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As other fad diets rise and fall, veganism remains an option

Whenever someone mentions they’re a vegan, I feel like there’s always an awkward silence that quickly follows right after.

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Image: Ano Lobb/Flickr

By Catherine Stewart (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: June 4, 2014

Image: Ano Lobb/Flickr

“Vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.”

Whenever someone mentions they’re a vegan, I feel like there’s always an awkward silence that quickly follows right after. A vegan? Does that mean I wasn’t imagining you glaring at me when I was wolfing down that cheeseburger earlier?

Contrary to popular belief, not all vegans jump at the opportunity to shove hummus down your throat and preach about animal cruelty. Many people originally switch to veganism for a lifestyle change — the need to be healthy.

On its website, PETA has a list of the ‘Top 10 Reasons’ to go vegan; one had my face curling in on itself in disgust.

According to PETA, it’s not uncommon for meat in the US to be contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids. This makes animal products the top source of food poisoning in the US. Not only is meat questionable, but so are dairy products — especially milk. Cows are pumped with so many hormones in order to reach the daily goal of milk collected. Luckily for Canadians, use of hormones are illegal here. America isn’t so lucky, and more often than not, it’s no longer milk that’s coming out, but pus instead. That’s just what I wanted with my cereal.

I spoke with my good friend and UFV student Sara Kurath about her own decision to switch to a vegan lifestyle. At first she chose simply to cut out meat. After a year or so and a bit of research, she switched to being vegan. Many people think vegans don’t get the right amount of protein in their diet, so they’re a lot smaller and weaker than meat-eaters. Practically seven feet tall, Sara is walking proof of how wrong those rumours are. In fact, meat-eaters are getting too much protein in their diets these days. What many people don’t realize is that protein can be found even in plants.

I asked Sara what stood out to her the most after switching diets. She said that at first, she thought it was the hardest thing to find what she could actually eat. But now grocery stores are supplying soy cheese, tofu, almond milk, and so many other healthy alternatives. Just a couple weeks after making the big switch, Sara said she already felt more energetic throughout the day. Her sister had even dropped 30 pounds within three months of switching.

“If my dad can do it, the guy whose favourite food was steak and lobster, then anyone can,” Sara says.

PETA also points out that vegans tend to be thinner and more energetic than meat-eaters. Also, the cholesterol and animal fat in meat, eggs, and dairy products not only clog arteries to your heart, they can impede blood flow to other vital organs as well — guys, this means you!

“Vegans are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters are,” PETA supplies. “And unlike unhealthy fad diets, which leave you feeling tired (and usually don’t keep the pounds off for long), going vegan is the healthy way to keep the excess fat off for good while leaving you with plenty of energy.”

Vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Now, this all sounds fine and great, but it’s not for everyone. I tried going vegan for a day last year. Key word: day. On my lunch break I passed the delicious cheese bun display and I caved.

But for anyone who wants a lifestyle change, to lose weight, or to just feel a lot more energetic and healthy in general, going vegan might just be for you. If you find you don’t like it after a few days… well, Bambi appreciates the attempt, anyway.

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