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Sunday, 12 August 2018

How to become a vegetarian or vegan

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The basic idea or knowledge almost anyone has about vegetarians is that, they do not eat any kind of meat including poultry, red meat, seafood and many more.

Are there varieties of vegetarians?
Yes there are!
Vegetarians are normally categorised according to their dietary patterns.

Let us take a look at the categories:

1. The Vegans
Vegans are the absolute or total or the hundred percent strict vegetarians. They don't consume any kind of meat or fish. They also don't take in any sort of product obtained from animals. Example of such products include eggs, milk, gelatin, honey etc....

2. The lacto-ovo vegetarians
Lacto-ovo vegetarians are known to consume dairy products and eggs but do not eat meat or fish.

3. The Lacto vegetarians
Lacto vegetarians normally take in dairy products but do not eat eggs, meat and fish.

4. The ovo vegetarians
Ovo vegetarians tend to consume eggs but do not take in meat, fish and dairy products.

5. The partial vegetarians
Partial vegetarians do not eat meat but may tend out to be Apollo vegetarians ( vegetarians who eat poultry) or a pesco-vegetarian (a vegetarian who consumes fish)

Anyone who has turned into a vegetarian has his or her own reasons for engaging in such practice. Their reasons could be related to religion, health, concern for animal welfare, etc.....
Becoming a vegetarian is kind of easy nowadays due to the production of fresh plant products all year round.

In the old days, vegetarianism was down-looked by majority of people because they think that, it comes along with certain unwanted health deficiencies. But nowadays, several studies and health professionals have emerged, confirming the gross health benefits of totally avoiding the consumption of meat (veganism).

Following a good vegetarian dietary patterns is known to help avoid and in some cases, treat certain unwanted health problems like hypertension, cancer, dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis, renal disease and many more.
Vegetarian dietary patterns that are not well organised and planned can result in one or more platelet disorders.
Vegetarianism can help decrease an individual's risk of Alzheimer's disease.

There is no guarantee that becoming a vegetarian can vastly help reduce or control your body's weight unless you follow a well reviewed and restricted dietary guidelines. Because certain foods vegetarians eat sometimes contain great amount of saturated fats. 

The truth is that, being a vegetarian comes along with numerous health benefits. Don't become a vegetarian because a family member or a friend is practising vegetarianism but rather become one because you do know what it entails and the numerous health benefits you are going to obtain out of it.

A member of the AwayCande health team interacted with Sarah Blythe, a young British lady who became vegan few months ago. She talked about why and how she began practising veganism. She also added a piece of advice which was directed to individuals who are planning on becoming vegans.

Let us take a look at what she said:

" I became vegan almost a year ago after watching a documentary called What The Health on Netflix (and later on, Cowspiracy). For 29 years I ate meat, fish, eggs and dairy and never quite felt fully comfortable with it but couldn't work out why. Once I'd seen this documentary I changed overnight to veganism and have never looked back. 

Some of the major facts that made me realise what I had been doing involved statistics about the impact of eating animal products to the environment, animals themselves and my own health. I didn't realise before that by consuming animal products I was contributing to the huge amount of greenhouse gases released in the production of animals for food. It takes 15,500 litres of water to produce 1kg beef, compared to 180 litres for 1kg tomatoes. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust of all transportation. The world's population isn't getting any smaller, yet our appetite for meat goes up and up. 

I saw videos of cows on a conveyor belt being shot in the head one after the other, I saw baby male chicks being put by hand into a blender because they are no use in the egg industry, and I saw mother cows screaming after their calf had been taken away either to be killed as meat or to never see its mother again so that the farmers could take her milk. 

I discovered that in vegan food there is NO cholesterol whatsoever and therefore the chance of developing heart disease or having a heart attack reduces to incredibly low. It is true though however that in order to reap the health benefits of veganism you need to stick to a plant based natural food diet with little oil or sugar. 

All of these arguments made the decision clear to me- veganism makes so much more sense and isn't as difficult as I previously would have thought. Now in the UK there are 600,000 vegans. Vegetables are cheap to buy and tasty dishes can be made with chickpeas and lentils. In the West we have many 'fake meats' made of soya which are good replacements and have no impact on the environment or animals, and are also a lot lower in fat. I now realise that before I felt a subconscious guilt that I was eating a dead animal or its products, especially that I hadn't killed it myself, often didn't know where it came from and wouldn't be prepared to find out. 

If you're interested in vegetarianism or veganism I recommend downloading the app 'Happy Cow' which tells you where the nearest restaurants or shops are, and try experimenting with dishes without meat in. Ghanaian dishes that are already vegan (depending if stock cubes are used) include red-red, yam chips and jollof rice. "

The following are some intriguing plant- based food pictures from Sarah.