Going Vegan, Going Healthy

By Leah Kaminsky

Veganism has come a long way since the days when every vegan brownie tasted like cardboard. I don’t know about you, but I have accidentally scooped up my fair share of appealing cookies from gas stations around Seattle only to realize after the fact that they lacked eggs and butter. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of heading down this road, here are a few more reasons why.

Veganism in its simplest form is a diet and lifestyle that excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey, as well as makeup and clothing tested on or made from animals. So, if you want to go vegan you’ll have to stop attending that weekly meat club and wearing great Aunt Dina’s creepy fox fur.

The reasons for becoming a vegan are as diverse as there are people in the world. Ethical vegans have a moral aversion to harming animals, including keeping them in captivity and harvesting their products. Dietary vegans like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton believe the diet to be healthier than all others, while environmental vegans credit the toll animal products take on the earth.

To avoid nutrient deficiencies (which, by the way, you’ll have anyway if you consume the average junk food American diet) enlist your doctor or nutritionist to help you locate alternative sources of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and iron. An over the counter supplement is always a good idea, but you’d be surprised how many of these nutrients you can get from other foods like spinach and beans (high in iron and protein) and fortified grains such as bread or cereal (high in B12, which is hard to find in plant products).

Start slowly with meatless Mondays, experiment with a new vegan recipe, replace your old makeup with vegan alternatives and step it up from there.

As long as you don’t let your newfound veganism become an “all French fries, all the time” diet, you just might find yourself losing weight and feeling better too.