Once upon a ride in Paris...
Veganism is not just about avoiding meat and eggs at mealtime, but also about finding alternatives to dairy products and reading up the labels on cosmetics carefully.
The global trend is widely popular among fitness enthusiasts, nutritionists and restaurateurs in the UAE. A rapid increase in interest in plant-based foods, concerns about overall physical health, responsibility towards the environment, and conversations about the conditions in which animals are raised for food, have made veganism a global movement.
A fad or a real movement?
The newest ism in our vocabulary has left most people divided between a global health movement and a lifestyle trend that would fade away soon.
“I believe it’s a healthy movement that will last as the number of vegans has increased incredibly in the past five years. We are over seven billion people and we need to find an alternative and make some changes to protect our planet resources,” said Vincent Vandenabeele, founder, Saba, which offers a range of plant-based products in the UAE.
Today, more than eight per cent of the population is vegan. “Be it health benefits or environmental sustainability, we can’t ignore the necessity to reduce our animal products consumption.”
A vegan diet can aid weight loss, but that’s not why you should adopt it. If followed the right way, it can boost your energy levels and increase your metabolism, for you won’t be digesting animal fats.
Suzan Najem, clinical dietician, GluCare Integrated Diabetes Center, Dubai, said that when done the right way, vegan diets tend to be lower in saturated fat, higher in fibre intake, and other protective substances like phytochemicals and antioxidants. “Research has shown that a vegan diet could improve the outcomes of many chronic diseases and lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk for cardiovascular and heart disease. The high fibre intake in eating patterns has been associated with better blood sugar control in people with diabetes, which is extremely prevalent in the UAE.”
Planning to switch?
Irrespective of whether you are a meat-eater or a vegetarian, tread carefully and be ready to commit passionately when you decide to make a switch. Start slowly by incorporating grains and more plant-based foods into your diet.
“The path to veganism is something personal, it can happen only if you set your mind to it and be open-minded about it. I believe in the power of fresh and nutritious food as being the key cornerstone of healthy living. If you are a meat-eater, slowly eliminate that from your diet, then move onto minor changes as swapping from dairy milk to oat, almond or even coconut milk. Take it one step at a time and if you have the motivation and put your mind to it, you’d succeed,” said Caio Nabuco, co-founder, Tropicool, the official suppliers for the Brazilian brand’s assortment of super fruits, including the vegan-friendly açaí offering.
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