple. These healthy fats will also give greater growth & strength for hair & nails as well.
  • With all the above benefits, a vegan diet would ideally give a lot of anti-aging properties to fight free radicals which are vital to look and feel younger.

Better Sleep

Sleep apnea which is caused by interrupted breathing during sleep is said to affect 1 in 15 Americans and about 100 million worldwide.

Three causes of sleep apnea are being overweight, having a large neck size and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Hence, eating fatty foods and gaining weight could cause you to have more wake-ups during sleep. One may think eating fatty foods make them sleepier, but in the long term, it could interfere with their deep sleep causing insomnia.

Solution? Go for a vegan diet that helps you to keep your weight under control. Another point to consider is, as vegans generally pay more attention to their diet and health, their “feel good” state too may help them to have a better sleep quality.

Live Longer

Besides all the above vegan benefits, this is something many vegans look forward to. You don’t have to wait until some special pill is found, a new breakthrough in science or some hi-tech costly discovery to lengthen your lifespan. Studies have shown, people who follow a plant-based diet already experiencing it.

One study done on vegetarians showed that men extended their longevity by 7 years and women by 4 years approximately. In another study, a vegetarian diet showed a 12% reduction in causes for mortality.

Did you know a vegan diet can even support athletes and bodybuilders? If interested read our posts on guides for athletes and bodybuilders.

Perceived Cons

Vitamin B12

If vegans are not conscious about a balanced diet, they may not get vitamin B12 adequately. It plays an important role in cell formation and nerve function.

Vitamin B12 is derived mainly from animal food sources. Lacto-Ovo vegetarians get vitamin B12 from eggs and dairy products.

Vegans don’t have to worry about it, as they can get this vitamin from fortified foods (plant milk, certain breakfast cereals, marmite, etc.) and supplements. Check the labels to see whether vitamin B12 is included and for quantity.

Protein

This is another misconception that vegans are not getting enough protein. Protein is a major nutrient which is needed for cell functioning, tissues, bodily chemicals, and bones.

It’s abundantly available in a typical vegan diet that includes vegetables (soybeans, beans, broccoli, corn, lentils, etc.), nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, etc.) and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flaxseed, etc.).

Calcium

Some may think vegans don’t get an adequate amount of calcium since they avoid dairy products, but nothing could be further from the truth. Calcium is a vital mineral for bones, teeth, blood vessels, nerve signaling, blood clotting, hormones, and for contraction of muscles.

Vegans get calcium from vegetables like bok choy, collards, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, cabbage, fortified foods, nuts, seeds, and oranges.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These heart-healthy fats play a vital function in reducing heart disease, high blood pressure, boosting brain function, and easing joint ache. Fatty fish is a primary source for omega-3s.

So what does this mean for vegans? They can still get plenty of it from sources such as flax seeds, flax seed oil, chia seeds, camelina oil, hemp seed, canola oil, and walnuts.

Lack of Variety in The Diet (Seriously?)

Some may think being a vegan means eating the same types of vegetables every day and following a boring diet. This is actually a misconception and a vegan diet is only limited by your own imagination.

Do these vegan food look boring to you? I bet not.

Vegan Diet

In reality, vegans have a great variety of foods to choose from and a lot of substitutes/options to select when it comes to meat, milk, cheese, eggschocolate and even ice creams!

They also keep on discovering new recipes to make their journey exciting. In fact, when they start enjoying and experiencing the variety of vegan food, they wish they became vegans much earlier.

Having a Meal Outside

This may look awkward for the vegan newbie, but with a bit of common sense & preparation eating out as a vegan could be a walk in the park.

To overcome this occasional inconvenience, you can simply check nearby vegan restaurants via online maps or check restaurant menus online in advance. For a start, Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican & Oriental Restaurants tend to have many vegan options.

You can also request the restaurant to replace meat with these tasty vegan meat substitutes like tofu, mushrooms, jackfruit or eggplants.

A few related posts to having a meal outside as a vegan,

  • Vegan Eating Out Guide
  • Best Vegan Restaurants
  • Pizza Hut Vegan Menu Options
  • Starbucks Vegan Menu Options

  • Humanity, Environment, and Personal Pros & Cons


    The Pros

    Alleviation of World Hunger

    Based on current demand-supply trends the growing world population could face a food crisis in the coming century. It takes more resources to produce a pound of meat than to produce a pound of beans. More soil, water, energy and other resources required for the meat industry than the crop industry meant for humans.

    A higher number of people die from hunger than the total deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.

    If these resources spent on humans instead of farm animals, more food would be available for the 795 million people (approx.) in hunger worldwide.

    Mitigate Environmental Impact

    Vegan Pros & Cons, Benefits & Disadvantages for the Environment, Environmental Pollution

    Let’s look at some stats,

    • Grazing has caused an issue for 171 endangered species.
    • About 102,000km2 of rainforest from 1996-2006, was destroyed and 80% of it made as grazing land for livestock.
    • Land used as pasture and crops to feed farm animals causes the highest amount of deforestation and has made it quite difficult to restore for other types of farming for human consumption.
    • To produce one pound of beef it takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water compared to 700 gallons to make a pound of lentils and 299 gallons to make a pound of rice.
    • According to one study, farm animals create more greenhouse gasses than the transportation sector. These greenhouse gasses consists of intestinal gas, decomposition of animal excrement, and carbon dioxide released via deforestation to create grazing lands for livestock and animal feed crop.

    In light of the above, refraining from meat consumption and adhering to a vegan diet would certainly help in reducing the environmental impact & restoring the natural habitat.

    Financial Benefits

    Transitioning from an omnivore diet to a vegan diet could be budget friendly as well. The cost of protein per gram of beef, milk & eggs is much higher compared to a gram of vegan options like oats, beans, lentils & chickpeas.

    This shows you don’t have to be rich to go vegan. All it takes is an inexpensive, well-planned diet to be a healthy vegan.

    Did I mention the hospital bills you’ll be saving from health benefits a vegan diet provides? Apart from that, there are many other economic benefits and cost savings from reduced environmental damage and a healthy population.

    Positive Outlook

    Irrespective of the motive to become a vegan, consciously or subconsciously, vegans know that they are making contributions towards good causes.

    Not only these lifestyles would lead to a brighter future for our own species, but it accommodates a world of coexistence for all sentient beings and natural habitat.

    Anyone becoming a vegan would know it is not a simple decision by any means. It takes deeper & broader thinking, values, commitment, and self-belief to make such transitions.

    All these powerful qualities, forces and fulfillment enable them to have a positive outlook on life and future in general.

    Perceived Cons

    Insufficient Crop Production

    Some may question whether the world can sustain a global population going completely vegan. According to one estimate, an agricultural land of 10 acres can sustain 60 people by cultivating soybeans, 24 people with wheat or 10 people with corn, but with cattle, only 2 people can be supported.

    Furthermore, out of all land used for agriculture, 70% majority is occupied by livestock farms. If there is no demand for livestock these lands can be converted into crop production.

    As you can see, there is enough land to sustain a vegan population worldwide.

    Personal & Social Awkwardness

    How my non-vegan family will react to my change? Am I to tell my friends that I am a vegan when I visit them for a meal? Am I to accept non-vegan gifts? How can I explain my stance? Will I hurt them? Do they know what “vegan” means in the first place?

    These are all valid and relevant questions that you could ask in certain junctures of your vegan journey. The way you can react to these occasions may depend on the way you reflect upon the reasons, why you became a vegan.

    Question is, do these challenges outweigh the benefits and values you believe & standby? The way you face and overcome these challenges may determine how you’re going to stay vegan for the rest of your life.

    As far as family matters are concerned, you will be the best to know about your family more than anyone else. Sometimes sincerely explaining your ethics and showing the benefits backed by evidence may just do the job for you. You may not only get their approval but they may even adore your honesty and maturity. Who knows, with your good example and logical reasoning they may even consider adopting a vegan lifestyle.

    Always remember being a vegan is about doing your best and not trying for perfection!

    You can also use certain occasions as an opportunity to spread the vegan message, promoting compassion and a healthy lifestyle. Be smart and do this at the right moments. Being proactive, patient, rational and having common sense could help you face challenging moments and have control.

    Pinterest Pin: Vegan Pros and Cons

    Conclusion


    We learned about vegan benefits and perceived disadvantages. We also got to know how the arguments against veganism can be dealt with the right mindset.

    Some of you may have sought the advantages and disadvantages of veganism for personal reasons, but we presume with this post, you have understood the broader spectrum and the gravity of your decision to all parties and the other aspects concerned.

    In a nutshell, you learned the impact of veganism with regard to animals, yourself (body & mind), environment, and the planet at large. We hope this post gave you enough food for thought on vegan pros and cons to make an informed decision for yourself and other sentient beings.

    Related Posts:

    References

    [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494284/
    [2] http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do
    [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073139/
    [4] http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/foods-for-cancer-prevention