How does being a vegan affect our health?

Sunflogun

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I think that one of the major concerns of many people by switching their diets to vegan or vegetarian is the concern if the body will receive what it needs to be healthy. I am guessing that this is lack of information, but at the same time, do these diets actually provide all the body needs?
 

Alexia

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With all diets, there is a concern that there is enough of all the food groups. If you look at someone that only eats meat and no vegetables then they will have little fiber in their diet.

When people do switch, it makes them more aware of what they do need so it helps as you learn to balance more. I've been a vegetarian for over 25 years and I am healthier than most people I know. I have all the nutrients I need, some days less if I don't eat as much, but that's the same as someone who maybe on a calorie controlled diet. Often they don't get enough of all the food groups to keep their energy levels up.
 
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Josie

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Veganism doesn't automatically mean we'll be healthier. I see unhealthy vegans all over the place.. they're still eating a highly processed foods diet. Then there are those who do go to whole foods, but they aren't eating enough or learning about their new lifestyle. You have to know how many calories you need to function, you have to know which foods have which nutrients so you can be sure to get enough, you need to eat more. You absolutely can get everything you need from a plant based diet.. when done right, we're the healthiest people on the planet.
 

Fiery

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Being a vegan does not always mean you will end up being fit or healthy. As others have said, vegans often end up eating a lot of highly processed, unhealthy foods after they see that a lot of their eating options have some sort of animal product in them. They turn to these junk foods as they see that as the only thing they can eat. This is a problem many people go through after they turn vegan. There are many things for vegans to eat. There are a lot of substitutes for meat and dairy products just for vegans, and vegetables can be manipulated into healthy, delicious and fulfilling meals. Eating healthy and being vegan isn't the only thing you need to do. You also need to do a lot of fitness training, and exercise. Daily exercise is great for everyone.
As a vegan, if you eat healthy, do daily exercise and intake all of your daily needs, you will be both physically and mentally fit.
 

nytegeek

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I am interested in how a vegan diet would affect me as a diabetic. Getting enough protein and the glycemic index of the foods would be of importance to me. I would also want to get enough nutrients that I wouldn't need dietary supplements or vitamin tablets.
 

Josie

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I am interested in how a vegan diet would affect me as a diabetic. Getting enough protein and the glycemic index of the foods would be of importance to me. I would also want to get enough nutrients that I wouldn't need dietary supplements or vitamin tablets.

Plant based eating is the best thing anyone can do for their health. Lives are saved every day by making this choice. Do not worry about protein.. you will get enough. You don't need very much and pretty much everything has it. You need to worry most about the amount you're eating. I would track yourself until you get used to it.. cronomoter.com is great for this. You'll know for sure what you're lacking and what you're getting enough of. Sidenote: there are studies showing how whole, fibrous foods do not cause spikes in insulin like processed foods do. I haven't studied diabetes enough yet, but I found that very interesting and it applies to us all. So many people are afraid of fructose and being afraid of whole foods is ridiculous. I would talk to your doctor about it. Not that doctors know anything about food, but it's a good start. Maybe a nutritionist? Good luck!

OH, forgot to mention.. you will need to supplement b12. You just won't be getting it unless you find soil somewhere that still has it or you eat fortified foods. It's not a vegan thing; these days it's an everyone thing. But supplementing it is becoming a debate, so maybe run that by your doctor too.. just don't let them talk you into injections. I know many people think it's necessary, but it's absolutely not.
 
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kim1984

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When people do switch, it makes them more aware of what they do need so it helps as you learn to balance more.

I found this was definitely the case for me. When I was researching vegetarianism/veganism more, I really was conscious about researching ways to ensure I was meeting requirements for all the major nutrients.

I can only say good things about how I feel like it's affected my health. I feel stronger, more energetic, clearer of mind, my skin is so much clearer - it's actually been like a reset button on my health for the better!
 

VesperLynd

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Transitioning to vegetarianism doesn't mean you won't be receiving the nutrition you need. It is true that you won't be able to enjoy everything in the basic food groups but you can always substitute one food for another. For example protein can be found in nuts, calcium in certain vegetables and many others.
 

Dree

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My main issue of concern is that there are some important protein elements found in animals and not found in plants.
From which food groups can I obtain this nutrients?
 

Onroda

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I noticed various improvements. Better blood circulation (presumably through decreasing artheriosclerosis) has freed me from my heart condition and has drastically reduced fits of pain in the back (lumbar vertebra). Digestion and micturition has also improved as has my skin and toe and finger nails. Though I do not exercise a lot, I have gained a lot of stamina and tolerate heat and cold much better. I eat a whole-food vegan diet with lots of nuts, fruits, dry fruits, salads, beans, vegetables and the like and have lost some 10% of my weight. And the best thing about it: if I do not drink wine or beer, I can hardly eat enough to keep my weight, even if - calory-wise - my input is definitely higher than during my vegetarian and omnivore times. I have been on a vegan diet for 3 years now and hold this to be the best decision in decades.
 
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winter.frost

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I find this website particularly useful: http://veganhealth.org/

In theory, yes, it's possible. Even for pregnant women and the elderly. However some people do seem to struggle - perhaps their body's needs are tested too much by veganism, which can be rich in some things yet a bit difficult for others. I know I've had issues with dental health, for instance.

But I still say that it's better to start with total veganism as the status quo and give it all you have before tampering with it for health reasons. I have another long post about veganism and health here on the forum if you're interested.
 
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I think that one of the major concerns of many people by switching their diets to vegan or vegetarian is the concern if the body will receive what it needs to be healthy. I am guessing that this is lack of information, but at the same time, do these diets actually provide all the body needs?

these diets do provide you with all that you need. Veganism is not "mainstream", meat eating is, so the food industry gives you what you need right to your face. So you are correct, vegans have to educate themselves. It does not have to be hard educating yourself when you have search engines like Google! You just have to ask the right questions like the ones that I have used in my own personal search below:

1. What vitamins are essential for humans?
2. what plants contains such vitamins?
3. Are there alternatives?
3. How can I incorporate these plants into my vegan diet?

C
 
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timjn

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With all diets, there is a concern that there is enough of all the food groups. If you look at someone that only eats meat and no vegetables then they will have little fiber in their diet.

When people do switch, it makes them more aware of what they do need so it helps as you learn to balance more. I've been a vegetarian for over 25 years and I am healthier than most people I know. I have all the nutrients I need, some days less if I don't eat as much, but that's the same as someone who maybe on a calorie controlled diet. Often they don't get enough of all the food groups to keep their energy levels up.
Agree with you!
 

Forest Nymph

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I think I'm healthier than most people. More healthy in my 30s than my 20s - throughout most of my 20s I still ate animal products, took antibiotics, drank diet sodas, and all of that mainstream garbage. Through becoming vegan I seem resistant to upper respiratory infections and coughs I frequently see in my class mates - there are people who have been hella sick 2 or 3 times just the semester, but nope not me. I tell them to stop eating dairy, and they're like "I do when I am congested" and I'm just like "uh no - stop eating dairy. Like at all. Once you're sick it's almost too late."

I do get the flu maybe once every year or two, but I've talked to medical professionals about this, and they say even getting a flu shot leaves you with a 50/50 chance of still getting the flu so why bother.

I had health concerns about veganism in my early 20s, the first time I tried to do it, and really lacked information. Vegan diets are complete you can get all of your amino acids, vitamin K, whatever you need - Omega 3s are in hemp, walnuts, canola and flax, and K2 is produced in the gut of people who eat fermented foods like sourkraut, pickles, kombucha, etc. not by animal flesh. The only thing you should absolutely have to supplement is B12 which you can get in fortified milks and nutritional yeasts, or receive as a shot, if you don't like taking vitamin pills. Even as a vegan you only need to take a B12 once or twice a week, you don't even have to take it every day.

Eat a variety of foods and don't rely on junk food as your only sustenance. I'm weirded out by vegans who try to live off of Oreos, french fries, and vegan pizza - I'm like you can't be serious, right, this wouldn't even be healthy if you weren't vegan.
 

Forest Nymph

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My main issue of concern is that there are some important protein elements found in animals and not found in plants.
From which food groups can I obtain this nutrients?

That's complete ********. You can get your complete amino acid profile from Braggs Liquid Aminos, tofu or tempeh, seitan flavored with soy sauce, beans and rice, nutritional yeast, and Ezekiel Bread. Yes, Ezekiel Bread is a source of complete vegan protein because it's made of spelt and lentils, as well as other grains. I don't know if this a troll post, but what you're saying is wildly incorrect. You could even eat peanut butter in oatmeal, or a rice and veggie dish with almonds or cashews mixed in.