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Diets: Vegetarian vs Vegan
More and more people are beginning to adopt vegan and vegetarian diets. They are oft discussed, maligned and dismissed, yet these two dietary plans are often misunderstood.
So what do vegan and vegetarian diets consist of and do they provide you with everything that your body requires?
Diet - Vegan vs Vegetarian
Although these two diets have certain elements in common (animal welfare, the environment, etc…) there are drastic differences between the pair.
Vegetarianism prohibits the consumption of animal meat however, that does not exclude foods of animal origin such as honey, eggs and dairy products.
Veganism on the other hand is more akin to a way of life. Being vegan affects far more than just what you eat on a daily basis. For example, a vegan would also look to avoid foods such as honey, eggs and dairy products. They would also not wear certain materials such as leather, silk or even wool.
Veganism also prohibits using products that have a detrimental impact on our ecosystem. This includes items such as palm oil.
While a vegan diet rejects all products of animal origin, a vegetarian diet has many schools of thought…
-> lacto-vegetarians: they consume dairy products but do not include eggs as part of their diet
-> pescatarians: they don’t have any meat but will consume fish and other seafood
-> dietary veganism : they won’t consume any products from animal origin, but will use them
Often criticized, both vegan and vegetarian diets do have several perks.
-> They are ethical diets: the main argument behind the adoption of these of modes of consumption is the physical and psychological wellbeing of animals. They are argue that all the nutritional elements essential for survival can be found within foods of plant origin.
-> Ecologically friendly: the excessive production of meat as well as the fodder required to raise animals is one the principal contributors for greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, both practices require large amounts of water.
-> Good for your health: studies have shown that not consuming animal products can reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disorders
-> Nutritionally beneficial: a rich and varied vegetables based diet is more than enough to meet your nutritional requirements. Peas and lentils are both excellent sources of protein and are high in fiber. Cereal based foods provide fiber and the necessary amount of carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber and vitamins, while oilseeds contain many essential fatty acids.
Do you run the risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies with these diets?
There is no doubt about the fact that animal products are richer in protein and certain vitamins and than foods from plant origin. It is important to be aware of these differences before adopting either a vegetarian or vegan diet in order to best adapt your own personal diet for your nutritional needs.
Protein is composed of 20 amino acids of which 9 are essential. These essential amino acids cannot be naturally synthesized by the body and therefore exist exclusively through the foods we consume.
Unlike products of animal origin, which contain all essential amino acids in large quantities, not all plant based products contain the same proportion.s
Cereals such as wheat and rice are deficient in lysine but rich in methionine. Whereas, peas and lentils are rich in lysine but lack methionine.
At Feed. we always use plant and cereal based proteins in order to ensure optimal intake of essential amino acids.
Vitamin B12 helps strengthen your cardiovascular system and is present exclusively in products of animal origin. Vegans should have B12 supplements in order to ensure that they do not suffer from any deficiencies.
At Feed. we use, depending on the recipe, cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin. The industrial synthesis of vitamin B12 comes from bacterial cultures or the fermentation of microorganisms.
Exercise, pregnancy and a vegetarian diet...
High-level athletes and pregnant women must adopt a diet that meets their more specific needs. Nevertheless, it is perfectly feasible to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet in either case. Just make sure you choose the right foods and adjust the proportions according to your doctor’s advice.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to develop muscle mass while maintaining a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Gaining muscle mass is relatively easy should you to decide to consume more calories. Realistically, this is applicable to any diet. The main component in gaining muscle mass is ensuring that your calorie and protein intake is of the required amount.
Protein is the vital component in gaining muscle mass. Consequently, it is important to ensure that you’re consuming the required amount. In order to do this, try to have vegetables that are rich in protein such as lentils and chickpeas.