The Ve­gan Diet

Yoga Journal - - TEACHER’S TABLE -

LOTS OF YO­GIS EM­BRACE ve­g­an­ism— a strictly plant-based diet and life­style that ex­cludes the use and con­sump­tion of an­i­mal prod­ucts and by-prod­ucts— not just as a way of eat­ing, but as a com­plete way of be­ing. For many, the ve­gan phi­los­o­phy is con­sid­ered a prac­tice of ahimsa (non-harm­ing), one of Patan­jali’s five ya­mas—moral and eth­i­cal guide­lines for fol­low­ing a yo­gic path, as laid out in the Yoga Su­tra. For health, en­vi­ron­men­tal, or eth­i­cal rea­sons, strict ve­gans don’t buy or use any an­i­mal-de­rived prod­ucts or sub­stances. This in­cludes dairy, eggs, silk, wool, leather, honey, gelatin, and cer­tain soaps and cos­met­ics.


A ve­gan diet has the po­ten­tial to be ex­cep­tion­ally healthy be­cause when done right, it’s packed with anti-in­flam­ma­tory, nu­tri­ent-dense, low-calo­rie plant foods, ac­cord­ing to Cas­tle Rock, Colorado–based nu­tri­tion­ist Jen Birge, MS, RDN, who spe­cial­izes in food sen­si­tiv­i­ties. Fruits and veg­gies, nuts and seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains are high in fiber, phy­to­chem­i­cals, vi­ta­mins, and min­er­als—“all mi­cronu­tri­ents that help your body run smoothly and re­duce in­flam­ma­tion,” says Birge.

By cut­ting out meat prod­ucts, in­clud­ing those that are heav­ily pro­cessed and high in sat­u­rated fats, re­search shows that ve­gans re­duce their risk for chronic dis­eases like heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, cancer, and obe­sity. To this end, ve­gan di­ets are as­so­ci­ated with lower blood pres­sure, lower choles­terol, health­ier blood­sugar lev­els, and re­duced risk of cancer. In fact, a 2013 study pub­lished in the med­i­cal jour­nal Cancer Epi­demi­ol­ogy, Biomark­ers & Pre­ven­tion

found that ve­gan di­ets con­fer lower risk for over­all and fe­male-spe­cific can­cers than other di­ets. And an added bonus: New re­search, pub­lished in June in the jour­nal

Ma­tu­ri­tas, found that ve­gan women ex­pe­ri­ence milder menopausal symp­toms than meat-eaters.


Ve­gans should ab­so­lutely take a vi­ta­min B12 sup­ple­ment (which will aid in red blood cell for­ma­tion and neu­ro­log­i­cal func­tion) be­cause they won’t be eat­ing meat, dairy, or eggs. They should also con­sider up­ping omega-3s, since off-lim­its fish and fish oil are main sources of these es­sen­tial fatty acids. A 2017 study in the Jour­nal of Hu­man Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics

sug­gests ve­gans sup­ple­ment with al­gal DHA—an omega-3 de­rived from al­gae that’s es­sen­tial for brain and eye func­tion. Wal­nuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are also ex­cel­lent omegarich op­tions, says Birge.

Low iron can also be a con­cern for some her­bi­vores, be­cause one of the two types (heme) is found only in meat. That said, high iron stores is a known risk fac­tor for heart dis­ease, cancer, and di­a­betes in older adults, so no one should sup­ple­ment high doses of iron with­out ad­vice from a health-care provider. In­stead, the jour­nal Crit­i­cal Re­views in Food

Sci­ence and Nu­tri­tion rec­om­mends that veg­e­tar­i­ans mon­i­tor their iron lev­els and ad­just di­ets and sup­ple­ments ac­cord­ingly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.