Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and a notoriously “Happy Vegan”, recently shared a snap on Instagram of a deliciously healthy vegan burger while promoting the virtues of veganism and plant-based diets:
“unclerushPlant based lunch. No collesterol (sp) just protein I would add chili to my cheeseburgers. -#GoVegan #HappyVegan The happy vegan learn how to go vegan and save your karma your money and your life All proceeds from book go to charity”
The post received over 1,500 likes in just under 24 hours by the vegan-friendly (and the vegan-searching) alike—proving that Simmons is on to something.
How to Go Vegan
A nutritional update for physicians on plant-based diets was recently published in The Permanente Journal. The update was created over concerns about the rising cost of health care, and because (according to the report) unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The report suggests that healthy eating can best be achieved through a plant-based diet (i.e. whole, plant-based foods) that is limited in dairy products, meat, and processed foods.
Study researchers concluded that plant-based diets are not only cost-effective and low-risk, they can help reduce a patient’s cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body mass index. The report further advises doctors to consider recommending plant-based diets to their patients to help them reduce the number of medications they take to treat chronic conditions.
Plant-based diets should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, including beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains; animal products, oils, added fats, and processed carbohydrates should be limited.
Vegan Diet Risks
Keep in mind that there are risks when it comes to a vegan diet, most specifically, nutrient deficiencies. Deficiencies could include iron, calcium, protein, or even vitamin B12. Since meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are high in vitamin B12, and vegans don’t eat animal products, it is important to see your doctor on a regular basis and have blood work done to check for vitamin deficiencies.
More Americans seem to be catching on to this type of lifestyle. According to USDA research (gathered from 2005- 2010) adults in the U.S. are eating healthier, paying closer attention to nutrition information, eating more fiber and consuming less cholesterol.
Now that’s something to be a happy vegan about.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Tuso, P.J., et al., “Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets,” The Permanente Journal, 2013; 17(2): 61–66; doi: 10.7812/TPP/12-085.
“American Adults are Choosing Healthier Foods, Consuming Healthier Diets,” USDA.gov, last modified January 16, 2014; http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2014/01/0008.xml.