Vegans are people who believe in the philosophy of not depending on animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. This means that they, apart from wearing no leather or fur, also refrain from eating animal products like meat, eggs, and even milk. The number of people who follow veganism has been increasing steadily over the past few years. According to a survey conducted by American food provider ARAMARK, one out of every four college students in the USA is now seeking vegan options on campus.
But some recent reports have suggested that going vegan may not be good for health. In support of this was Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who famously said earlier this year that she used to be a vegan and “it nearly killed” her because she found that she was not getting enough nutrition. She then confessed that she loved red meat and “a juicy steak” was one of her guilty pleasures. Dieticians are wary of rejecting veganism as unhealthy. While vegetarianism has been around practically forever in India, veganism is a relatively new phenomenon here.
Dietician and Nutritionist Dr Ratna Dubey feels that a vegan does miss out on several important nutrients like certain proteins and vitamins because they do not eat meat or consume dairy products. “Vegans don’t even drink milk, because they believe that only very small children need milk and stay completely away from meat products. This can cause some deficiency in the protein and vitamins in their diet,’ she explains, “but a well planned vegan or vegetarian diet may fulfil these shortcomings”
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has a clear and positive stand n veganism. According to a paper released by the ADA, “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
The last word, though, must be Dr. Dubeys, who believes that if you want to go vegan, consult your dietician. A sudden and drastic change in your diet is not recommended, unless supervised.