Going Vegan: Is It A Guarantee For A Healthy Life?

Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor

Switching to a vegan diet from a typical Western diet can be a huge step for many of us, especially given the number of dietary changes that it entails. Some may decide to do this for ecological reasons, while others for the purpose of leading a healthier life. Can it really make you healthier, though?

The drive to become vegan, besides animal welfare and the environment, could stem from seeking personal health benefits. These days, going vegan has become easier as more people have better access to vegan food sources.

A large meta-analysis of 96 studies on being vegan published by Italian authors showed that indeed, going vegan may lead to a healthier life and a significant reduced risk of cancer. Several studies have shown that veganism may result in a higher intake of beneficial phytochemical compounds, such as polyphenols.

According to the American Dietetic Association, a properly planned vegan diet that doesn’t lead to nutrient deficiencies may provide benefits in the reduction of disease risk.

And based on more recent research, there is a higher probability of increasing life expectancy from consuming plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. However, there is still ongoing research investigating the effects of other dietary approaches and how they compare to veganism in different populations.

What Kind Of Vegan Are You?

Becoming vegan, in the strictest sense of the word, means that you will not eat any of the following foods:

• Red meat
• Poultry meat (e.g. chicken and turkey)
• Eggs
• Fish
• Seafood
• Dairy (e.g. milk, cheese, and yogurt)
• Honey
• Other products derived from animals such as gelatine

However, there are different dietary patterns that may fall under the vegan category, for example:

• A healthful plant-based diet that emphasizes the intake of “healthful” plant foods such as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, and without vegan “junk food” intake

• An unhealthful diet which emphasizes the consumption of “less healthy” vegan food sources such as fried foods or high-fat, high-sugar bakery and desserts

The Truth About The Vegan Diet

As we’ve just seen, going vegan in a way that emphasis plant foods and that doesn’t lead to nutrient deficiencies may carry some health benefits. However, it doesn’t always GUARANTEE good health. That said, the diet must still be carefully planned in order for you to get the most out of it.

One of the most important things for vegans is that they should still seek to get all the key nutrients that the body needs such as:

• All essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein)
• Both essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6
• All essential vitamins
• All essential minerals

This is why it is important to devise a proper vegan diet plan and have it in place before you start implementing the diet…

… because, if not, it could lead to…

The Risks Of The Vegan Diet

The main risks associated with this diet mainly revolve around the insufficient intake of certain nutrients. This is important, because several health conditions may develop due to long-term nutrient deficiencies. That’s why it is recommended that vegans pay attention to avoid this from happening. At the end of the day, there’s always room to become an even better vegan!

In A Nutshell:

The effectiveness of going vegan largely depends on how properly planned your diet is. Indeed, a vegan diet that focuses on plant-based foods, reduces the intake of vegan “junk foods”, and addresses nutrient deficiency risks based on your unique requirements may indeed help some individuals to enjoy a better health.

Advanced Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor

What If You Don’t Go To University

It’s August, which means it’s that time of the year again: A Level Results Day.

And whether it’s your friends or your grandma, there’s one question on everyone’s lips…

Are you going to university?

You might be heading back from college to the tune of ‘Did you get the grades?’

Or maybe you never wanted to go to uni in the first place.

Whichever boat you’re in; what happens when your friends are prepping for freshers’ week, but you’re not?

No fear – we’re here to help! The first thing you need to consider is:

Are you sure about your decision?

It’s difficult to aim for your goals if you don’t know what they are, or how to reach them. This means that if you have a particular career in mind, you might want to see a careers advisor or thoroughly research alternative routes into the field you’re passionate about before making a final decision.

But then what? Well, first, it’s important to know…

There are a ton of careers that don’t require a university degree

It’s true! You may have considered some of these options: hairdressing, beauty, personal training.

But those aren’t the only choices – many careers have a variety of pathways into them, from accountancy, to journalism, to nutritional therapy.

Read on to see what you can do instead of going to university:

Take a Gap Year

Fondly known as the ‘gap yah’ among millennials, many teens take a year out to decide what they want to do before continuing their education. This often takes the form of travelling, learning a language, and gaining lots of experience of different cultures – but it can also involve volunteering in a mix of industries to help you make a more informed decision about your future. While this kind of break provides a temporary solution, it’s common for people to head back to school once they complete their gap year, but many teens also open doors to careers they never knew existed!

(Pssst… Looking for the latest work experience opportunities? GoThinkBig is a good place to start).

Find an Apprenticeship

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to get straight into work AND gain a qualification while you earn. From farming, to hospitality, to law, you can choose your apprenticeship from a huge selection of fields and levels, from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Level 6/7 (degree equivalent). Depending on the level, an apprenticeship can take between 1 and 5 years to complete, but you’ll be learning loads of job-specific skills along the way.

If you’re in the UK, you can click here to find an apprenticeship.

Get an Entry-Level Job

While a large number of entry-level jobs will attract applications from students and recent graduates, many employers offer roles aimed at school-leavers – including training schemes. The obvious benefit of heading straight into work is that you’ll be earning right away.

A great way to find entry-level jobs is to keep an eye on websites that advertise vacancies in specific fields. Mediargh is a great example for media-related careers (publishing, science – whatever).

Become an Entrepreneur

Ever wanted to start your own business? Now might be your chance! This can be an exciting option for those not looking to go to university, but it’s wise to first consider the funding, support, and advice you’ll need along the way. If you’re in the UK, check out these government guidelines for new businesses.

For an extra boost when it comes to marketing your business effectively, check out Google’s Digital Garage for free digital marketing training.

Study for an Online Diploma

A huge barrier for many prospective students is the possibility of getting in over £50,000 of debt for a qualification in an area they’re not entirely sure about, or wasn’t necessary for their preferred career.

Whether you’re looking to boost your entrepreneurial endeavours, or you want to get a feel for a subject before jumping into a degree, an online diploma can be a great way to go! Loads of platforms offer you the chance to study via the web and many don’t require specialist technology, so you can get going with just a laptop and a cup of tea.

If it’s nutrition you’re into, we at The Health Sciences Academy® have a whole host of certifications and short courses for you to explore.

Nutrition not your thing? Not to worry – there are loads of other great providers out there. Check out Coursera and Lynda for an array of online courses on a variety of subjects.

They’re called options for a reason…

It’s important to remember that choosing to not go to university isn’t something that sets your career in a permanent direction. You may try one of the above and decide you want to go to uni after all! Perhaps you want some work experience, maybe you’re looking to boost your know-how before embarking on a degree, or you might even decide to do both an online course and an apprenticeship – the point is: the sky’s the limit.

What you’re doing this September doesn’t necessarily define the rest of your life, but it CAN boost it. Do what’s best for you and remember: it’s quite natural to need a little bit of extra time to work out where you want your career to go.

The Health Sciences Academy® is the UK’s largest online educator in nutrition science.

We are home to a variety of Level 5 online diplomas, in addition to a range of accredited short courses in nutrition topics – ready to help you ignite your career.

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Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritional Advisor