How To Live The Best Vegan Lifestyle

Tags - #Vegan_Blog

This is a wide topic that will cover many aspects of being vegan. Many vegans often follow a vegan diet for the health benefits it provides but, of course, there is more to it than that. Letโ€™s see what all we can do to create the best vegan lifestyle that can not only make our lives better but also help the planet.

The blog will be in 4 parts, starting from food, lifestyle, medicine, and ethics.

Vegan food

The first thing that comes to mind when we think about a vegan lifestyle is the food. So letโ€™s talk about how we can create the best lifestyle based on vegan food.

Here are some of the things that make the basis of vegan food. Letโ€™s see how we can make the most of these.

Vegetables

At least nine different families of fruits and vegetables exist, with each potentially having hundreds of beneficial plant compounds for your health. Eating a variety of types and colors of produce has the maximum health benefits as you provide your body with a mix of nutrients that it needs.

Green vegetables are some of the most neglected food ingredients of modern families. To make enough micronutrients daily, itโ€™s important to eat enough green leafy vegetables. Some of the best micronutrients are Broccoli, Kale, Brussel sprouts, etc.

Most of the dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables are packed with a bunch of micronutrients. Adding them to the daily meals is something everyone should do, not only vegans. These micronutrients and plant compounds have a very big impact on health as we age.

Grains

Grains are full of carbohydrates that help your body maintain energy. They are also high in fiber which is good for our digestive system.

Most of the grains are high in B-vitamins including niacin, thiamine, and folate. Grains also have a good amount of minerals, such as zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium.

Grains like many other plant-derived foods have good amounts of antioxidants, and many plant compounds such as polyphenols, stanols, and sterols.

Beans & Legumes

Beans and legumes are rich in protein, fiber, B-vitamins, iron, folate, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. Most of the beans are also low in fat.

Legumes are a great source of fiber, they help you with regular bowel movements. With high fiber content, you can get up to half the recommended fiber intake with just a cup (240ml) of cooked black beans, which is 15 grams.

Legumes are also packed with nutrients. They are slow digesting and make you feel full for a long time.

Legumes also contain antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and fight aging. The fiber from legumes helps keep the microflora of our gut healthy helping us prevent digestive cancers.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are some of the most dense-packed foods. They are a good source of protein, healthy fats, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fats and other healthy nutrients that help us protect against heart diseases. The fats from nuts and seeds are not fully absorbed which helps regulate food intake and help burn energy.

Nuts provide about 29Kj of energy per gram and some of the highest-calorie-packed natural foods that you can find.

They are high in monounsaturated fats with walnuts mainly being high in polyunsaturated fats. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of dietary protein and hence are considered a good alternative to animal proteins. Some nuts are also high in amino acid arginine which keeps the blood vessels healthy.

Nuts and seeds are free from any dietary cholesterol like any other plant-derived food. While also being high in dietary fiber they are rich in phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.

Nuts Rich in vitamins E, B6, niacin, and folates help fulfill the vitamin needs. They are also packed with minerals such as magnesium, zinc, plant iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus, and potassium.

Like nuts, seeds are also rich in proteins, healthy fats, fiber, with vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and vitamin E. They also provide minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, plant iron, and zinc. Oily seeds such as safflower, sesame, shea, and sunflower also contain antioxidants that help fats from going rancid too quickly.

Seeds such as flaxseed are also a good source of omega 3, Packing more omega 3 than any other fish out there is the best alternative to omega 3 fish oil capsules.

With healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals nuts and seeds the type of food that is necessary to be added to your daily diet.

Fruits

With a wide variety of fruits, we can get all kinds of vitamins and minerals. Adding some kinds of fruits to your everyday diet should be necessary for everyone.

Eating fruits have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The potassium in fruits can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as well.

Citrus fruits are also packed with folate (folic acid) which helps the body form red blood cells. Folate should be provided in adequate quantities for pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy as it helps prevent neural birth defects such as spina bifida.

Fruits also provide a healthy dose of antioxidants that help repair cell damage done by free radicals and protect against certain cancers. These antioxidants can also have a positive impact on digestive health. The polyphenols in the fruits have been shown to alter gut microecology to help the good bacteria in our gut.

Some of the fruits that you should add to your daily diet

All About The Macros

Carbs

A whole food plant-based diet usually has a lot of carbohydrates. Now a day with some of the recently popular diets such as low carb and keto diets. People have started to feel negative towards any kind of carbs.

This carb phobia is nothing more than marketing. I do agree that eating a lot of simple carbs can be very bad for you in the long term but, This is not for someone who is on a whole food plant-based diet.

Adding a variety of complex carbs to your diet helps give constant energy. They help us feel fuller for longer as well.

Proteins

This might be the first thing people ask any vegan, โ€œDo you get enough protein?โ€ We as a society are obsessed with how much protein we get in our diets. A vegan diet can provide more than enough protein for everyone's needs.

I have already explained it in . We consume more protein than we need daily, this protein is often just excreted without being used. If youโ€™re on a whole food plant-based diet, remember to eat a variety of foods and youโ€™ll be good on your protein side of things.

Fats

A vegan diet does not contain a lot of fats unless youโ€™re eating many processed foods. A whole food plant-based diet is low on fat, do not be alarmed by the term low. It is more than enough to give you all the necessary fats that your body requires, but not so much that you start to gain excess weight.

Micronutrients

A common misconception with people on a vegan diet is that they would not get enough micronutrients that the body requires. This is not true, We can get all the nutrients from vegan sources.

Some of the main concerns are for Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, and Omega-3.

B12

Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria in the soil. There is no animal that makes B12, all the B12 any animal gets is by eating the plants that might have a little bit of soil on it.

Many vegans never take any B12 supplements and show no signs of B12 deficiency but, if youโ€™re worried about your B12 levels you can always take a vegan B12 supplement. These are very cheap and you can buy a yearโ€™s worth of supplies for around $4.

Iron

Thereโ€™s a debate that Heme iron found in animals is better absorbed compared to non-heme iron from plants. Although most of the iron that an average meat-eater eats comes from non-heme sources, approximately 85-90%.

So the argument that heme iron is necessary is not true in any case. If you eat a healthy vegan diet with a variety of foods youโ€™ll get more than enough iron for your body.

Zinc

Many people donโ€™t get enough zinc in their diets that also goes for meat-eaters.

To maximize your intake, eat a variety of zinc-rich foods throughout the day. These include whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted bread, legumes, nuts, and seeds. When youโ€™re eating a whole food plant-based diet these will come to you naturally. Making it hard for you to be low on zinc.

Omega 3

Almost everyone in the western countries has messed up the omega 3 to omega 6 balance. Eating many fatty and oily foods lead to way too much omega 6 in the diet which can be harmful long-term.

A healthy ratio on omega 3 to 6 is 1:4 but in western societies, this ratio is more like 1:15 to 1:30. Consuming almost 7.5 times more omega 6 than recommended can lead to cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure.

To keep a healthy ratio consuming enough omega 3 is essential but, itโ€™s also important to consume less of omega 6.

The highest concentration of omega 3 is in flaxseeds. Consuming just 15 to 30 grams of flaxseeds a day gives you enough omega 3.

Calcium

Many people think that we need to drink milk in order to get calcium, this is again not true. We can get more than enough calcium on a vegan diet. Again, eating a healthy variety of foods on a plant-based diet will provide all the necessary ingredients for a healthy life. Adding a bit of Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and other greens is enough to get all the calcium required.

Junk Food

Many turn to a vegan diet for better life quality especially better health. We all know that eating poor-quality food will affect you in the long term. This is one of the bad habits that many have which leads them on a disastrous path.

Eating junk foods like sugary drinks, fried, grilled, or broiled food, white bread, sweetened breakfast cereals, a lot of pastries, cookies, cakes, french fries, potato chips, and most sweetened juices.

These foods wreak havoc on the body with high sugar spikes and increasing blood pressure. These sugar spikes reduce the muscleโ€™s ability to turn glucose into energy. Eventually over a long period leading to type 2 diabetes.

Another short-term effect of junk food is also poor digestion as most of these foods lack any fiber that could lead to constipation.

If you want to enjoy some junk food do so in moderation. Making it a habit to have some variety of junk food every day will not do you any good.

Keeping your meals healthy is your responsibility. We only have one body, maintaining it properly is something we should all keep in mind.

Alcohol

We have already covered this topic before but, here is the short version of the same thing. Drinking alcoholic drinks has its own risks which can lead to mouth, throat, breast cancer, it can also cause heart and liver diseases. If you really like to drink something do so in moderation.

Consuming no more than 14 units of alcohol a week has been concluded to be a safe limit for most adults. Even if you drink 14 units it best to spread them out throughout the week.

Although the best way to enjoy your life is to go alcohol-free.

Smoking

Many people still think smoking is not as bad as they think. Making your lungs absorb particles they are not supposed to absorb is nothing but stupid. This may come out as a rude statement but think about this. Even though our bodies are smart enough to manage and adapt to unnatural changes, expecting the body to function normally after abusing it for years is crazy.

If you really want to enjoy a better healthier life, smoking needs to stay out of it.

Substance Abuse

If youโ€™re trying to create a healthy lifestyle as seen above, avoiding things that damage your body should be avoided. Where itโ€™s smoking or taking any recreational drugs that harm your body, like weed, marijuana, etc.

If itโ€™s any kind of addiction then, seeking help is the best thing to do. Youโ€™ll be a lot happier and healthier without it.

Medicines

Like everyone, if youโ€™re a vegan youโ€™d also need some kind of meds sometimes, like when youโ€™re sick, etc. Many vegans prefer to get vegan medicine as much as possible but, here is a problem. If itโ€™s a life-threatening situation and you have no other option itโ€™s ok to take non-vegan meds.

Although that would be very rare. Even for medicines, there are quite a few options out there. You can get a vegan option if you look for one.

Here are some of the animal-derived products that you should avoid in medicines -

Lactose - This acts as a carrier and stabilizer in order to transport the medicationโ€™s active ingredients to the body.

Gelatine - Which is usually used for capsule covering, although it's easy to find vegan options.

Other animal-based derivatives include magnesium stearate, cochineal dye, insulin, amino acids, and anticoagulants.

There are many home remedies for small health issues such as cold, headache, and fever. When we have any of these small health issues many of us rely on medicines that are not necessary. We can often treat these symptoms and issues with simple remedies.

Veganism is more than food

Now that we have covered most of the things related to food, we can move on to the ethics of veganism. As veganism is more than the type of food you eat. Letโ€™s see what kinds of things we need to take into account for being a better vegan.

Ethics

Out of all the vegans, at least half of us go vegan because of ethics. As an ethical vegan, your lifestyle and choices are shaped by the desire to avoid animal cruelty and suffering at all practical costs.

Breeding, caging, and slaughtering animals for food and other products cause needless suffering. Here for vegans, this is not acceptable from a moral perspective. Killing a cow when it doesnโ€™t want to die is needless torture and cruelty towards a sentient being. The same can be said for any other animal killed and abused for making a product out of them.

A few ways we do that is by -

Not eating them, which we already covered.

Not using animal-derived products.

Letโ€™s see how we can avoid most animal-derived products.

Clothing

Leather is an $80 Billion a year industry and is expected to grow. From an ethical point, this is absolutely needless slaughtering. In the modern world, there is absolutely no need to wear any kind of animal hide to protect ourselves from nature. We have developed enough variations of clothes that can not only make us look good but also protect us from any harsh environment.

The same can be said for the next popular item, Silk. A 16.94 Billion dollar industry is again expected to grow with an increased population.

We have been killing these animals just to make ourselves feel and look better. There is no inherent advantage you get from wearing any animal product. Itโ€™s all in the head. We have made our cultures and traditions accustomed to slaughtering and killing these animals but, it doesnโ€™t have to be so.

Tradition and customs are nothing more than shared norms and values, it does not mean itโ€™s right. Realizing this simple fact can make a huge difference in all of our lives.

Other Animal Derived Products

Hereโ€™s the list of some of the other products that are animal-derived. Some of these products are used in medicine, as discussed above finding an alternative for medicinal products depends on how severe the condition is and also how easy it is to find an alternative. Most of these products have alternatives that can be found easily.

Adrenaline

Alanine

Albumen

Albumin

Alcloxa

Aldioxa

Aliphatic Alcohol

Allantoin

Alligator Skin

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

Ambergris

Amerchol L101

Amino Acids

Aminosuccinate Acid

Angora

Animal Fats and Oils

Animal Hair

Arachidonic Acid

Arachidyl Proprionate

Bee Pollen

Bee Products

Beeswax. Honeycomb

Biotin. Vitamin H. Vitamin B Factor

Blood

Boar Bristles

Bone Char

Bone Meal

Calciferol

Calfskin

Caprylamine Oxide

Capryl Betaine

Caprylic Acid

Caprylic Triglyceride

Carbamide

Carmine. Cochineal. Carminic Acid

Carminic Acid

Carotene. Provitamin A. Beta Carotene

Casein. Caseinate. Sodium Caseinate

Caseinate

Cashmere

Castor. Castoreum

Castoreum

Catgut

Cera Flava

Cerebrosides

Cetyl Alcohol

Cetyl Palmitate

Chitosan

Cholesterin

Cholesterol

Choline Bitartrate

Civet

Cochineal

Cod Liver Oil

Collagen

Colors. Dyes

Corticosteroid

Cortisone. Corticosteroid

Cysteine, L-Form

Cystine

Dexpanthenol

Diglycerides

Dimethyl Stearamine

Down

Duodenum Substances

Dyes

Egg Protein

Elastin

Emu Oil

Ergocalciferol

Ergosterol

Estradiol

Estrogen. Estradiol

Fats

Fatty Acids

FD&C Colors

Feathers

Fish Liver Oil

Fish Oil

Fish Scales

Fur

Gel

Gelatin. Gel

Glucose Tyrosinase

Glycerides

Glycerin. Glycerol

Glycerol

Glyceryls

Glycereth-26

Guanine. Pearl Essence

Hide Glue

Honey

Honeycomb

Horsehair

Hyaluronic Acid

Hydrocortisone

Hydrolyzed Animal Protein

Imidazolidinyl Urea

Insulin

Isinglass

Isopropyl Lanolate

Isopropyl Myristate

Isopropyl Palmitate

Keratin

Lactic Acid

Lactose

Laneth

Lanogene

Lanolin. Lanolin Acids. Wool Fat. Wool Wax

Lanolin Alcohol

Lanosterols

Lard

Leather. Suede. Calfskin. Sheepskin. Alligator Skin. Other Types of Skin

Lecithin. Choline Bitartrate

Linoleic Acid

Lipase

Lipids

Lipoids. Lipids

Marine Oil

Methionine

Milk Protein

Mink Oil

Monoglycerides. Glycerides. (See Glycerin.)

Musk (Oil)

Myristyl Ether Sulfate

Myristic Acid

Myristyls

โ€œNatural Sourcesโ€ - Can mean animal or vegetable sources. Most often in the health-food industry, especially in the cosmetics area, it means animal sources, such as animal elastin, glands, fat, protein, and oil. Alternatives: plant sources.

Nucleic Acids

Ocenol

Octyl Dodecanol

Oleic Acid

Oils

Oleths

Oleyl Alcohol. Ocenol

Oleyl Arachidate

Oleyl Imidazoline

Oleyl Myristate

Oleyl Oleate

Oleyl Stearate

Palmitamide

Palmitamine

Palmitate

Palmitic Acid

Panthenol. Dexpanthenol. Vitamin B-Complex Factor. Provitamin B-5

Panthenyl

Pepsin

Placenta. Placenta Polypeptides Protein. Afterbirth

Polyglycerol

Polypeptides

Polysorbates

Pristane

Progesterone

Propolis

Provitamin A

Provitamin B-5

Provitamin D-2

Rennet. Rennin

Rennin

Resinous Glaze

Retinol

Ribonucleic Acid

RNA. Ribonucleic Acid

Royal Jelly

Sable Brushes

Sea Turtle Oil

Shark Liver Oil

Sheepskin

Shellac. Resinous Glaze

Silk. Silk Powder

Snails

Sodium Caseinate

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Sodium Tallowate

Spermaceti. Cetyl Palmitate. Sperm Oil

Sponge (Luna and Sea)

Squalane

Squalene

Stearamide

Stearamine

Stearamine Oxide

Stearates

Stearic Acid

Stearic Hydrazide

Stearone

Stearoxytrimethylsilane

Stearoyl Lactylic Acid

Stearyl Acetate

Stearyl Alcohol. Sterols

Stearyl Betaine

Stearyl Caprylate

Stearyl Citrate

Stearyl Dimethyl Amine

Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate

Stearyl Heptanoate

Stearyl Imidazoline

Stearyl Octanoate

Stearyl Stearate

Steroids. Sterols

Sterols

Suede

Tallow. Tallow Fatty Alcohol. Stearic Acid

Tallow Acid

Tallow Amide

Tallow Amine

Talloweth-6

Tallow Glycerides

Tallow Imidazoline

Triterpene Alcohols

Turtle Oil. Sea Turtle Oil

Tyrosine

Urea. Carbamide

Uric Acid

Vitamin A

Vitamin B-Complex Factor

Vitamin B Factor

Vitamin B12

Vitamin D. Ergocalciferol. Vitamin D2. Ergosterol. Provitamin D2. Calciferol. Vitamin D3

Vitamin H

Wax

Whey

Wool

Wool Fat

Wool Wax

For a detailed list visit Peta.org

Health

Although we have discussed the kinds of food we should eat on a vegan diet. Letโ€™s talk about health. A good vegan diet gives you all the nutrients that are required for a healthy life but, thatโ€™s not the end of the story. We also need to focus on other things that are necessary to get the best out of the diet that is provided to us.

Exercise

It's the simplest things that we do for our body that count, like a little bit of exercise. This depends on your age and what kind of body you have but, this is something that can be done by almost everybody.

A simple walk

Some as simple as a daily walk can have many benefits in the long run. A short 15-20 minute walk after dinner or even a morning walk when you wake up is enough to get the blood flowing and also help digestion. Walks are supposed to be a big part of your life and should become a habit. They are not only good for your physical health but also your mental well-being.

Running / Jogging

Though this may not be for everyone youโ€™re trying to keep your cardiovascular health top-notch then there is nothing better than going for a short 20-minute run. Doing this 3 times a week is enough to keep your cardio health good.

Weight Training

Many people, especially elders, shy away from lifting any kind of weight. As we age we start to lose our muscle mass this affects us as we get older and can lead to weak muscle strength.

If you can train with weights then it is paramount that you do at least some weight training. There is no need to push yourself very hard or try to build muscle. All you need to do is lift a bit of weight to keep your muscles strong. Doing compound movements that train many muscles at once is pretty easy for everyone.

Miscellaneous

Transportation

This is not for everyone but itโ€™s something that I wanted to include. Many people use their cars to commute short distances and most of the time they are traveling alone. So, If you commute to nearby places try to avoid using cars as much as possible. You can use a moped or a motorbike if youโ€™re feeling like you need some exercise you can use a bicycle too. Although this doesnโ€™t seem a lot but can help save tons of carbon emissions with time.

Conclusion

Becoming a better vegan takes time. You might make mistakes along the way. There might be times when you wonโ€™t realize there are animal products used in food, clothing, etc. But, with time youโ€™ll learn and get better at finding alternatives.

Veganism can change many of us for the better. Not only can it give a healthier life it can also make us better human beings. Compassion and ethics can be developed and veganism can help us realize what it means to be a Human.