Trends come and go, but one thing’s for sure: being vegan isn’t simply a fad. Across the world, people have turned to veganism for a number of reasons. Animal welfare, religious beliefs, environmental impact, economics, or to simply opt for a healthier, cleaner diet, free from processed or heavily salted foods.
Regardless of the reason, it’s commendable any time someone shows the discipline and strength to commit to such a strict diet and lifestyle. I, for one, would be a wreck without my daily dose of eggs and avocado toast.
Wondering if the vegan life is for you? Read on for a list of the many health benefits of eating vegan, plus a few common mistakes people make as they adopt the lifestyle. But first, let’s get one thing out of the way:
Vegan vs. Vegetarian—What’s the Difference?
Someone unfamiliar with either practice might think veganism and vegetarianism are more or less the same thing—nope. In ways, they are similar. Generally, neither diet allows meat, poultry, or seafood, but many vegetarians will still eat foods that come from animals, such as honey, cheese, and eggs. These would be “lacto-ovo” vegetarians. “Lacto” vegetarians drop the eggs. “Ovo” vegetarians, if you hadn’t guessed, keep eggs in their diet but omit all dairy products. Pescatarians are semi-vegetarian, consuming fish and avoiding meat and poultry.
While there are a lot of different ways to go vegetarian, veganism is stricter, avoiding any and all meat, poultry, seafood, and other animal-produced foods. Many vegans take it a step beyond diet and make a lifestyle commitment to avoid as many animal byproducts as possible. There’s the obvious stuff like leather, fur, silk, and wool, but there are a lot of surprising products which use animal-derived ingredients—some soaps and cosmetics, margarines, foods with red dye, even certain winemaking methods include animal-derived products.
All right, on to the benefits!