Going vegan can still make for a nutritious diet - Pekin Daily Times

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President Bill Clinton did it after having heart trouble. "The Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper and actress Olivia Wilde do it, and they were named sexiest at it. Actor Tobey Maguire managed to keep doing it and still bulk up to play Spider-Man.

All are famous vegans, forgoing not only meat but any food produced by an animal, which means no eggs or dairy. Vegans are part of the big vegetarian family, but they are the strictest of the group.

Veganism is a simpler way of life in an urban environment. In major cities or college towns, there are restaurants devoted to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. But how does one manage it in a smaller town?

"If you cook for yourself, it's easy," said Charles Hershey a vegan and president of the Springfield (Ill.) Vegetarian Association. "If you're eating out, it is more challenging."

Hershey, who adopted veganism in 1978, said that Chipotle, Noodles & Company, a Taste of Thai and Gateway to India also make it easy to be vegan.

"In general, ethnic restaurants are the way to go," he said.

Veganism, according to numerous vegan-advocacy websites, is as much a state of mind or philosophy of life as it is a diet plan. Most vegans also strive to eliminate animal products from their clothes and homes as well as their diet.

Meat and dairy are prime sources of protein and calcium in many peoples' diets, so those substances must be replaced on a vegan diet.

Here is how vegans go about doing just that:

  • Protein:Legumes, grains and nuts are also prime sources of protein, as is tofu. Maguire, when he bulked up to play Spider-Man, supposedly consumed quite a bit of tofu. (He was named the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals sexiest male vegetarian in 2002, along with Natalie Portman.)
  • Calcium:Soy or rice milk is the primary dairy substitute, and it can be fortified with calcium. Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens and okra also have calcium, as does the magical tofu.
  • B12:This vitamin helps the nervous system, and insufficient amounts may lead to heart disease, which would tend to counterbalance the lowered cholesterol and fatty foods. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with B12, but several vegan-advocacy websites suggest taking a B12 supplement, claiming B12 as the only nutrient not easily obtained on a vegan diet.

The vegan-advocacy websites suggest that you consult with a doctor or a nutritionist before embarking on a vegan diet. And although some sites say it is possible to raise a child on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is recommended that you consult the child's physician first to ensure they are getting the proper nutrients.

But say your child decides of his or her own volition to go vegan. How exactly do you, say, make them a birthday cake?

According to the website vegetarianvegan.com, here is how you substitute the ingredients of a typical cake:

  • Replace the eggs with something called "Ener-G Egg Replacers," which can be found at grocery stores.
  • Replace the milk with soy or rice milk.
  • Instead of white sugar, which is often bleached with animal bone char, use unbleached sugar or cane sugar.
  • Use margarine instead of butter.
  • Use non-dairy frosting.

Hershey said vegans should be careful in some restaurants that purport to offer vegan dishes even though they use meat stock or oyster or fish in the sauces.

Hershey lauded Noodles & Company as an example of a restaurant that understands its vegetarian/vegan population.

"They have information available," he said. "They define what they mean by vegetarian or vegan, and you know what you have to order and how to order it to meet each of those criteria.

"That kind of thing is becoming more common. Many people, probably most food servers, have heard the term vegan and have a sense of what it means."

Different types

  • Vegetarian: The common term for someone who doesn't eat meat, but the proper term is actually Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian, meaning they also consume eggs and milk.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: No eggs, but milk is OK.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: No milk, but eggs are OK.
  • Pesco-vegetarian: A vegetarian when it comes to land animals, but fish are fair game. Also usually consumes milk and eggs. President Clinton, according to a CNN interview, actually has a bit of fish with his diet.
  • Vegan: No animals or animal by-products. No eggs or dairy for sure, and depending on the dedication of a person, no yeast or honey as well.

-- Be Healthy Springfield (Ill.)

01 Oct, 2011

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGBbgFL_Hc6aXQp7XoWEcZt9n0SYg&url=http://www.pekintimes.com/lifestyle/food/x1461788120/Going-vegan-can-still-make-for-a-nutritious-diet
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