And I’m adding one more article to it 😉 Not to add to the debate, far from that. Lately, I’ve been active on Quora and I noticed that there were many questions about veganism. They kept me busy for one or two hours sometimes, and I thought “Wow, people are really interested”. Of course, there are also some questions that do not make sense or that are made to incite controversy or strife. I also noticed some hateful responses from non-vegans, which saddened me (and which I blissfully ignored).
So, after going through all these questions on Quora, responding to them, and reading other people’s responses, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article to clear up some doubts and to answer questions that perhaps linger in some people’s minds. Who knows? If some people post these questions online, then others may have those doubts too. So, let’s address them, one by one.
Before we begin, it’s probably important to tell you that I am no doctor or nutritionist. I have been vegan for 12 years. Before I became vegan I was a vegetarian for 7 years. Throughout this journey I have learned a lot about nutrition, and I have noticed the changes in my body and general health. I didn’t become vegan for health reasons, I did it because of the animal cruelty. The health benefits, however, are a wonderful bonus for which I am very grateful.
All my observations are based on research, books, and my own experiences.
Some of the Questions I saw on Quora
- Do vegans age slower?
- Are vegans orthorexic?
- Do vegans halt global warming?
- Why are vegans/vegetarians so annoyingly preachy about their lifestyle?
There were a lot more questions, but I’ll stick to these four for now. With that, we have enough to talk about 😉
Questions and Answers – Here We Go
Do Vegans Age Slower?
Well, it all depends. Diet has a lot to do with your appearance, but so do genes and lifestyle. There is, however, a lot to say about what we eat and ultimately put into our bodies, and the effect it has on us.
Regarding the aging process, there are contradictory reports. Some bloggers claim that vegans age faster, and others show that it is completely the opposite. Let’s explore both theories.
1. Vegans age faster
- The theory here is that vegans lack a lot of fatty acids that come from meats and dairy. This lack therefore will cause saggy skin.
- Lack of omega 3
- “vegans replace meat and dairy with bread, starches, and meat-substitutes”, diets that are acidic and high in sugar, leading to high blood sugar levels
- Avocados are a health power bomb, which also happen to contain fatty acids. Seaweed, algae, edamame, flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and kidney beans are some other good plant-based fatty acid sources. My skin is great, by the way 😉 I have no complaints.
- Plant-based omega 3 sources are the following: flax seeds, chia seeds, edamame, walnuts, avocado, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, winter squash. So, I see no lack of omega 3, unless someone doesn’t balance their diet, but I think we all know plenty of people (vegans or non-vegans) who don’t always have the healthiest way of eating)
3. When someone goes vegan, the priority should not be about replacing meat and dairy, but having a healthy, balanced diet. That counts for any type of diet, not just the vegan one. Vegan diets are not highly acidic or high in sugar, quite on the contrary. Of course, one can never generalize, and I’m sure that there are vegans who eat a lot of sugar just as there are meat eaters who eat a lot of sugar.
Regarding the claim that a vegan diet could increase acidic levels, I strongly disagree with that. It is known that a Western diet – which includes meat, dairy, fast food, and high sugar intake – increases the acidic levels in the human body which in turn makes it more vulnerable to diseases. A plant-based diet is mostly alkaline. Citrus fruits increase alkalinity. So do green vegetables, onion, garlic, parsley, and herbal teas. Green tea also works wonders for the skin!
I eat meat-substitutes from time to time, like once a week, sometimes even once in two weeks. I never even thought of replacing meat when I became vegan. I just thought of adapting my ingredients lists for cooking.
Replacing dairy is no issue either. Cutting out dairy will actually lead to better skin, and better skin leads to slower aging, doesn’t it? 🙂
2. Vegans age slower
Turmeric is a super food which contains curcumin, a compound that is known to prevent Alzheimers, heart disease, and even cancer. When you start your plant-based health journey, you will notice that after a while your body’s cravings will change. It did for me. I craved different foods, healthier ones. My body – now that it was getting better fuel – started demanding the continued supply of this better fuel.
Citrus foods, safflower oil, walnuts, spinach, sweet potato, and even dark chocolate (not in excess though 😉 ) have anti-aging properties. You can find the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes which protects your skin from age-inducing free radicals.
Vitamin C is found in citrus foods and sweet potatoes (and there are more vitamin C plant sources: strawberries, pineapple, etc). This vitamin is a nutrient that bolsters collagen in your skin. Walnuts lower your cholesterol and keep your arteries clear.
A healthy body = healthy skin
I could write more, but I think that this is enough to show that one can’t really claim that vegans age faster. And, as I said before, there’s also the matter of genes and lifestyle (do you have a very stressful life? Are you constantly exposed to the sun? etc)
Are Vegans Orthorexic?
Basically, I would say no. You can never generalize. People adopt a vegan lifestyle or a plant-based diet for different reasons. Some of the reasons are:
- Animal cruelty
- Egg and dairy industries also cause immense suffering and pain
- Extinction of species and war on wildlife, due to destruction of more and more habitat to create more animal meat factories
I think these are the main reasons. You see, they are different for everyone. So, I would say, no, vegans are not orthorexic. Perhaps the ones who became vegan for health reasons may have some orthorexic members, but I think it is always wrong to generalize.
Do Vegans Halt Global Warming?
I wrote about this topic in a previous article. There is definitely a connection between the way we eat and our environment. We are all aware of the destruction of wild habitats to sate the demand for meat products. Sadly, as long as there is demand, the supply will be provided, and business goes at any cost. The environment is paying a high price, there’s no denying that. Please see my article, 10 Fun Facts About Vegans, point 3 and 4, for more information.
Why are vegans/vegetarians so annoyingly preachy about their lifestyle?
This is one question I didn’t answer on Quora, although I hear those comments a lot. There was, however, a brilliant answer on Quora, which I will share here and which reflects my thoughts on this. The commenter makes a good point when she mentions that there are many vegans who keep to themselves. You wouldn’t even know they’re vegan unless you’d ask them. Every group though (and that goes for any group, vegans, religious groups, political, etc) has some obnoxious – and annoying – individuals who end up giving the rest of the quieter members that same negative tag.
On the other hand, since 2007, when I became vegan, I have had to put up with many repetitive remarks, being laughed at, challenged into discussions I really didn’t want to have (over the years I learned to get out of those), getting those endless, unlikely scenario questions “what if you were stuck on a desert island”, and so on … It has made me wonder … (not about the desert island 😉 but perhaps it’s something to think about, for those days when I’m lost on an island with a pig. I could maybe follow the pig and see where he leads me, he’ll probably find something edible 😉 )
So, over the last years, I have mostly kept quiet about my vegan lifestyle, to avoid confrontation. I only mentioned it if I was invited for a meal, but in general I tried to steer clear from leading the topic to my being a vegan. I must say though that over the last two years I have seen much more positive reactions. I have experienced less aggression towards it and more interest. Now, I hear more congratulatory comments instead of the old challenges, and that warms my heart. Not because I am craving some applause 😉 but because it means that more people want to know about a vegan lifestyle and/or diet. And that is wonderful 🙂
Well, now I obviously started a blog and I’m not so quiet about it anymore, lol, talking about vegans, veganism, sharing recipes and tips all the time 😉 , but this is my way of helping newbie vegans or anyone who is interested in learning more or beginning a vegan journey.
And if you’d like to know more, please let me know 🙂 I could perhaps tackle some more Quora questions in another post.
Quote by Peter Egan
“All religions encourage us towards a gentler, more compassionate existence. I believe in love and respect for all. I can’t think of a kinder, gentler life than that which wishes to preserve our planet and all the species that inhabit it.”