We all know that annoying person who won’t stop talking about their new vegan diet. However, as annoying as that person may be, the number of people going vegan is on the rise. Many celebrities, from Bill Clinton to Usher, are also making the switch to the no animal product diet.
But why? It turns out that going vegan may cause some serious health risks you may not have thought about.
Vegans don’t eat anything that comes from something with a face. This means no dairy or eggs, as well as no meat. There are a lot of really important nutrients in those foods that can be hard to find in alternative, vegan-friendly foods.
1. Vitamin B12
One of these nutrients is Vitamin B12. Deficiencies of Vitamin B12 can actually lead to impaired brain function and mental illnesses, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Low levels of Vitamin B12 have also been linked to poor memory and depression. Some of the foods with the highest amounts of Vitamin B12 are shellfish and beef.
Another nutrient that vegans tend to lack in their diet is creatine. Creatine helps to build muscle and make you stronger, but it can also improve brain function. Some of the best sources of creatine are beef and turkey.
3. Vitamin A
The most direct way to get Vitamin A is from meant, eggs, and dairy. It can help maintain good vision and a healthy immune system. There is Vitamin A found in some vegetables (particularly green and orange ones), but it has to be converted from it’s original form of beta carotene into Vitamin A, which means you have to be really good about eating all your vegetables.
Of course we all know that calcium builds strong bones, but it really does a lot more. It can help prevent diseases, decrease your risk of colon cancer, and even lower your blood pressure. The main sources of calcium are dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk.
The best source of iron is lean red meant, but it can also be found in chicken and turkey. However, dark leafy greens also are high in iron as well as mushrooms. It’s really important that you get enough iron because it helps transport the oxygen in your blood all over your body.
Many vegans decide to switch to this diet because of ethical reasons. There’s no doubting that animals raised on factory farms, where they are only concerned with making as much money as possible, are treated inhumanely. However, there are farms out there that treat their animals well and slaughter them with dignity.
Like all things in life, you have to find a balance. You have to be ok morally with your decision to eat meat and animal products. Whether that means not eating them at all, or only eating them if you know they were treated well before they ended up on your plate.
With that being said, you have to take care of your body, too. If you do want to be vegan, for whatever reason, seek out alternative sources of these nutrients and others you may be lacking in vegan-friendly foods or supplements.