In recent years, more and more plant-based products have entered the market to meet the increasing demand. Various market research shows that plant-based eating is no longer a hype, but really a keeper. But what exactly is “vegan”? And who is choosing a plant-based lifestyle?
Vegan: the definition
Vegan is a derivative of “veganism” which is a way of life. In this lifestyle the use of animal products is avoided. This is not just about not eating animal products, but the use of animal products in the broadest sense of the word. So also no products that have an animal origin (for example, leather) or are manufactured by animals such as dairy, eggs and honey (source: Wikipedia).
In most cases, the term “vegan” means food that has a 100% vegetable origin and which also requires no animal products during production.
What can you eat?
The basis of a vegan diet consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, potatoes and legumes. In the right amounts and combinations you can put together a complete diet with these products and you will not lack anything such as vitamins, fiber (1). This sounds super healthy, but as a vegan there are lots of options to eat unhealthy snacks :vegan tapas are available or a bag of chips is often also vegan.
In addition, due to current developments and innovations in the field of nutrition, you can find a 100% vegetable variant of almost everything. You will probably first think of meat and dairy substitutes, but how about vegan licorice and gummi bears? Usually gelatin, made from pig bones and skin, is used in the production process and therefore not vegan.
Reasons to eat vegan
So many people, so many reasons to eat vegan or to replace more and more aspects of the diet with 100% plant-based products.
Various studies show that people who follow a 100% plant-based diet have a lower risk of heart problems or the development of type 2 diabetes. The risk of Alzheimer’s also decreases. More research will be needed to really confirm this, as dietary research always involves more than just eating. Environmental factors, hereditary factors, etc. also have their influence.
Some people is firmly convinced that everything that lives has the same right to life and freedom, and therefore also animals. They are against the use of animals for consumption, but also against the use of animals for entertainment, such as circuses and zoos.
The demand for plant-based products has increased in recent years due to the awareness of the environmental impact of the meat industry. The production of 1 kg. beef requires a relatively large amount of water, land and grain than if you were to consume the grain directly.
By eating less meat and using vegetable alternatives more often, people want to reduce their own “carbon foodprint”.
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