Here at nicobella, we are firm believers in both the ethical and nutritional benefits of the vegan lifestyle. We have tried our best to create chocolates that are deliciously healthy and in-line with our vegan values.
While a “vegan” label is not always synonymous with healthy, we all can benefit from including more plant-based foods into our diet. We realize that one specific way of eating is not suitable for everyone. Eating needs to be tailored to the individual. The key is finding what works for you. However, implementing more plant-based meals can only benefit your body, mind and spirit.
By definition a vegetarian is someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. Vegans go a step further by avoiding eggs and dairy. While some foods are obviously animal-origin others are not so obvious. Vegans avoid pasta made with eggs, chocolate made with cream, and many processed foods made with animal-based ingredients. Processed foods that are “omega enriched” for example are likely to contain fish oil. Gummy candies most likely contain gelatin, a product made from animal connective tissue. Also, on the non-vegan list is honey since it’s made from bees.
According to the American Dietetic Association, as of 2000, approximately 2.5% of the US adult population (4.8 million people) consistently followed a vegetarian diet and slightly less than 1% of those polled were vegans. However, thanks to passionate vegan celebrities, the diet has recently received a lot of positive press and there is more awareness among non-vegans. President Bill Clinton adopted the diet after undergoing emergency heart surgery. Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah have shown their support for the vegan lifestyle. Even Mike Tyson happily follows a vegan diet!
Although we would like to think that we would rely on science alone to tell us the healthiest way to eat, it all can be very confusing. One thing that we do know for sure is that currently the American population is not consuming enough plant-based foods on a daily basis. The foods that a majority of Americans are lacking are fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which are all big components of the vegan diet (fruit juice, French fries and pizza sauce don’t count!).
Over and over science has shown that vegans may be healthier than those who consume more meat. On average, vegans tend to be thinner than their omnivorous counterparts. Vegan diets have also been shown to lower serum cholesterol, lower blood pressure and ward off cancer.[i] The health benefits are due to the diets’ plant-based nature and reliance on plant-based protein foods such as nuts, seeds and legumes.
So, before you rule out a “vegan” food because you’re technically non-vegan, think again! Chances are your body will love the healthy boost.
And check out this cool (and huge!) list of veg-friendly celebrities!
Written by Katie Occhipinti, Nutrition Student, Tufts University School of Nutrition