What’s the opposite of Paleo? How about Vegan? Vegan is more than what you eat. It’s how you live.
Animal products are avoided – all animal products. That includes fur (of course), leather, wool, and products containing things such as lanolin to name a few.
Let’s be clear that there is giving up food that contains animal products and then there is being a vegan. For the purpose of this blog, I’m only talking about giving up eating any and all foods that contain even so much as a trace of an animal product. That means no meat, no fish, no poultry, no eggs or dairy, and a lot more foods you never even thought were made with animal products such as gelatin and marshmallows.
Removing such a large food group from your diet can certainly be a catalyst for losing weight.
It can be, but it’s not guaranteed, to result in weight loss. It depends on what you choose to replace the animal foods. It may result in weight loss, but at what cost? If care isn’t taken to replace the nutrients the body gets from animal-based foods poor nutrition and health complications could come with the loss of weight.
Removing all animal products, even traces of animal products, isn’t a healthier way to eat even though some people see their blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop. People with certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis or diabetes could run into complications. Also people who need to avoid soy-based products for a variety of health reasons can run into trouble. It’s strongly advised that anybody with any medical condition consult a registered dietician before making a switch.
Removing animal sources from your diet could also remove essential nutrients that your body needs to be healthy.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient and often lacking when eating animal-free. You can get vitamin B12 from fortified foods (some brands of soy milk, fake meats, breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast) and from supplements. Calcium and vitamin D are also difficult to get when eating sans animals.
Supermarkets and food manufacturers recognize the growing interest in eating animal-free and they are making more foods to feed the demand. Many of the foods are processed with added fats and sugars in an attempt to make them both highly palatable and to have similar taste and “mouth-feel” properties as their counterpart foodstuffs containing animal products. Don’t make the mistake that animal-free is calorie-free or even reduced calorie.
When done right there are some advantages to going animal free that include getting more antioxidants from eating a diet higher in plant matter and improved self-control.
If you think it’s something you can do to lose weight, and stop when you reach your goal you’re making a mistake. Like any other sustainable weight management plan, you must commit to sticking to it beyond goal. It has to be a way of life. For many it does become a way of life and the thought of going back to eating animals and animal byproducts is nauseating.
Before you make a decision to quit eating animals and animal byproducts consider the potential drawbacks including lack of support from family and friends, dining out challenges, and nutrient deficiencies. Be aware that it’s no more effective for sustained weight management than a balanced and moderate food plan that includes both plants and animals.