I don’t know about you but I was confused for so long on what exactly it means to be vegan. So let’s break it down shall we?
The simplest definition of vegetarianism is a diet free of meat, fish, and fowl flesh. But eating habits of vegetarians cover a wide spectrum. At one end are lacto-ovo vegetarians who avoid animal flesh but eat eggs and milk products. At the other end are vegans, who forego eating all animal-based products, including honey. Raw vegans are vegans who eat mainly raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts, and nuts.
There are also pescatarians, vegetarians who eat fish and seafood, and lacto-vegetarians, who eat dairy products but not eggs. Fruitarians follow a diet that includes fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plant food. Those who follow a macrobiotic diet eat mostly grains but can also eat fish. They don’t necessarily identify as vegetarians.
So simply put, there are about various types of vegan diets. But mostly importantly let’s focus on why?
Most doctors and nutritionists agree that a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and nuts are best. There is also widespread acknowledgment that reducing or eliminating red meat from the diet cuts the risk of heart disease.
Research also has shown that a plant-based diet can improve the health of people with type 2 diabetes. A study in 2004 and 2005 showed that people with diabetes who followed a low-fat vegan diet had less of a need for diabetes medications. They lost weight and their insulin sensitivity increased. They had improved glycemic and lipid control.
So rather that beat yourself up about memorizing the rules of a particular diet, think about what your goals are and then determine what you need to change. You still need to like what you eat so identify what changes you are willing to make. Remember, the most important thing you can do is eat to live. Long gone are they days that you live to eat. And if you need some help along the way just Ask? (yes there’s an Ask? tab!)