This is the most radical of the vegetarian diets. It excludes any animal products – even honey, since it’s produced by bees, right? In any case, vegetarian diets can be divided according to the kinds of foods those following them allow for themselves. Thus, some vegetarians will eat eggs and dairy products, but no meat or fish. They are usually called ovo-lacto vegetarians. There are also people who are seriously flirting with a vegetarian regimen. These are the people who will occasionally still eat meat, but who – usually for health reasons – follow an almost vegetarian diet.
Veganism is another matter altogether. The people who follow this diet are strict on two levels: they don’t believe in harming animals, and they want to be as healthy as possible. They do have a lot going for them. They are not fat. They seem to have lots of energy, and they seem to be happy with their lifestyle. It’s not easy to follow a strict diet like this, but it’s not impossible either. The diet consists of foods from plants and from grains. Another important thing is to consider grains and plants (which include fruits and vegetables).
There are some health benefits to going vegan: diabetes can either be prevented or even resolved with a vegan diet. The reason is that complex carbohydrates are metabolized slowly in the body, so they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar, which in turn means that insulin is not released in large quantities to handle a sugar overload. So, this kind of diet is good if you don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes – but it will help you even if you are type 1, in which case you may be able to reduce your usage of insulin.
There are also claims about this diet that indicate that it’s good for cancer prevention as well. One of the reasons for this is the high-fiber and low-fat diet that being vegan usually brings in its wake. Since many of the foods that are considered carcinogenetic are simply not on a vegan diet, such as meat and cold cuts and even milk (which may be behind prostate cancer, for example), a person following a strict vegan diet is less likely to develop cancer than those on any other kinds of eating regimen.
Worried about a heart attack? A vegan diet is almost a guarantee about ever having one. Most of the harm that comes from plaque build-up in the arteries comes from animal fats, which are highly saturated. But trans-fats also have a bad name, so you need to watch that, too. Another thing about foods that come from animals is that they have no fiber in them. And fiber is what a vegan diet gives you a lot of things. This means, among other things, the fairly fast move through the food you eat in your digestive tract.
Vegan diets can also be great if you are worried about blood pressure. Those on a strict vegan diet seem to be completely free of this silent killer. That’s partly because this diet keeps the blood thin and running smoothly through your arteries and veins.
In short, there are many advantages to following this kind of diet. The one problem you may encounter is a B 12 deficiency. And also, you need to do your homework to learn how to include full proteins in your diet – which can be achieved by mixing beans with certain types of grains, for example.