Vegan Lifestyle

The vegan lifestyle is more than just a diet, it's a philosophy that extends beyond the plate, encompassing ethical, philosophical, and political principles. A vegan lifestyle is one that excludes all forms of animal products and by-products, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear and the cosmetics we use.

Understanding Veganism

A vegan diet is one that excludes all forms of animal products, including dairy, eggs, and honey, unlike the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet which allows these. However, the vegan lifestyle goes beyond diet, encompassing a broader lifestyle choice. It is driven by a commitment to avoid any form of cruelty towards the environment and all living beings.

There is a subcategory within the vegan lifestyle known as "vegitan," which adheres to the dietary choices of vegans but does not subscribe to their political, philosophical, or ethical principles.

The Benefits of Veganism

There are several reasons why the vegan lifestyle is increasingly gaining popularity, including sustainability, ethical considerations, and health benefits.


While no food production cycle is entirely sustainable, agriculture has less impact on the environment compared to livestock farming and fishing. However, some vegan recipes can be less sustainable due to high demand and the need for large-scale production.

Ethics and Religion

Some Eastern religions and philosophies completely abolish the consumption of animal products, making the transition to veganism almost automatic. Furthermore, many vegans choose this lifestyle for ethical reasons, respecting all forms of life, including animals.

Health Benefits

The vegan diet is rich in plant-based foods, which are typically low in saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and high in fiber, good fats, and antioxidants. This makes vegans less prone to overweight, some metabolic disorders, vascular complications, and certain types of cancer.

Moreover, the vegan diet is considered protective against diet-dependent colorectal cancers and has a positive impact on the intestinal microbiota, promoting a healthier gut flora.

The Importance of Careful Planning and Supplementation

The vegan, diet despite all the benefits, requires careful planning and possible supplementation to ensure all nutritional needs are met. This is particularly important when considering high levels of physical activity and the increased nutritional demands that come with it. Let's delve into why careful planning and supplementation might be necessary in a vegan diet:

Nutrient Considerations

  • Protein: While there are many plant-based sources of protein, vegans need to ensure they consume a variety of these sources to get all essential amino acids.
  • Vitamin B12: This is a critical nutrient found naturally only in animal products. Vegans must seek fortified foods or supplements to meet their B12 needs.
  • Iron: Plant-based iron (non-heme iron) is less efficiently absorbed by the body compared to iron from animal sources (heme iron). Including vitamin C-rich foods can enhance absorption.
  • Calcium: Essential for bone health, calcium is found in lower amounts in plant foods. Fortified plant milks and juices are good alternatives.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Typically found in fish, these essential fatty acids can be sourced from flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and algae-based supplements.

Energy Needs

Plant-based diets can be high in fiber and lower in calories, which is beneficial for weight management but can also make it challenging to meet energy needs, especially for those with high physical activity levels. Including energy-dense foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados can help.

Physical Activity Considerations

People with high levels of physical activity have increased nutritional demands. They require more protein, calories, and certain vitamins and minerals to support muscle recovery, energy production, and overall health.


  • Vitamin B12: Almost all vegans need to supplement this.
  • Vitamin D: If not enough sun exposure is received, a supplement might be necessary.
  • Iron and Zinc: Supplements may be needed, especially for individuals with higher requirements like athletes, pregnant women, and those with certain medical conditions.
  • Omega-3s: Algae-based omega-3 supplements can be beneficial.

Careful Meal Planning

It's important to plan meals that cover a variety of nutrients. This includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Also include fortified foods to provide nutrients that are less abundant in the vegan diet.


The vegan diet is sustainable and can offer numerous health benefits. However, it requires careful planning to ensure nutritional adequacy and may necessitate supplementation. It's also crucial to remember that while a vegan diet can contribute to health, overall lifestyle factors, such as physical activity and diet quality, are equally important.

Adopting a vegan lifestyle is a personal choice that can have significant impacts on one's health, the environment, and animal welfare. However, it's essential to make this choice with a full understanding of the potential challenges and benefits, and ideally under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

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The Wellyme Team

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