Vegan is the Way to Go

98b18549 8f64 4601 a0d6 a6bbaa0b678bEating “healthy” seems to be the newest trend: If you’re not choosing an entrée from the “under 500 calories” list or slurping protein shakes as a snack, you may be considered the odd-ball out at the dinner table.

However, there are a large majority of us that assume that the “light” and “fat-free” versions of certain foods are what we should be eating. With these kinds of perceptions, we may be inclined to purchase and consume foods that are only low in fat and calories.

Without doubting that those products would most certainly be a smarter purchase than their fattier forms, some of those foods may be incorporating other ingredients that tend to increase the sodium, cholesterol, sugar and saturated fat levels. They may also not contain enough protein, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and other vitamins that our bodies need.

There is a diet that, when balanced and followed correctly, is extremely beneficial in ensuring healthy nutrition, assisting with disease prevention and providing physical benefits.

Veganism is a different type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy and animal products. Although often portrayed and thought of as crazed animal-rights enthusiasts, vegans choose to eat this way for many reasons. However, it can be argued that their food pyramid is often followed in much healthier ways than the typical Americanized diet.

A vegan diet brings forth numerous benefits, some of which I never understood until further research into this lifestyle. Although I myself am not a vegan, I do believe that it is a healthy and “clean” diet for those interested.

In order to better understand veganism and present a clearer basis as to why I believe it is a healthy life decision, I spoke with Michael Balducci, owner of Veggie Brothers online vegan food delivery service. Having no extensive prior knowledge about veganism, I asked what kind of products I should be looking for when at the supermarket.

“Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains. These are vegan food choices that have always existed in the supermarket,” said Balducci. “Now, you can find vegan butter, non-dairy alternatives such as soy, rice and almond milk and even non-dairy ice creams made from soy, rice and coconut milks.”

How is it that people can survive off of what seems to be such limited selection of food?

All of these products contain the essential amount of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, protein, potassium, calcium, antioxidants and vitamins that a normal diet includes. The difference is that the vegan diet reduces a large amount of saturated fat from our diet, eliminates our cholesterol intake and increases the amount of fiber.

Since a vegan diet involves more consumption of nutritional items, it can be assumed that the occasion of disease or illness will be lowered. Risks for high cholesterol and blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes will be immensely lessened.

Surprisngly, you may be eating some vegan foods daily already. Spaghetti in tomato sauce, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, salads and vegetable soups are almost always vegan.

If you are considering making the switch to veganism, it may not be a difficult transition.

“Meat and dairy substitutes are on the market, sold online at VeggieBrothers.com, and sold in various supermarkets and health food stores,” said Balducci.

Dishes at VeggieBrothers.com include meatless products like, chicken pot pie, italian sausage and peppers, ham and cheese turnovers, black bean burgers, and chicken noodle soup. All of these are 100 percent vegan.

Vegan products are becoming more common and adjusting to this diet may come easily to some people. If you are considering this lifestyle, consult with your doctor to make sure that it is a safe option for your health.

Visit VeggieBrothers.com for vegan food orders and tips, and receive an exclusive student discount with promo code MUMARCH2012.

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