The Guy’s Guide to Going Vegan

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vegan diet

vegan dietIn another era, long, long ago, salads and vegetables were referred to as “girl food”. However, as we have progressed, we have discovered that vegetables are for men too. A number of celebrity guys and politicians have sworn off of meat, dairy, and eggs and are taking the plunge straight into a vegan diet. While bodybuilders eat a lot of proteins, these don’t need to come from animals, which contain saturated fat that can interfere with heart health and have been linked to several kinds of cancers. You can be “high-protein” and still follow a vegan diet without having to give up many of the foods that you love. Of course, you won’t be able to have a regular steak, but, even non-vegans enjoy grilled Portobello mushroom mock steak, with its succulent texture that mimics the real thing.

Like a Vegan

The number of celebrity men who have decided to go vegan is astounding. Several of these men have made the transition from vegetarian diets to becoming full vegans. Russell Brand, Woody Harrelson, and Bill Clinton have all become vegan. Former President Clinton said that becoming a vegan saved his life after he had to have emergency heart surgery. Many people who go vegan later in life do so for health reasons, whereas many younger people are vegan for ethical reasons. They may object to being vegetarian because they see the consumption of dairy and eggs as contributing to the meat industry, which they do not want to support.

Whether your decision to become vegan is from an ethical standpoint or concern about your health, many people find it easier to take the gradual approach to veganism rather than to do it in one fell swoop. You can start by replacing a few meals with vegan alternatives. Some people began as vegetarians and gradually eliminate milk and eggs. Some combined veganism with macrobiotics for detox, a sense of balance, and health benefits. Removing animal fats from the diet dramatically reduces exposure to saturated fats that can clog arteries. Many vegan foods contain monounsaturated fats that are good for the heart. Those who take omega-3 fish oils heart health may find the same fatty acids in plant foods such as flax seeds, which can be baked into crackers or sprinkled over oatmeal and salads.

Making replacements

There are numerous products on the market that allow you to replace food staples such as milk, meat, and eggs. You can find powdered egg alternatives in any natural food store. Soymilk used to be the only alternative in town for cows’ milk, and even then, it was necessary to travel to a natural food store to locate it. Nowadays, soymilk is available in many retail supermarkets in a variety of flavors, including banana and chocolate. You can also find a variety of plant-based milk, such as almond, rice, and hazelnut. The term “milk” of course is a bit illusory, because real milk can only come from a mammal. However, these products have the taste and consistency of the real thing, with the benefits of having healthy monounsaturated fats. While calcium, potassium and vitamin D found in cows’ milk do not occur naturally in many of these kinds of milk, most of them are fortified with these vitamins and minerals so that you can enjoy the nutrients found in milk, as well as, having something healthy to pour over your cereal.

Soy is the name of the game when it comes to meat and cheese replacements. Instead of bacon, you can enjoy tempeh strips or have various forms of tofu replace luncheon meats. If you are bodybuilding and want to increase your testosterone, it is a good idea to avoid soy products. This means you will have to find other meat and cheese alternatives that do not contain soy. Seitan is wheat based and can be used as a meat replacement for cooking or for use in sandwiches. You can also find some creamy nut based cheese alternatives that do not contain any soy.

Eating vegan out

Becoming a vegan may be pretty challenging when it comes to stocking your cabinets and refrigerator with meat and cheese alternatives. However, the real struggle can come from finding something to eat when you are in a restaurant or having to turn things down when you are a guest in someone’s home. Fortunately, veganism is becoming common, and many restaurants have menus that can accommodate the vegan diet. In fact, some menus highlight vegan options with special symbols to let you know that there are no animal products in the ingredients. It is always a good idea to let your host know ahead of time about any dietary restrictions, although it’s understandable if you don’t want to put them out. Try bringing a vegan dish or put together enough things on your plate that are free of animal products and make a satisfying meal.

Getting the nutrients you need

Many people worry that they will not get the proper nutrients that they need by going on a vegan diet. The truth is that most of the vitamins and minerals that you need are found in plant foods, and it simply takes some time and attention to ensure that you are getting the right combination of food to create a full nutritional picture. If you are concerned about not getting enough thiamine, which is found mainly in animal products, you can always fall back on a multivitamin that is made for vegans. You can get all the protein you need from nuts, legumes, sesame seeds and soy protein. Almonds and sesame seeds provide a significant amount of calcium that helps keep bone mass strong.

Veganism involves a substantial commitment and many changes in your diet, but, it need not create a feeling of deprivation. With some planning, you can enjoy vegan versions of your favorite foods and eat a balanced diet without any animal products. Vegan alternatives are low in saturated fats and promote general health and vitality while preventing dangerous diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Many people report improved energy when going on a vegan diet.

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