Veganism has a reputation for producing groans and eye-rolls when it’s brought up, probably much like your reaction to the title of this article, but the vegan lifestyle is getting more and more attention and not just from obnoxious people trying to convert you: but as a legitimate healthy lifestyle that can improve your mood, skin, hair, and overall quality of life.
Nutritionist Amanda Perrin, agrees that a Vegan lifestyle can be very beneficial but she discourages it to anyone who can’t replace the protein and iron or if the diet is simply not right for you. “Veganism can be great for some people…for most of our bodies, it doesn’t work. We digest meat easily.” Her ideal diet would consist of mostly whole foods, and any meat or dairy products would be local and fresh.
Emily Allston, A sophomore at Flagler College and a recently transitioned Vegan, speaks in similar terms as Perrin. Allston said the beginning was the hardest because, “Everything I was eating had animal products.” Her and her friend, Cait Kimball, decided to become Vegans after watching the documentary, Cowspiracy. The movie targets the environmental benefits of becoming Vegan because producing animal products takes water and creates a lot of waste and emissions. Allston and Kimball transitioned for environmental reasons but others decide to change their diet to vegan for ethical reasons, or simply for the health benefits.
Perrin says that although Veganism is a positive lifestyle for those who can maintain it, “To me, it’s still a fad diet because our digestive system is designed to digest both animal products and plant products.” She simply doesn’t believe that Veganism can provide the full spectrum of nutrients to function well. “When you take such a simple, easily accessible form of protein out of your diet and don’t replace it with something else, you’ve failed, and you’re on a trendy fad diet.”
Those who have transitioned to being Vegan, including Allston, report feeling better all around. Better body, better skin, even a better mood. “When you start to eat healthier, and I’ve noticed this not only with myself but my patients as well, but their brain starts to work better.” says Perrin. This encompasses some of the health benefits that people strive for when going Vegan. “Your body has better building blocks to work with because by going vegan and avoiding so much of what the American diet is based on, you have to eat healthier foods.”
Some words of advice that Perrin left for someone looking to go Vegan the right way is to talk to your doctor number one, and next a dietician, if you don’t want to do your own research. Allston said that transitioning is the hardest part, but having someone to do it with makes it a lot easier. As Veganism becomes more widely known as a healthy lifestyle and not just an annoying dinner topic, the negatives become clear as well, so if you’re considering becoming Vegan be sure to research the costs as well as the benefits.