The healthier alternative: why going vegan is good

Dr Shikha Sharma

Vegetarianism is not just a food choice, it is a philosophy. For those who care about the harm their meals cause living beings, perhaps veganism is the way to go.

Vegans do not eat any product for which any sentient being has been exploited or hurt. They do not consume meat, poultry, foods of animal origin like honey and eggs, dairy and milk by-products. They don’t even use products made from animal parts like hide.

Vegan eating patterns are safe for all age groups, including pregnant and lactating mothers. However, it is advisable to supplement the diet with Vitamin B12, zinc, chlorine and omega 3 fatty acids.

Your diet determines the acid-base balance of your stomach and a vegan diet is the closest to keeping it stable.
Alkaline v/s acidic
The normal acid-base balance of the body should be 7.4 pH. According to naturopathy, our body is healthy when it is alkaline and unhealthy when it is acidic. When the body becomes acidic, it starts retaining water, accumulates fat and gets toxic.

The body is then prone to sluggishness and infection. Too much meat makes the body acidic and slows the metabolism, which can lead to kidney and liver stones, and hair loss. It is easier for an alkaline body to lose excess weight. So eat more soup, fruit, coconut water and vegetables.

Why Alkaline helps
The body during digestion and repair creates toxic waste products. This toxicity can lead to calcium loss, weak bones, muscle fatigue and accelerated ageing. It can also trigger cancer and osteoporosis. This is why many athletes try veganism as a form of specialised nutrition to improve their performance. Even though a non-vegetarian diet is high in protein, iron and calcium, a vegan diet plan compensates for it by consuming these foods: sprouts (protein + minerals), tofu (protein + minerals) and quinoa grain (protein). Mix kelp and spirulina to get super-oxidants, iron and vitamins.

Even though a vegetarian diet is healthy, many people make these common errors...
1. Eating fried foods.
2. Consuming refined foods and fast foods like namkeen, bhujiya, papad and pickle which lead to weight gain.

3.  Too much sugar in tea, coffee.

4. If vegetarians can avoid or minimise these habits, they can escape many common lifestyle disorders.

From HT Brunch, May 25

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