What It Means to be Vegan

Red-Apple-LipstickWhether or not you choose to subsist on a vegan diet, your Red Apple Lipstick makeup has already made the switch. Maybe you’re considering following suit, or perhaps you already do. Either way, we’re here to outline the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and answer common questions about what it all means.

What does it mean to be vegan? How does it differ from being a vegetarian?

Though there are variations, vegetarians generally do not eat meat, fish or poultry. In contrast, vegans don’t eat any animal byproducts, including milk or eggs. Vegan diets cut out gelatin, which comes from animal parts. Some even avoid more than just animal-derived foods and exclude leathers, wool, silk, and in our case—makeup.

What’s in it for me?

Some vegans choose their diet because of animal or environmental rights. While others choose to go vegan for health benefits. It has been shown that people on a vegan diet have a lower body weight on average than those who aren’t. It can also contribute to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Plus, it might reduce the risk of diabetes and even certain types of cancer. These are all seemingly great benefits, but this diet does come with some caution if you are looking to try it.

Are there drawbacks, besides cutting out burgers?

Yes. According to Walter Willett, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “Being vegan can be healthy, but it is not automatically so—it’s a matter of nutritional balance.” Many women who stop consuming animal foods end up sleepy, hungry and deficient in protein, iron and other essential vitamins, says Dr. Willett. “Vegans need to pay extra attention to what they’re eating to make sure they’re getting enough nutrients,” he says. This is important because many women might not stop to think about the implications of this type of diet. You can’t just ignore the things you cut out and never look back because that’s unhealthy.

So, does it really help you lose weight?

Many people switch to a vegan diet to drop pounds, but it’s not that simple. You have to plan carefully to get the vitamins you’re missing from meat and avoid eating vegan junk food in excess, of course. In some cases, certain foods are actually less caloric than their vegan counterparts. But on the other hand, according to Cynthia Sass, R.D, “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.”

I’m planning on trying a vegan diet. Where do I start?

The best advice is to plan carefully and be smart. Rather than simply cutting out all meat, you’ll have to rethink your whole diet. A quick trick, which will help you retain essential vitamins in your diet, is to replace beans and other legumes with your former serving of meat. You can get away with adding extra beans into your soup instead of beef or chicken.

Another tip: Soy can add protein to your diet where meat is absent. Sources of soy include: edamame, tofu and soy-based smoothies. Soy milk also gives you doses of vitamin D and calcium, nutrients found in many dairy products, but don’t consume more than three servings in one day. Some experts say it can actually be unhealthy in excessive quantities.

Another consideration: B12, a vitamin that allows your nerve cells to work properly, is found in fish, meat, eggs and dairy but not many other places. Walnuts and flaxseeds can help compensate for the loss of omega-3s, which are good for your heart. It also couldn’t hurt to take multivitamins as part of your vegan diet.

Incidentally, the majority of nutritionists and doctors do not actually adhere to a strict vegan diet as outlined above. Dr. Willet doesn’t himself. He says, “You don’t need to be a strict vegan to get the most of the benefits of a primarily plant-based diet. Adding modest amounts of eggs, dairy foods, fish and poultry can provide a diet that is just as healthy.”

Regardless of your beliefs and reasoning behind your diet habits, choices or restrictions, you can rest assured that Red Apple Lipstick products will always be vegan. You might not be, but that’s OK. We just don’t think animal parts belong in makeup.

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