Veganuary takes its name from Veg e January (January) and is an initiative that aims to spread a culture and food awareness which aims to transform itself into a real lifestyle, respectful of the environment and the animal world. The challenge is to try a plant-based diet for 31 days, and maybe even later: last year they participated in the January vegan over a million people from all over the world: in the ranking of member countries, Italy has placed itself in seventh place with fifteen thousand adhesions and Milan was placed in sixth place among the cities. By subscribing to the website veganuary.com you receive various support information, including a series of advice on how to shop, an ad hoc recipe book and a series of proposals for daily menus.
Before putting yourself to the test in what appears to be a real challenge, you need to clarify some concepts. Even if a vegan diet has detox effects on our body and therefore can make us lose a few pounds, it is not a weight loss diet and it’s not about making us lose weight. It is rather a food style that is placed within a broader one vision of life, which aims to respect nature and the environment starting with the animal world. Even if this eating style is registering growing successes and the adhesion of numerous celebrities, it must be remembered that it is a regime still very controversial and criticized by numerous scientists because the complete abolition of entire groups of nutrients exposes to the high risk of nutritional deficiencies, with even serious damage to the body.
The first element to be clarified is the difference between vegetarian and vegan nutrition. The vegetarian diet provides for the exclusion of all types of meat, including white meat, fish, molluscs, crustaceans and products derived from it. If we admit the consumption of dairy products, eggs and honey, we speak of “latto-ovo-vegetarianesimo “(LOV), while if these foods are also excluded, we are in vegan regime (Veg), much more rigorous and devoid of all products of direct or indirect animal origin. As reported in the 2020 edition of the Eurispes Italy Report, 8.9% of Italians follow a meat-free diet: 6.7% are vegetarians, while 2.2% are vegan in the strict sense.
And motives why you decide to adhere to these eating styles is above all an ethical and healthy choice: you become vegan for reasons of health and well-being (23.2%), for love and respect for the animal world (22.2%). 17.2% of vegans / vegetarians declare that the food choice derives from a broader philosophy of life, although there is also a 9.1% who admits to having changed their eating style out of curiosity, challenge or to offer a contribution to environmental protection (5.1%).
As is known, the basics of vegan nutrition, according to the recommendations of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, of the Loma Linda University, e of the Department of Nutrition dell’Arizona State University, include the consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables, legumes, dried fruit and oil seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and flax), fats. Indispensable are the additions of calcium, Vitamin D, B vitamins, in particular B12, and fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6), to avoid deficiencies and imbalances, since they are not adequately supplied by the foods you eat at the table.
The benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet they concern in particular the health of the cardiovascular system, better control of blood pressure and diabetes and the prevention of some types of tumors. As we have said, however, there are also numerous specialists who highlight numerous elements of risk. Plant foods generally have a low calorie intake which may be insufficient to cover energy needs, especially in the growing age, during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Among the substances that may be insufficient, there are the aforementioned vitamins D and group B, but also iron, calcium and zinc, which in plant foods are less assimilable by the body. In short, if we want to take up the challenge of a vegan diet, it is essential to give up on do-it-yourself and be followed by a competent doctor.