Veggie and Vegan Fun for Everyone

This is the title of an e-book by Charles Fredeen in which health professionals and everyday people contribute their experiences in following a veg*n diet. The e-book is available through Amazon/Kindle (just search on the title) for the sterling equivalent of 3 dollars. I am one of the contributors. Here is a part of my contribution:

“A vegetarian or vegan diet is not a panacea. Nevertheless, there is good evidence to show that vegetarians and vegans generally enjoy good health with some benefits over comparable non-vegetarians including having a lower blood cholesterol level, lower body weight and a moderate reduction in mortality from ischemic heart disease. The observation that vegetarians and vegans are generally slimmer than meat-eaters is especially significant because obesity is associated with many diseases and conditions including adult-onset diabetes and several types of cancer.

A few nutrients are not readily available on a vegan diet and it is wise to ensure an adequate supply of them by consuming fortified foods and/or nutritional supplements. I think of nutritional supplements as a kind of dietary insurance policy: you might not need everything that they contain, but they are unlikely to do you any harm and they might save you from the often considerable harm of a nutrient deficiency.

Thus, like all diets, vegetarian and vegan diets should be well-planned, although in practice this usually means nothing more than eating a variety of nutritious, mainly whole or minimally-processed foods together with some fortified foods and nutritional supplements where appropriate. There is no reason why a vegetarian or vegan diet cannot be as varied, nutritious and enjoyable as any other diet, irrespective of age and circumstance. To quote from the 2009 position paper on vegetarian diets of the American Dietetic Association: ‘Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes’ (J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:1266-1282). The same comment could apply equally to well-planned vegan diets.”

Paul Appleby

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