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Overview of The Features of Switching to a Vegan Diet

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Iron Introduction

Becoming a vegan means to not consume any meat or any food that contains animal products such as meat, fish, butter, honey, eggs, and milk6. Not only that vegans don’t eat animal products, many vegans stay away from using leather, fur and wool products7. Many people choose veganism as a lifestyle to treat animals with respect and not use them as a source of food. Some choose to become vegan because it is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition, cooking, and improving diet. A vegan diet is all about getting the proper amount of protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and calories which is why this diet requires knowledge, diligence and time.

Transtheoretical Model

The transtheoretical model is a model of behavioral change that includes different stages to describe how one can change from an unhealthy behavior to a healthy one. This model will help a person that is motivated and determined to becoming a vegan make that change.

Pre-contemplation- In this stage, the individual is not being aware of the behavior of the health problem, or being aware of it and having no intentions to change10. When people do not realize that veganism exists. The individual may be in denial that his/her diet is not healthful and may not realize that the option of being vegan can help them improve their health.

Contemplation

The individual here recognizes the problem, and knows that is hope for change10. The individual may become aware that being a vegan is a trend that many people follow. He/she may be learning about the benefits of becoming a vegan and whether it would fit in their lifestyle. It is possible for a person that is considering to be a vegan to stay at this stage for at least two years due to the significant change from always eating meat to none.

Preparation

In this stage, the individual tend to have a plan of action (joining a health class, book to aid them, or consult a physician)10. He/she have decided that they want to become a vegan6. He/she will start looking for what kind of foods they will buy, recipes for delicious meals that helps them keep up the diet, and other ways that will help them make the transition from eating meat to becoming vegan.

Action

Behavioral changes have occurred within the past 6 months10. However, not all changes that an individual makes meet the criterion to be considered action. The individual in this stage is taking action of no longer eating dairy, meat, or anything that contains animal products. As a result of changing to a vegan diet, the individual will start noticing the health benefits that he/she get from a vegan diet. Changes such as weight loss, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease or hypertension, along with some other health benefits

Maintenance

Period from 6 months after the criterion has been reached until such time as the risk of returning to the old behavior has terminated10. He/she will continue to follow the modifications that have been made to their diet. The goal for the individual at this stage is to maintain not eating any animal product. The temptation to eat animal products is reduced more and more as this individual keeps up the diet.

Termination

In this stage, the individual is no longer tempted or have weakness when exposed to old habits. They have complete confidence that they can cope with any situation without fear or relapse. Termination is reached when the individual is not tempted to relapse old behavior whatsoever. Regardless of how dangerous or stressful the situation is, the individual has no urge to drop their diet.

Nutrition

Are there any nutrient deficiencies to be concerned about when switching to a vegan dies? The answer is yes. However, deficiencies are a result of a poor executed vegan diet. Deficiencies generally arise because the food groups that are being consumed do not contain some nutrients in high quantities. Simply including fortified foods or specific targeted supplements can eliminate the concern for these deficiencies.

The biggest challenge and danger in a vegan diet is getting enough protein, iron, zinc and calcium.

Protein

Our bodies, our hair, muscles, fingernails, and so on are made up mostly of different kinds of protein that consist of varying combinations of amino acids. Protein is comprised of amino acids, one needs to make sure that he/she are getting all component essential amino acids from food in order to form the proteins that repair the body

Getting enough protein is the biggest concern for beginners. A minimum of 0. 8g of protein should be consumed for every pound a person weighs. It can be hard for beginners to hit that number by eating only veggies and nuts. Vegan foods usually need to be combined to provide all the amino acids. E. g. combining rice with lentils, tortillas and beans, or peanut butter with wheat bread. Excellent sources of protein include tempeh, soybeans, lentils, beans, peanut butter and almonds.

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral in the body; its role is to carry oxygen to the muscles (via hemoglobin in red blood cells). Plant foods are definitely different from animal foods when it comes to their iron content. In animal foods, iron is often attached to proteins called heme proteins, and referred to as heme iron. In plant foods, iron is not attached to heme proteins and is classified as non-heme iron. Heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 7-35%. Non-heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 2-20%7. Absorption is reduced in a vegan diet, so the risk of Iron deficiency is increased. For added absorption of vegan iron sources, it’s advisable to consume foods rich in vitamin C7.

Zinc

Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells8. A low zinc status can affect immune function. As is the story with iron, zinc also is at the top of the list when it comes to a common deficiency. Again, plant sources of zinc are not as easily absorbed as animal sources.

Calcium

Calcium is the key nutrient to support bone development in children and young adults and to maintain muscle strength and neuromuscular coordination throughout the life span9. A diet without dairy products may cause low calcium intake. This can result in decreased bone density and severe cramping during exercise. Vegans do well to consider consuming calcium fortified foods or taking a supplement. Examples of fortified foods include calcium enriched drinks, such as soy drinks, rice milk, fruit juices, and some breakfast cereals. Broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards and kale provide easily utilized calcium. (Wirnitzer, K. C. 2018)

Benefits

Well-planned vegetarian diets provide some important health and nutrition benefits. They are lower than meat-centered diets in cholesterol, saturated fat and animal protein, and higher in antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E), folate, fiber, phytochemicals and carotenoids.

Environmental impact: Avoiding meat and animal products shifts consumption away from animal growth hormones, excessive antibiotics use, and pollution toward more sustainable world.

Protects against major diseases: Compared with meat eaters, vegetarians tend to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and more vitamins C and E, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), such as carotenoids and flavonoids. As a result, they’re likely to have lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body mass index (BMI), all of which are associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

Weight Loss

Plant-based eaters (vegetarians and vegans) have shown that on average they have a relatively low BMI compared to meat-eaters. If you change your diet to favor plants and unprocessed foods, you’re very likely to consume fewer calories than you did when you were eating the standard American diet that includes high sugar levels, refined carbs, dairy and low-quality meat. More than a quarter of the calories in many Americans’ diets come from highly processed and damaging carbohydrates, like soda and sweetened grain products, while another quarter come from animal products. Plants have fewer calories relative to their weight — in other words, they have a lower caloric density and are also nutrient-dense. They’re also high-fiber foods filling, which can help control food and calorie intake more easily.

Conclusion

The vegan diet is a lifestyle. It promotes healthy animal welfare and more sustainable food production practices. A vegan diet is one that excludes all animal products, focusing instead on plant-based foods. No meat, fish, eggs or dairy are included in a vegan diet, while all types of fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, grains and herbs/spices are. Benefits of eating a vegan diet can include weight management, heart health, reduced risk for heart diseases. There can be some risks to a vegan diet but having a well-balanced diet and combining the right food can reduce he risks of having deficiencies.

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Overview of the Features of Switching to a Vegan Diet. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/switching-to-a-vegan-diet/
“Overview of the Features of Switching to a Vegan Diet.” GradesFixer, 26 Nov. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/switching-to-a-vegan-diet/
Overview of the Features of Switching to a Vegan Diet. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/switching-to-a-vegan-diet/> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2022].
Overview of the Features of Switching to a Vegan Diet [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Nov 26 [cited 2022 Jan 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/switching-to-a-vegan-diet/
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