Being on a vegan (plant-based) diet might seem like a good solution when it comes to healthy eating habits. Also, the vegan diet is mainly marketed and promoted as the one with the biggest positive impact on the environment.
But is it actually true? Is the vegan diet so good for people and the environment? Or does it has a dark side that no so many people know or talk about?
Let’s find it out.
What is a vegan (plant-based) diet?
The vegan diet is based on non-animal products. Meaning, as a vegan you can eat only fruits, vegetables, and plant-based products. Some orthodox vegans also skip eating honey even though that’s something for another discussion.
The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian diet is that vegetarians can also eat milk, milk products, and eggs. Some of them eat also fish and seafood. But in that case, they are not called vegetarians but pescatarians.
I would also say that on the opposite side of the vegan diet is the KETO diet. KETO diet is mainly based on animal foods containing a lot of proteins, and a very low amount of carbs.
The most popular plant-based products eaten in a vegan diet besides fruits and veggies are avocados, quinoa, tofu, seitan, or tempeh.
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Why do people become vegan?
Many people decide to go vegan due to their moral beliefs that animals should not be eaten. Also, vegans believe that going vegan is better for the environment. Last but not least, it is known that the plant-based diet can have positive benefits for our health.
But are these points true? Can a vegan diet (or actually any kind of diet) have so many benefits? Let’s break each of them further and talk about the details.
Being vegan doesn’t protect all the animals.
Majority of vegans turned vegan because they value animals and believe that their life is as important as the lives of humans.
But do vegans know how many animals are killed to protect the production of their foods? Only in Australia, there are 40 000 ducks killed each year to protect rice production. Also, there are a billion mice and other rodents poisoned to protect the wheat. Pretty impressive numbers right?
When you take into consideration the production of other super popular foods like coconut oil from Indonesia, quinoa from Latin America, avocados from Mexico or almonds from the United States the number gets significantly higher.
Related article:Coconut oil – superfood with many health benefits, or dangerous fat which could damage your body?
Some people could say that it is ok to do that. The final number is lower than the animals eaten by humans so there is no problem with that. By the way, just to add a number behind it, there are 3 billion animals killed for food daily.
But just think for a second. If you are not eating animals why do you support killing them? Isn’t that a hypocritic thinking and behavior?
People on a plant-based diet are not eating animals for moral reasons, but they should remember that there are animals still killed to protect their food.
What is the negative impact of a vegan diet on the environment?
I already told you about a not sustainable overproduction of several foods. In my opinion, the more popular the plant-based diet gets, the bigger the negative impact on the environment will be.
Trees will be chopped to grow avocados, kids will be hired to do the dirty jobs and the carbon footprint of the most popular foods will rise.
And why am I so skeptical here? Because not everyone will know about this. Huge companies will still look into their profits first and hide the truth. We can see this behavior in other industries so why it should not be present in the food industry?
Last but not least, just look at what had happened with the quinoa in Latin America. The higher demand and production which by the way raised by 72% in the last decade, pushed the prices so high that people in Peru, Ecuador or Bolivia can’t afford it anymore. And many of the poorest are starving to death because of this issue.
Another issue worth to mention is avocados in Mexico. Due to extremely high popularity, thousands of hectares of forests are chopped and replaced with avocado trees each year. As you can guess, many animals are losing their natural habitat that leads to their death due to that. Last but not least, organized crime overtook many farms where child labor is present. Is it really worth to put the avocado into everything vegan?
In order to lower the negative impact on the environment always check the origin of your products. Buy local foods that are grown near you. There is really no need to buy food from another side of the planet. Also, the best is to buy products that are cultivated without any harm to animals in order to protect them.
Is the vegan diet really so healthy?
As with every diet, the vegan diet also has its health benefits but also risks. The main benefits are lower cholesterol and fewer cardiovascular issues, more vitamin intake or lowering the blood sugar that has a positive impact on diabetes 2.
Among the most debatable risks is definitely the vitamin B12 intake and iron deficiency. Luckily for vegans, these can be easily fixed with supplements.
Although a vegan diet can have a positive impact on our cardiovascular system it can also impact it negatively. When you eat plant-based food that is not balanced well in fats, very low cholesterol (LDL vs HDL) can even lead to a stroke.
Talking about a not balanced diet is leading me to other health risks of a vegan diet. For example, leaking gut, the bigger likelihood of depression and too many carbs and a low number of proteins.
Related article:Depression symptoms – discover 10 alarming signs.
Last but not least, being vegan can lead to disordered eating thanks to which you could gain weight.
As you see even the mighty vegan diet has its negatives. There is no magic formula that could protect your health or even the environment.
The only solution that I see here is to find a balance. If you want to become vegan due to your moral believe I encourage you to do it. If you want to change your eating habits and get healthier then do it.
But always remember, when there is something positive there is always something negative on the other side. Everything has been like this for many years so try not to destroy it.