What is Veganism, Anyway?

Dodgers, Kenley Jansen
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With more press, retail space and attention being devoted to veganism, it seems safe to say it's become more mainstream.

But for those still wondering what it means, exactly, to be vegan, and what kind of diet it entails, Glamour Magazine has a nice write-up on it this month -- including how much it can help with weight loss and how it impacts overall health.

Some basic takeaways:

Vegan vs. Vegeterian. "A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat animal flesh, whereas a vegan doesn’t eat anything that comes from an animal—even, say, dairy or eggs... But a vegan diet is not the same as the “raw” diet (in which foods aren’t heated beyond 118*F); plenty of cooked foods are just fine for vegans."

Why people choose to go vegan. Many become vegan because of animal-rights or environmental concerns, and others choose it for health benefits: "Research has suggested that vegans tend to be at healthier weights, with lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure than meat eaters—and some studies show that vegan diets may reduce the risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer."

You can lose weight on a vegan diet -- but only on a carefully balanced one. “'If by going vegan, you end up eating more veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans and lentils than you were before, then it can be a way to reduce calories without feeling like you are,'" one nutritionist tells Glamour. 'But I see a lot of junk-food vegans who overdo it with chips, vegan cookies and vegan candy.' Follow that kind of vegan diet and you could end up gaining."

If you're considering a vegan diet, head over to shine.yahoo.com for more on how to successfully incorporate it into your life.

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