23 Jul 2015
The vegan diet and lifestyle excludes all animal products and by-products. This means that nothing that comes from an animal is eaten or used. The vegan viewpoint is anti-animal exploitation – vegan’s adapt their diet, lifestyle, clothing and cosmetic choices to support animal rights.
There is little data surrounding vegetarianism and veganism in New Zealand, due to the small fraction of New Zealander's who practice alternative diets. Less than 6% of New Zealand is vegetarian of some kind. There is no clear data to indicate what percentage of New Zealand's population is vegan. Some research shows that more Kiwi women are vegan, than men. Research also found that most vegan people are city-dwellers, with far fewer vegan's living in rural areas. Bonus Fact: 2.5% of American's are vegan, making 7.5 million American people vegan. This number has doubled since 2009.
Practicing a vegan diet results in a lesser consumption of saturated fat, high cholesterol foods and other high sugar, high fat food products which are not permitted on a vegan diet. These are foods such as fried eggs, bacon, steak, processed meat, cakes, packaged chocolates/biscuits/snacks. Being vegan also means you naturally eat more vegetables, legumes and fruit. These key food groups provide an abundance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in high quantities. A vegan diet also drastically reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancers, and high blood pressure, and means you are more likely to have a lower BMI.
Any vegetarian or vegan will have been asked more times than they can recall, the following question: “Where do you get your protein from?” Protein is actually found in more foods than people realize. Almost all plant-based foods contain an amount of protein. These include: Chickpeas Broccoli Black beans Lentils Bread Rice Chia seeds Peanuts and all other nuts Soy milk Tofu Quinoa Hempseed And many more! Other key nutrients/vitamins that are important to consider for vegan’s include calcium, iron and B12. Both calcium and iron can be found in many vegetables and other plant based foods, B12 however, is found in animal products only. Vegan’s need to be mindful of this essential vitamin, which is associated to brain function and energy levels. Some vegan foods can be fortified with B12, such as nutritional yeast and nut milk, but the best way to fulfil your B12 needs, is to take it as a supplement. B12 is available at most pharmacies.
Being vegan is an excellent way to contribute to the healing of or planet that is being eroded by mankind. By not eating animal products you do more good than not driving car, and you literally save thousands of litres of water a day.
Thanks for reading - for more about the perks of being vegan, vegan food alternatives, and more, check out my future posts.