Going Vegan for the Planet and Weight Loss: Should You?

By Agatha Singer

Posted 5 months agoHEALTH

Going Vegan for the Planet and Weight LossDoes that juicy steak look tempting? It sure does, and it smells divine too. How could you even think of going vegan when meat tastes so good, right? It’s nutritious too. After all, how can a strong and healthy man like yourself feel full after a measly salad? That’s just not going to work.
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But now think of how much you love the nature around you. And think of how you want your kids to live in a healthy unpolluted world. What about your own heart? Don’t you want it to be strong and healthy long after you retire and go on a worldwide journey to see more of that magnificent nature? How about being lean and having a Hollywood superstar physique?

That’s what you should go vegan for!

That steak sure won’t look as tempting if you think of how much damage it does to your heart and arteries. Or think of how the animal farming industry is one of the worst things that ever happened to our planet. And those are only the tip of an iceberg that could sink not only Titanic but the Earth itself.

Benefits of Going Vegan for the Planet: Cut Your Carbon Footprint by 73%

The journal Science recently published a highly comprehensive study. It shows that simply by removing meat and dairy from your diet you can cut your personal carbon footprint from food by 73%. That’s how much of a difference this one choice can make for your impact on the planet.

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And if everyone was to turn vegan, the global farming industry would be able to reduce its carbon emissions by 75%. Just so you know, but agriculture is the second biggest source of carbon dioxide pollution. It’s second only to the energy industry, which is responsible for 72% of all emissions all by itself. So, while thinking of going vegan, you might also consider the benefits of going ‘green’ energy-wise.

Another major benefit of veganism for the planet is that it helps preserve wildlife habitats. Those lovely natural preserves that are astounding in diversity get smaller by the year as the farming industry bites off more land to plant crops in. Soon enough there will be nothing left but a sad zoo and a small town park. Now, would you really like to see only animals and plants in movies made by CGI?

The same principle applies to oceans. However, the reduction of farmlands is also an immense benefit for water conservation. If less fresh water was spent on farming crops, perhaps there wouldn’t be the water crisis.

Going Vegan for Weight Loss and Health

Do you still think that being a meat-eater is manly and cool? Think again because today ‘manly’ and ‘cool’ equal to ‘healthy’ and ‘lean muscled’. In fact there plenty of famous athletes and bodybuilders who follow a vegan bodybuilding diet plan.

The epidemic of obesity is no secret to anyone who can see people on the streets. And it’s a well-known fact that being obese and overweight leads to deadly diseases. A vegan diet can help you lose or prevent gaining weight, prove the studies like the ones you can see here, here, and here.

Due to this extreme efficiency for weight loss, going vegan is one of the best choices you can make for a plan to lose 10 kg in one month. This meal plan will provide fast results if your new plant-based diet is well-balanced. And it’s also easier to cut calories with a plant-based diet.

e fast results if your new plant-based diet is well-balanced. And it’s also easier to cut calories with a plant-based diet.Benefits of How to Go Vegan to Lose Weight Fast

1. Ditch the food substitutes

Substitutes are never as good as the real thing, and vegan meat substitutes are so much worse. Not only do they taste bad, they also have little to no nutritional use. Of course, not all meat substitutes are equal. According to experts cited by The Independent, some products used to substitute for meat as a protein source are very good for you. Tempeh and tofu are some of the best because they are made from soya.

Soya is a plant-based source of complete proteins, which means it basically is the nature’s vegan substitute for meat. However, soya foods contain less protein than your average chicken breast. This means you need to eat more of them, and those foods aren’t low on calories. Some clever meal planning with a calorie calculator in hand is in your future if you want to design a healthy vegan diet.

Other meat substitutes, like seitan, aren’t all that good for you because they are processed or overall less nutritious.

So, what’s the healthy solution? First, you need to understand is that a plant-based diet can’t be the same as a meat-eater’s diet. You’ll have to revise your meals completely. Otherwise, you’ll simply make portions bigger and there will be no weight loss benefit whatsoever.

You also shouldn’t look for meat replacements and instead create meals that will contain a mix of plant-based proteins. For example, serving a bean chili with brown rice will give you complete proteins because these two foods contain complementary amino acids. Check more complete protein food combos for vegans here.

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2.  Avoid unhealthy vegan foods

‘Vegan’ doesn’t equal ‘healthy’. That’s a fact you need to really take to heart. Because the word ‘vegan’ on the label doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy food you can eat with impunity. And it’s literally a matter of the heart because a Harvard Medical School study proves that an unhealthful vegan diet actually makes you 32% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Vegan products don’t contain animal ingredients, but they can still contain sugar, fats, and many dubious additives and chemicals. For example, fruit juice is completely vegan and seemingly healthy, yet it’s as bad for you as a can of soda (HealthLine). These products can also have an extremely low nutritional value, like your average junk food.

The most unhealthy vegan foods are:

Fake meat (especially the frozen kind).
Have you ever heard of a healthy frozen meal? Well, taking meat out of it doesn’t change the situation in the least. Actually, those vegan nuggets are way more dubious because you can’t even start to guess what exactly they are made of. You can be sure though that processed oils, preservatives, and artificial flavorings are used in abundance.

Tofu deli meat.
Like the above, deli meat is bad for you by default, and it’s no different if it’s seemingly made of tofu.

Coconut yogurt.
Unlike things mentioned above, coconut yogurt is actually healthy, but in extremely small amounts. The controversy around the health benefits of coconut oil keeps on growing. And it’s absolutely the truth that this food is very-very high in saturated fats.

Veggie chips.
Chips are deep fried slices of something seasoned with salt and sometimes preservatives and artificial additives of a dubious nature. Why would ‘vegan’ chips be any better for you than ‘non-vegan’?

Vegan desserts.
Check what those are made of because vegan doesn’t equal low-calorie or low-sugar. All desserts can be unhealthy regardless of whether they contain animal fats.

3. Take your vitamins

A major con of a vegan diet is that it doesn’t provide you with all essential nutrients. It’s literally impossible to get the vitamins and minerals you need from plant-based foods only. That’s because they don’t contain vitamin B12. Vitamin D is also in short supply there, but food isn’t a good source of it in general. Vegans also often struggle with getting adequate amounts of calcium and iron.

To enjoy the benefits of going vegan for weight loss and health, you need to ensure that you get all essential nutrients. This means that specialized multivitamins are a mandatory addition to your new diet. The supplements you will need most are:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega 3
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Iodine
  • Zinc

You can learn more details about each essential vegan supplement here. Taking a specialized vegan multivitamin should prevent any dangerous nutritional deficiencies. Do note that the multivitamin must be labeled as ‘vegan’. Not only do these products have different micronutrient dosages compared to regular multivitamins. They also contain synthetic replacements of all animal-based nutrients.

You also mustn’t forget the vital rule of ‘too much is never good’. Before you start shopping for vegan vitamins, consider your diet very carefully. Do you eat different types of seaweed? If so, taking additional iodine can actually be bad for you. Are your vegan cereals, juices, milk, etc. fortified with calcium and B12? You will need to cut down on the supplement dosage of those.

Humans don’t really need multivitamins if they are on a healthy diet, says Berkley Wellness. Vegans do, but even that need is relative and should be calculated based on your diet. Consuming too much of some nutrients is an actual health risk, so be careful not to go overboard.

4. Increase your protein intake

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Getting back to the subject of incomplete proteins started above, your vegan meal plan must pay a lot of attention to them. Proteins in plant foods are incomplete, unlike in animal foods. This means that you need to eat a variety of foods with different types of amino acids per meal in order to get your daily quota of protein.

However, like with the vitamins, you shouldn’t think that more is better. The Physicians Committee busts the protein myth to smithereens. Recent studies show that you totally can eat too much protein, and it doesn’t matter whether it comes from plants or animals.

If your body gets too much of it, you risk developing kidney disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer. A healthy dose of this nutrient is 0.8 gram per one kilogram of your weight. It can be up to 2 grams if you are a fitness junkie or a vegan bodybuilder. However, those reasons don’t reduce the risks. Therefore, you should think about a healthy exercise regimen that won’t push your body too much.

5.Going Vegan: Dangers

In the past few years, we all have seen influencers and bloggers promoting and advising their audience to go vegan. And many are more than ready to welcome the challenge; ditch the meat, meat products, dairy, eggs, cheese, basically everything that might have been an animal or a part of an animal before it landed on your kitchen table. I was one of them too.

However, just as many bloggers and influencers tend to sugarcoat what it’s like to be a vegan in the first place; they leave out a lot of relevant information. Therefore, we are here today to debunk all the vegan myths and explore the dark side of veganism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely pro-vegetarian diets, raising awareness about the animal welfare and ecological impacts of our nutrition, but sometimes we need to put our body first.

And now that we have the intro out of our way let’s start our debunking mission.

Veganism Not Done Properly Can Destroy Your Body

The first thing that someone starting a vegan diet might notice is an energy boost with the removal of the processed meat compensated by eating a bigger variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts. These are perfect, clean foods that will boost your vitamin, mineral and fibre levels.

Can you get the amino acids you need on a vegetarian diet?

Although it would be brilliant for both your own health and the planet to make a plant-based diet, if not done carefully it can end up in depriving your body of essential nutrients when the diet is not done 100% right.

Okay, this may sound outrageous, but isn’t veganism supposed to be good for our bodies and health? In theory, yes; in practice, thinking ahead about your meals and snacks can be harder than expected. If we look back into history, there is not a single wide-spread society known to thrive off of animal-free diets. We all should limit the consumption of meat, but the quality animal products such us organic dairy, ecological eggs or others, alongside vegetables will make us thrive.

Animal products are essential for the development and improvement of our bodies. We all need protein, amino acids, minerals and many other indispensable elements which are crucial for your body’s proper functioning. There is no doubt, that the way the animals are treated in the age of nutrition mass production is a crime, so we need to get more informed and conscious about where our animal products come from, and also simply eat them less.

We may not be aware of the dangers of veganism because our bodies are capable of adapting to any type of fuel initially, but in the long run, veganism can easily affect your muscles, nerves and overall physical and mental performance. There have also been cases where women suffered from issues regarding their period, due to iron-deficiency, caloric restriction, loss of blood and depression caused by lack of nutrients.

Oftentimes it’s better to include some animal-based proteins such us chess or eggs, taking care so they come from the organic sources. If you really want to quit all the animal proteins and go vegan I encourage you to check out our vegan bodybuilding plan, suitable for any active person.

Veganism and Eating Disorders

There are many scientific proofs and studies when it comes to the connection between veganism, vegetarianism, and eating disorders. For example, the majority of college vegetarians and vegans are more likely to feel guilty after eating, to be more preoccupied with being thin and more likely to use laxatives and extreme exercise to lose weight. Moreover, the majority of college vegans also develop depression and anxiety disorders much faster than the meat eaters.

College students who are either vegetarians or vegans also tend to diet more, engage in binge eating and vomiting as well as obsess over their appearance and weight. However, let’s be clear; veganism doesn’t necessarily cause eating disorders, but those who practice veganism are more prone to developing anorexia, bulimia, and similar conditions. According to MindBodyGreen, orthorexia is also one of the states that are closely related to veganism; this is basically an obsession over healthy and clean eating.

Vegan Diets Can Lack in Protein Quality.

It is a well-known fact that a vegan diet doesn’t provide nearly as much protein as our bodies need. This is true for a vegetarian diet as well but to a lesser extent. Nonetheless, it is extremely problematic because low protein consumption leads to protein deficiency, causing edema, fatty liver, hair, skin and nail issues, poor recovery and growth, as well as weak immune system and loss of muscle and bone density. According to a study, new data suggests that the lack of protein and calcium intake in vegans can lead to poor bone health and a higher risk of bone fractures.

If you are reading this article and thinking These are utter lies, then let me fill you up on a story. The author of this article used to be a hardcore vegan, until one day I was going for a run. I was running for a good 45 minutes until I felt a striking pain in my right foot. I couldn’t stand, nor was I able to run anymore, so I called a cab and decided to take a day off.

The next few days my foot got extremely worse, so I had to visit the local hospital. There, my doctor diagnosed me with a bone fracture and a so-called March fracture, so I ended up in a cast for the next three months. You may assume the reason for this; my body had no proteins; therefore, my bones and muscles were extraordinarily fragile and lacked density.

The funny thing is, I thought I was taking in protein through soy products and other plant-based options, like the pea, rice, and hemp. Nonetheless, that wasn’t enough to keep my body up and running. Maybe I was not eating correct, maybe for some people, a vegan diet works better, for others don’t. Maybe it’s better to add eggs to your diet?

Vegan Diet Lacks Specific Amino Acids.

Another major issue with veganism, usually overlooked by those who promote it, is the lack of specific amino acids in this diet. Amino acids are crucial for the ‘building’ of protein in our bodies, and since vegans don’t consume foods rich in amino acids, according to Healthy Eating, they’re at risk of:

•    a weakened immune system,

•    lowhormone production,

•    lysine deficiency,

•    anxiety and depression,

•    muscle wasting

•    weakness and fatigue

•    change in the texture of hair and skin

•    and much more.

Supplementation

Supplementation was believed to be one of the main ways to get a proper protein and amino acid intake for vegans. However, even supplementation can be extremely difficult. If you embark on the journey to find vegan sources of the essential amino acids, like proline or hydroxyproline, you won’t be happy with the results, as there are none.

When it comes to amino acids that are mainly found in animal products, like taurine, vegans may also experience some troubles. Taurine is usually found in meat, fish, eggs, shellfish, seaweed, and milk. By consuming this food, you are getting the necessary dose of taurine on a daily basis.

The only way for vegans to get a taurine intake is through brewer’s yeast, an ingredient used in the production of beer and bread. And you guessed it; the majority of vegans don’t consume these foods as well. So, the conclusion is that vegans aren’t getting enough of the necessary nutrients, which can be extremely harmful to their health.

Vegetarianism vs. Veganism

Now that you have an insight when it comes to disadvantages of veganism, and you still want to lead a green lifestyle, maybe it’s time to turn to vegetarianism. A vegetarian diet is the closest thing to a vegan diet but is much healthier and beneficial for your body.

It may have its negative sides as well, as aforementioned, but the advantages are more prominent and definitely a healthy alternative to veganism. So, let’s take a look at some examples on why vegetarianism is a better choice, according to krishijagran:

•    A vegetarian diet can increase lifespan: since you are consuming more fruits and veggies, alongside some of the animal products, you are creating a perfect balance in your body, hence, a longer lifespan

•    Reduces the risk of stroke and obesity: vegetarians always seem more conscious about the things they eat, so by adopting a vegetarian diet, you’re ultimately lowering chances for a stroke or obesity

•    Reduces risk of diabetes; vegetarian diet allows you to maintain your blood sugar level and flow, so a healthy vegetarian diet is nutritious and contains less fatty acids

•    Provides high fiber content: vegetarianism encourages the use of fruits and veggies that contain high fiber content, which enables proper digestions, improves metabolism and eliminates toxins from the body

•    Reduces depression, moodiness, and irritability: according to some researches, vegetarians are much happier than non-vegetarians or even vegans

Tips on consuming proteins without eating meat

Going green, as we’ve seen, can be quite challenging and at times even unhealthy due to the lack of proteins and amino acids that are found in meat. However, there may be some tips and trick on how to implement proteins in your nutrition while saving the animals of the world. Here are some protein-rich foods that you can start using today:

•    Lentils and beans; 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of proteins, and 1 cup of cooked beans contains 15 grams of proteins

•    Tempeh, tofu, edamame: these foods are great substitutes to meat as they contain probiotics, vitamin B, calcium, iron, and protein as 10 to 20 grams per 100-gram serving. They are also great for different cooking styles, so you can quickly implement them into your diet.

•    Whole grains: a half a cup of cooked whole grains contains approximately 8 grams of protein, so make sure to eat a lot of quinoa, rice, wholegrain pasta, and oats to fill in for the lack of meat in your diet.

•    Nuts: a small, handful of nuts daily can provide you with 8 grams of protein; try eating different nuts throughout the week, like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and cashews.

•    Non-dairy alternatives: if you’re looking for non-dairy sources of proteins and amino acids, try using soy milk and soy yoghurt; each cup contains around 10 grams of protein. If you use your soy milk or yoghurt with whole grains, like oatmeal for breakfast, you’re looking at even higher protein intake.

Overall…

As a former vegetarian, turned vegan, I can confirm that veganism didn’t work for me in any way. I was always sick, moody, irritable, not to mention, hungry. My vegan journey lasted four years, and in those four years, I have developed the majority of the aforementioned conditions and diseases. I am not trying to say that veganism is a lousy dieting plan, but it is worthy of checking into all the possible effects it may have on your health and body.

Moreover, if you still want to maintain a green lifestyle, but you’ve decided to move from veganism, try a vegetarian diet instead. Therefore, before going vegan or vegetarian, make sure to consult with a medical practitioner for more advice and insight into the disadvantages of veganism and advantages of vegetarianism.

Should You Go Vegan to Benefit the Planet and Lose Weight?

Only you can answer that question. Going vegan will definitely help you lose weight faster and become more mindful about your eating habits in general. This diet is also healthier overall. And the benefits for the planet cannot be denied.

Go vegan if you want to achieve all this and see how it works out for you!

About the author Agatha Singer

Agatha Singer is a former 9 to 6 business & finance consultant and current work-from-home mom of two awesome little nuggets. If you are looking to make a big change in your personal life, you may join her journey to a perfect balance between family and personality. Welcome to her blog www.agsinger.com!