Vegans and the diet that they follow are considered to be very unsafe in some circles, but in reality there is very little actual evidence to back up this claim.
The only real danger from this type of diet is the vitamins and minerals that are lost by not eating certain food groups.
However if these essential vitamins and minerals are taken in supplement form, this type of diet is considered to be extremely safe despite those that may criticize it.
These diets should not be confused with a vegetarian diet, for one very simple reason.
There are actually four different types of vegetarian diets; vegan diets, lacto-vegetarian diets, lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, as well as semi-vegetarian diets.
However, by far and away the best known are what vegans follow, which is the vegan diet.
A vegan diet will exclude meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as dairy products and any type of food that contains any of these products even in very small quantities.
Lacto-vegetarian diets will also exclude meat, fish, poultry, and eggs, as well as any food that contains these products, but dairy products are allowed.
This will include milk, cheese, yogurt, as well as butter. A Lacto-ovo diet is also slightly different as it will allow eggs and dairy products but will also exclude meat, fish, and poultry.
The last of the four forms, a semi-vegetarian diet, which is also referred to as a flexitarian diet.
This is made up of a primarily plant based diet but will allow for meat, poultry, fish, as well as eggs and dairy products on special occasions or in very small amounts.
People that follow any type of a vegetarian diet may do so for several reasons and all of them are personal and could include cultural or religious reasons, or in the case of most vegans, ethical reasons.
However, you may also select one of these types of diets for one of several health related reasons.
The largest of these being some type of a cardiovascular disease.
But whatever your reason is, the only thing that would ever be considered to be unsafe.
You either where unaware of the vitamins and minerals that you are not getting with this form of a diet, or if you were aware and totally ignored these facts.
This form of diet also face criticism from those that may not be armed with all of the facts and will suggest that this form of a diet is not safe for children or growing teenagers.
However perhaps the largest fear-mongering involves pregnant as well as breast feeding women.
This is also a misconception simply because as long as you are fully aware of the vitamins and minerals that need to be supplemented, there is no threat.
Vegans are considered to be quite independent in their thoughts or part of a very traditional society and the first of these societies were formed in the mid 1940’s in Britain.
The major reason for selecting this form of a diet is considered to be both philosophical as well as logical.
The thought process behind this is that certain food groups such as dairy products cannot be produced with any kind of effectiveness without slaughtering the cow eventually.
Although this may not make sense to some people, here is where the vegans’ logic will come into the picture.
In order for a cow to produce milk, it must first give birth to a calf and most of the calves from dairy cows are then raised only to eventually be slaughtered for their meat.
However, their logic will go one step further as dairy cows will also be slaughtered once they can no longer produce milk or can conceive.
This same logic is continued with all other animals or mammals and centers on killing them just to eat them.
These diets are perfectly safe if they are backed up and supplemented with both vitamins as well as minerals.
It is also a misconception that only vitamins are needed because the reality is that this it is evenly split between both nutrients.
The first of the essential nutrients is the mineral calcium which is absolutely critical for both building and maintaining strong bones as well as teeth.
The two major food groups for natural sources of calcium are milk as well as dairy products.
Turnip and collard greens as well as kale and broccoli are also very good sources of this mineral, as are cereals, soy milk, and tofu.
However in most cases you cannot get adequate quantities in your diet without supplements.
The argument that teens will be hurt without dairy products in their most important growing years is valid, but the reality is that teens often turn from dairy products to soda in these formative years.
As a result, a vegetarian diet with supplements may actually be safer in the long run.
The most important vitamin for this type of a diet is B-12, which is essential in the production of red blood cells as well as protecting against anemia.
Vitamin B-12 is found in animal products exclusively and a deficiency of this vitamin can very easily go undetected for years before damages begin to occur.
However, there is also one other major threat; vegetarian diets are very rich in folate which basically hides a deficiency of B-12 until very severe problems begin to surface.
The next critical nutrient is the mineral iodine which is a critical component of the thyroid hormones which help to control and regulate metabolism, growth, as well as preforming key roles in several organs.
These organs include the thyroid gland, the heart, as well as the brain.
When following this diet it will be very important to used iodized salt and just quarter teaspoon will give you all the iodine you need.
This is critical because most processed foods do not use iodized salt.
Vitamin D is also essential in bone development and it is synthesized in your skin by sunlight. If it is fortified and if you get enough exposure to sunlight, this will not be an issue.
The mineral iron is also essential in red blood cells, but it is not easily absorbed into your body from plant sources.
To help with this process, you must also include vitamin C in supplement form as well as eating citrus fruits, tomatoes, as well as cabbage and broccoli.
Omega 3-fatty acids are also essential for your heart, eyes, and brain and it is very easy to become deficient of these acids by not eating fish and eggs, and as a result, it also must be supplemented.
Vegans must also supplement the mineral zinc as it is also very difficult to absorb into your system by eating just plants sources.
It plays a very important role in cell division as well in the formation of proteins.
If you do select this form of diet, whatever your reason, supplementing these vitamins and minerals will be critical.
A liquid multivitamin taken once each day can supply all of these needs and make this diet extremely safe despite the critics.