Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem.

Or at least that can be the case if you know what you’re doing, according to nutrition experts.

The vegan lifestyle requires people to avoid consuming animal products in their diets. That means no meat, no eggs, no cheese and no milk. For many vegans, it also means not using anything made with leather or other animal products.

With Vegan Awareness Month taking place through November, animal rights proponents and vegans around the country are campaigning on the positive aspects of a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, beans and grains.
Health and nutrition experts say it’s certainly possible to keep a proper diet and take in all the required nutrients and vitamins to stay healthy without eating meat or dairy. Studies show that vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower-than-average risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other preventable conditions.

But it does take a little more work to keep a proper diet, especially in some specific areas.

“If someone is going to decide to be a vegan, it can’t just be taken lightly, that decision,” said Hannah Richter, a dietitian with Auburn Memorial Hospital. “One would hope they’re making it because they’re choosing a healthier lifestyle, and therefore making smart decisions about the foods they choose.”

Those two don’t inherently go hand-in-hand, Richter pointed out. Avoiding meat doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding processed and unhealthy food.

“In any eating plan, it’s important to choose and focus on whole foods,” Richter said. “You can be a vegan and still eat a lot of sugars and high-fat things that aren’t good for you.”

Read the complete story here.

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