Discover the health benefits of a vegan diet!
It's got the lot! A well-balanced vegan diet contains all the protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals you need. It is low in saturated fat and free from animal protein, cholesterol and hormones – all linked to disease. A vegan diet can provide all the nutrients required for all stages of life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence and for athletes too!
Compared to meat-eaters, vegans weigh less, have lower cholesterol, blood pressure and rates of type 2 diabetes. They have a 30 per cent lower risk of heart disease and lower cancer rates. Most cases of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a third of cancers can be avoided by changing to a healthier diet, increasing physical activity and stopping smoking.
We don't need saturated fat, animal protein or cholesterol. We don’t need trans fatty acids in processed foods or salt and sugar in their current quantities. We do need to move towards a plant-based, whole food diet containing a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds for the nutrients that promote a long and healthy life and protect against disease. The same diet that is good for preventing cancer is also good for preventing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and so on. Changing your diet can have an enormous impact on health – for better or worse!
Vegan is the new Viagra and can mend a broken heart!
Vegan fire-fighter Rip Esselstyn (son of esteemed heart surgeon Dr Caldwell Esselstyn) says “the canary in the coal mine when it comes to heart disease is an underperforming penis”. Impotence can be a warning sign that a heart attack or stroke may follow in the next few years. The cause is blocked arteries and the more meat and dairy you eat, the more likely you are to have them. Vegans are much less at risk and a plant-based diet can turn back the clock, unblock those arteries and get the blood flowing again.
Taken together, a huge body of evidence shows how a vegan diet can help you live a long and healthy life!
Disease – why do animal foods harm?
The saturated fat in red meat, poultry and meat products can lead to heart disease. Red and processed meats (such as smoked meat, ham, bacon, sausages, pâté and tinned meat) also increase the risk of some cancers, especially bowel cancer. Why is this? It may be the type of iron (haem iron) found in meat but not plant foods, or chemicals found in red and processed meats such as N-nitroso compounds, heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Grilled, barbequed and smoked meats contain even higher levels of these dangerous chemicals. Women who eat lots meat cooked this way have a much higher risk of breast cancer.
To see how you can replace meat in your diet, see Meat Alternatives section of our Vegan Recipe Club.
The unhealthy saturated fat, some proteins and the cocktail of hormones and growth factors found in dairy products are linked to a wide range of illnesses and diseases. including acne, allergies, arthritis, cancers of the breast, bowel, ovaries and prostate, colic, constipation, coronary heart disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, dementia, ear infection, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney disease, migraine, autoimmune conditions (including multiple sclerosis), overweight, obesity and osteoporosis. Cow's milk is designed to help a calf grow into a cow in a year so it is packed full of growth hormones. Milk is not a natural drink for humans – especially adult humans! The health implications of being the only mammal to consume milk as adults (and not just that, milk from another species too) are becoming clear as levels of the so-called diseases of affluence soar.
To see how you can make your diet dairy-free, see our Vegan Recipe Club for many traditional and inventive recipes and tips.
There has been a lot of nonsense written about fish oils and intelligence – sure enough we need omega-3s in the diet, but not from fish. The toxins and pollutants found in fish (including PCBs, dioxins and mercury) outweigh the beneficial heart-health effects of fish oils; in fact some studies show that people who eat the most fish have more heart attacks. The government warns people to limit their intake because of the toxins – no other food carries a government health warning! You don’t have to eat neurotoxins and carcinogens to get your omega-3 fats; there are perfectly safe plant sources that can benefit heart health (such as flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and walnuts) not laced with toxic pollutants, and sustainable.
To see how you can replace fish in your diet if you crave the taste, see Fish Alternatives section of our Vegan Recipe Club.
Eggs contain high levels of cholesterol, for which we have no nutritional need. A strong body of scientific evidence shows that high cholesterol levels in our blood increases our risk of heart disease. People who eat a lot of eggs have a higher risk of dying earlier than those who don’t – especially if they have diabetes – and those who eat lots of eggs are more likely to develop diabetes.
To see how you can replace eggs in your diet if you crave the taste, see egg-free alternatives to egg-based recipes at our Vegan Recipe Club.
What’s bugging you?
The vast majority of cases of food poisoning are caused by animal foods (meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy) as plants tend not to harbour the types of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning in humans. Over 90 per cent of retail chickens are contaminated with faecal matter and the Food Standards Agency say that seven in ten supermarket chickens are infected with the food poisoning bug Campylobacter. Add to that BSE, the horsemeat scandal, bird flu and E. coli 0157, it's a wonder anyone risks eating animals foods!
While 750 million people go to bed hungry every night, one-third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals. A typical Western meat-based diet can only feed 2.5 billion people; a plant-based diet will feed every one of us. 90 per cent of the UK's animal feed protein concentrates come from poor countries – often those where children die from starvation. Eating meat and dairy foods is not the only reason for world hunger but it is a major contributor. We must drastically change our eating habits if we are to feed the world adequately. People go hungry while ever increasing numbers of animals are fed huge amounts of food in a hopelessly inefficient system.
What’s the connection between a Sunday roast and the loss of Amazonian rainforest? Soya… the vast majority of soya grown in the Amazon is used for animal feed so people can eat meat and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans eat a tiny fraction and if you want to be sure to avoid it buy organic.
Livestock farming requires vast amounts of land, water and fuel, harms biodiversity and leads to species extinctions. It devastates ecosystems, pollutes oceans, rivers, seas and air, uses up water, oil and coal and contributes to climate change. The United Nations’ report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, says livestock farming is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transport combined (cars, buses, trucks, trains, ships and planes) put together! It takes far more resources to feed a meat-eater than a vegetarian or vegan; animal protein requires five to 10 times more water than vegetable protein. Leading scientists have issued stern warnings about global food supplies, saying that the world may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet to avoid catastrophic shortages.
Every year in Britain, over a billion animals face slaughter having spent their short lives in confinement, pain and misery. The growing demand for cheap meat, dairy and eggs has led to a drop in welfare standards as factory-farming methods intensify. Chickens crammed into sheds with no room for compassion, mothering sows routinely caged to deliver and feed and zero-grazing cows that never see grass. Organic and free-range alternatives are not much better, and they all end up being slaughtered for food. Turning vegan means you’re no longer a part of that cycle of death. See for yourself how the big names in UK farming treat animals today. And say "Not in My Name" with Viva!
For more information see Viva! campaigns.