What with the rise of Netflix documentaries such as Cowspiracy, vegan restaurants popping up and vegan dedicated magazines appearing, veganism has turned into the ‘it’ healthy trend over the last couple of years. Many adopt veganism for different reasons, some for animal rights others for health and many because of food intolerance’s. With a string of celebrities backing the plant-based diet including the likes of Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande and Jared Leto, should we all be taking note?
November celebrates World Vegan Month, which raises more awareness of veganism, vegan certified foods and consumer goods.We have researched the benefits of a vegan diet, along with the beauty and health pros and cons that are a product of this trending lifestyle.
Pro: Banish the Zits
It is well known that many dermatologists worth their salt advise acne sufferers to cut out dairy in their diet. This is because of the growth hormones that are largely found in non-organic dairy products such as milk and yoghurt, which can aggravate the inflammation of acne. Vegans switch their dairy intake by using natural alternatives such as soy milk and coconut yoghurt instead.
Gorgeous movie star, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, found a definite improvement in her skin when adapting to a vegan diet: “After going vegan, I felt so much better. My skin cleared up, I had a ton more energy and I just felt clearer in the head.”(1)
Odylique’s organic Creamy Coconut Cleanser (£18.00, www.odylique.co.uk) is a vegan friendly make-up remover, which contains coconut oil that forms into a milky consistency to penetrate your skin and cleanse away dirt from your pores.
Con: Lack of Vitamin B12 and Calcium
Going dairy free may do wonders for your skin but it does mean you are more at risk of being b12 and calcium deficient and many dairy alternatives lack in these vitamins. B12 is incredibly important for building and strengthening your nerve and blood cells, as a result this contributes to the health of your immune system to help ward off illnesses and infections. Calcium is needed to help build and support your bone density and keep teeth strong. When calcium is lacking that’s when your body is more prone to weakened bones that can lead to problems such as osteoporosis and rickets.
When you’re eating a vegan-based diet you can still avoid dairy and up your B12 and calcium intake by eating more amounts of tofu and leafy greens such as spinach and kale. If you’re not the biggest fan of your leafy greens you can also bulk your intake with supplements such as Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin B12 (£17.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk).
Pro: Beauty Sleep
We are told from the supermodels of the world how important our beauty sleep is, for our metabolism, skin, slowing down the ageing process … the list is endless! When you eat a vegan diet full of nuts, leafy greens and oatmeal you will find it easier to sneak some zzz’s in, as these whole foods have sleep enhancing amino acids to help restore your healthy sleep cycle.
Con: Hair Loss In The Short Term
Despite having healthier hair in the long term, many find when starting on a vegan lifestyle that they see the reverse effect with many suffering from excess hair loss and slow hair growth. This is caused from the sudden change in diet and also from adjusting to a diet without protein rich meats and fish, which are important to help the hair’s cell renewal and health.
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns says, “Protein is one of the most important nutrients for healthy hair. Keratin, a substance that provides the strength and structure of hair, is a protein, and our body makes it from the proteins that we eat.
“So to ensure you have strong hair, eat a variety of protein-containing foods every day and you can replace your meat, fish and eggs, with beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.”
Going vegan doesn’t mean you can’t play around with your hair colour. On the high street many hair dyes don’t cater to vegan certified standards but if you are looking to colour your hair with a vegan certified hair colourant try Herbatint’s gentle and naturally better hair colourant which is formulated with less than 2% PPD and hosts 36 shades in their range from Swedish Blonde to Violet hues (£9.50, www.herbatint.co.uk).
Pro: Burst In Energy
When you are consuming processed foods full of additives and meat that is difficult to digest this can cause you to feel sluggish.Vegans don’t have this problem as their nourishing diet is plant-based which means its easily digestible and bursting with mood boosting nutrients.
The world renowned Jenny from the block, Jennifer Lopez, makes 48 look like 25 and she contributes her vegan based lifestyle to her skyrocket energy levels: “It was a real change, but more than that I felt better and people were like ‘Your energy’s better’.” (2)
So if you fancy being the top of your spin class instead of lagging behind, a vegan diet could be the answer. Don’t forget to freshen up with the vegan friendly and cruelty free natural coffee scrub Optiat’s Pick Me Up Lemongrass Lifter (£9.99, www.optiat.co.uk), containing refreshing lemongrass essential oils which is perfect for a post-workout.
Con: Iron Deficiency
Many vegetables and whole foods contain high levels of iron including the likes of broccoli, pulses and dried fruits; this is where vegans will likely draw their iron intake. However in comparison to meat rich in iron such as beef, other iron sources don’t absorb as well in the body. Low levels of iron can lead to anaemia, which can cause you to feel fatigue, breathlessness and irregular heart palpitations.
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