By Lori Corbin
For pets, the planet or just to peel off a few pounds, many are looking to a vegan diet.
But, unlike vegetarians, a vegan diet is strictly plant based. Absolutely no animal products what so ever. No meat, eggs, dairy, fish, or fowl of any kind. While that may seem limiting, it is a diet that’s packed with good things.
Owner of Nutrifit, dietitian Jackie Keller operates a nutritional catering business, servicing those with many different nutritional needs. She says the diet is tough to follow for a novice. Since food is her business, Keller incorporates plenty of soy protein, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and a plethora of produce.
Contrary to popular belief, vegans can get adequate protein in their diet. What they lack is vitamin B-12, which you can only get from meat. In addition, vegans need to make sure they get adequate iron, calcium, riboflavin, zinc and vitamin D. No surprise, health experts recommend taking a supplement on this type of program. It’s also helpful to eat certain foods in tandem, like iron rich black beans with a food high in vitamin C (like red bell pepper, oranges, kiwi, etc.) Keller says vegetarians and vegans benefit with lower rates of cholesterol, hypertension, cancer, obesity and reduced risk of kidney problems.
A recent study at George Washington University proved that vegan dieting works well, at least for overweight post menopausal women. They lost almost twice as much weight as those following a standard low cholesterol diet; fourteen pounds versus eight pounds.
In addition it’s important to remember, animal free doesn’t mean taste free. Keller recommends giving your body a break by eating semi-vegan a few days a week.