health benefits (vegan vs vegetarian)
I was wondering if there are any health benefits of being vegan compared to pescotarian or vegetarian. Thanks.
By 'pescotarian' I assume you mean someone who eats fish.
The health trade off of one diet vs. another is not so
simple. You can be a 'vegan' and have a poor diet, while
eating some animal stuff and have a better diet. As a vegan
you could live off of diet coke and cigarette (for a while
anyway). Just restricting your diet is not the way to
good health. Vegans avoid getting 'bad' fat in their diet,
as well as all the weird stuff they feed factory producted
animals these days. But as a vegan, you still need to make
a good selection of foods. You need to think about the 'B'
vitamins and find a way to get Omega-3 (fatty acid) into
your diet (among other things).
Howe'ver, having said that, I think one main health reason
to restrict your diet is that eating just plant based food
is easier to digest and easier to get the nutrition out of.
I know this is a somewhat short answer and maybe somewhat
of a cop out, but here it is. Being a vegan can be some
trouble (dealing with some social situations). Howe'ver,
eating healthy takes some thinking; vegan or not.
I bet some others here have opinions about this.
Many people do find out when they give up dairy and eggs, two foods a good deal of the population have allergens to, that they feel better.
I think it's a no-brainer that cutting out the hormones and antibiodics that are found in eggs and dairy are healthier. I don't think we're fully aware of the consequences to health of what we are injecting into meat/dairy. One might be the premature onset of puberty we are seeing in girls. One might be the development of resistant strains of bacteria due to us injesting antibiodics. One may be the rise in cancer rates seen in breast and prostate cancer the last two decades. Also it's interesting to note that countries that eat the most diary products also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
They do produce organic eggs and dairy, which may be lesser evils. The diet I choose for myself (and I refuse to engage vegans in a discussion of my diet) includes limited amounts of dairy and eggs, usually organic.
Personally, I think it's individualized what is the optimum diet for each person. Why not give veganism a try and see how you feel. Be sure to research what consitutes a healthy vegan diet and include a wide variety of fruits, veggies, soy products, legumes, nuts and fats (like essential fatty acids), B12, calcium, etc. etc. etc. (Some people feel bad at first due to a "detoxing" feeling.) If you like how you feel, then benefits to the animals and the evironment will be an added bonus.
I think whatever diet you choose, one based on a wide variety of plant foods of various colors is healthy because of the immune boosting antioxidants.
I am a non-dairy vegetarian and have been for 5 + years. I have started reducing my intake of eggs and don't eat them directly as in scrambled eggs, boiled or fried or whatever anymore. I have the goal of becoming vegan. I am making the transition slowly so I can get used to more egg free foods and I haven't told anyone except my husband. I told him I wanted to be vegan in the future. He is concerned about it but wants me to be happy. I think my not eating eggs and not making a fuss is getting him used to the idea and he hasn't said anything about it recently. My family doesn't know. So as of the last couple of months I eat almost an entirely vegan diet. SO that's "my profile".
Over the years I have heard of many, many people who went vegetarian or vegan and have lost weight, sometimes quite a bit as a result. I never lost anything noticeable as a result of the veg diet. I am happier and feel good most of the time - I am tired and don't sleep well but I think that has much to do with my restless mind not my diet.
The benefits have to do with what one chooses to eat within the diet as said before so if one is a vegan and eats a very healthy well-rounded diet compared to a vegetarian that lives on french fries, coke, ice cream, and other fatty foods from fast food joints and doesn't eat much of anything with nutritional ingredients -- these people would be on opposite end of the veg spectrum. I would think a vegan who eats enough healthy fats would have low cholesterol levels, be more likely to be leaner (of course that also depends on activity level), have healthier organs and less toxin overload in the body. Maybe some research from Vegetarian Resource Group would or Peta or somewhere would have more info on this.
Very iinteresting topic!
Another good thread...I am learning so much about so many things, let alone the good recipes! ;D I agree with baypuppy, it's nice to find a board where people can have different ideas without all the preaching/flaming/blaming that can go on in cyberspace...honestly, I got flamed on a quilting chatboard once! Delia, I am having the same sort of experience. My DH is such a carnivore, I'm surprised he is as healthy as he is, there are only about 4 fruits he will even consider eating. Most of his fruit intake consists of lemon or orange juice! When I decided to return to ovolactovegetaria it was partly at his suggestion, for a wonder. I began quietly to make mushroom sauce for pasta, tofu lasagne, cream-of-veg soups etc. and serve them with no fuss. And he often eats them! There are other things he won't touch with a pole (such as real salad where you can see the vegetables!) but I don't fuss; now he is semiretired I just let him prepare his own whatever. You're right, the main thing is to make quiet changes with no fanfare or fuss. Other people don't change their opinions or tastes for us, now do they? So we can go quietly on and retain our convictions, tastes etc. in spite of disagreement on the part of others. Other people can't change your beliefs/tastes/leanings unless you allow it to happen.
Before I went regular veg, I ate a ton of fast food and crap. It made me sick all the time. When you're vegan you're usually less inclined to eat things that are bad for you. It elimates many junk foods. It;s better for you digustive system too. I personally feel like I have more energy when I don't eat real yogurt, milk... but that's just me.
I too am more about the health when it comes to elimating dairy. With eggs... I never ate them. I hate the thought.
I have had osteoporosis since I was 19. My doctor told me that Milk was NOT a good source of calcium for me because humans acutally lose calcium in the process of trying to absorb mile that was intended for cows. He suggested 3 Tums a day and calcium-rich vegetables.
I don't know how accurate all of the information on this site is, but my doctor corroborated many of the statements I read here.
i went veg. when i was 20 for health reasons. i was having terrible digestive problems and like totally wasn't absorbing anything and all the doctors i went to had no idea what the problem was. i went lacto/ovo around the same time (totally unrelated to the illness) and things started to improve a little. i was eating a lot of yogurts (the only dairy i was really eating besides the occasional piece of cheese) & i dunno a moderate amount of eggs i guess and definately not as much fruit & veggies as i should have been. i had read somewhere about the benefit of whole food diets and went that route in trying to cure myself of whatever unknown thing was plaging my health. at that time i didn't really know what i should be eating in terms of making good meal choices and if i needed to eat certain foods for certian nutrients so i picked up some vegetarian books from amazon (things like Becoming Vegetarian, etc). after reading like 2 chapters in the book i decided to go vegan, foremost for health reasons, but also for environmental reasons. after only like 2 months of being vegan (and in turn cutting a bunch of crap out of my diet -organic all the way) my digestive problems were like 85% gone, i didn't get all of the recurring illnesses that i got my whole life (runners asthma cleared up, no more giant cold that lasted the entire winter, skin cleared up 80%, wasn't so depressed or anxous, no more insomnia, no more migraines, etc) and i had more energy than ever. plus i gained back all the weight i lost while i was having those digestive problems (like 20 or so lbs which is a lot i only weighed like 110, so you can see the sicklyness that i must have been). i'm 22 now and i've never felt better in my ENTIRE life. obviously this is just my account, but i really believe diets that have a low impact on the body (like the vegan 1) can be very healing and beneficial long term to ward off a lot of diseases that are plaging our western sociaty right now. i don't remember where i was reading the article but maybe 2 or 3 months ago i was reading about how a gluten free vegan diet was the most healing diet they had studied in regards to arthritis and cancers...maybe new england journal of medicine. anywho, ultimately how you eat comes down to your choice. i think the most important thing is whatever you decide, you need to be really happy with that decision. if you're not happy you're just going to stress yourself out with what you're doing which will negate a lot of the good you're doing for your body via diet. i think we all know or have seen at least 1 person (i'm thinking of 1 right now) who eats incredibly well, exercises everyday, and tries to keep up on all the newest nutrition info, but in the process burns themselves out to the point that they are just miserable and giving themselves gray hair. food should be fun. i really enjoy cooking and i find that being vegan has allowed me to use so many more diverse and interesting ingredients, not to mention really allowed me to have a newfound appreciation for fruits & veggies (my prior eating habbits focused around a few common stable vegetables & they were always a "side" to fish or chicken). do research and whatever you decide, remember its always a good idea to stay away from the processed stuff.
I was vegetarian for 3 years before I became fully vegan. My reason for doing so was because of AR but also I am lactose intolerant and didn't really eat dairy products before anyway.
The health benifits I have had are amazing! I was a very sick child and growing up had many health problems which were not only erlated to diet but also a medical condition I have. After turing vegetarian I noticed a huge increase in energy and I was not as sick as I used to be. I have no been vegan for 5 years and have had very little sickness. I used to suffer greatly from chronic fatigue and since being vegan I have noticed I have not suffered from this as badly. I am very healthy now and it is not just because I eat a healthy diet, but I truly believe that being a vegan has greatly helped with my health. Infact I am more healthy than other members of my family who are non-vegan or vegetarian and that for me is huge!!
so either way I have experienced great health benefits, as a vegetarian i had more energy, was sick far less and even looked healthier, however being a vegan I do believe has been very helpful for me in terms of health.