Is Being Vegan Healthy?

Categories Featured, Health
is being vegan healthy

Hi guys, as I’m sure many of you will know, I like to talk about the word balance a lot when it comes to our diets. I’ve done a few posts in the past mentioning that eating healthy food doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the full picture of health yourself. And that’s especially important when talking about a vegan diet. So, is being vegan healthy?

There are so many mixed opinions on this on the internet. When you tell people you’re vegan, or thinking about going vegan, one of the first things you’ll hear is ‘what about protein/ iron/ *insert vitamin of choice here*?’

While it’s true that you can develop deficiencies on a vegan diet if you’re not careful about your food intake, you also gain a lot. Afterall, if you’re eating a healthy and balanced vegan diet, you’re getting vitamins and minerals in abundance. All the fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of whole grains, nuts and seeds, it has to be good for you, right?

As I’m sure many of you will know, I follow a vegan diet and have done for a little over three years now. I certainly think my body is healthier for making that change. I eat better, sleep better, my digestion is better. But, after three years, there’s plenty of time for deficiencies to creep in.

Vegan deficiencies

Despite the myths you may have read online, there aren’t that many common vegan deficiencies. For example, did you know you’re more likely to have low iron as a vegetarian than a vegan? Lots of beans and pulses are high in iron, which are ingredients vegans commonly use to ‘replace’ meat in their meals. Vegetarians, on the other hand, typically eat more cheese as a replacement. Dairy doesn’t contain iron, making a vegetarian more likely to develop anaemia than a vegan. On the flip side of course, vegans are more likely to have low calcium or vitamin D.

Common vegan deficiencies

  • Ferritin – Ferritin is an iron store in your liver, different to regular iron deficiency
  • B12 – the only vitamin you can’t get naturally on a vegan diet
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron

As you guys know, I have had quite the history with my periods and as a result of that, I’ve had a full vitamin profile and blood tests. This was beneficial for me, although it didn’t help me get any answers with my menstrual issues, it did inform me that a vegan diet wasn’t causing me any harm. No deficiencies for me, B12, calcium, iron, protein, vitamin D levels all comfortably within normal range. For those who aren’t quite so lucky to get tested for another reason on the NHS, there’s Healthlabs.

Who are HeathLabs and what do they do?

Healthlabs are a private wellness service who offer vegan vitamin testing. They offer a range of tests and services that test for different vitamin levels and deficiencies in our bodies. There are tests for people like me, who are already on a vegan diet. The basic vegan test covers 11 common deficiencies to check that you’re doing the right thing with your diet.

As well as tests for people who are already vegan, they offer tests for people who aren’t vegan. They see whether you have any allergies to animal derived ingredients and determine whether your body would benefit from a vegan diet.

How it works

Sadly, Healthlabs are currently only available in the US, but for my US followers they offer affordable testing all over the country. They have 4000 certified labs across the country where you can have your tests done. They only take 10 minutes and you don’t need to attend a doctor’s office or hospital.

Their services start at $149 and go up to $399. For those of you wanting a bargain, you can get 25% off their vegan testing using the code ‘GLOW25’.

I think the services they offer are great for anyone curious about changing their lifestyle or just wanting to check in with how healthy they are. I’m very fortunate to have been able to check in with my own health on the NHS, but this is definitely something I would be interested in if I wasn’t so privileged.

I’m aware that many people aren’t vegan, but do consciously reduce their animal intake by doing things such as meatless Mondays or go vegetarian or pescatarian with a vegan day or two a week. These tests would be a great way to check in and gauge how that’s going.

I would love to know how you eat! Is veganism something you’re interested in or do you make smaller changes in your day-to-day? Is nutrition testing something you’d be interested in? Let me know!

Until next time,

Sophie

This post is sponsored by Healthlabs*

31 thoughts on “Is Being Vegan Healthy?

  1. I have read so many contradicting opinions online either. A vegan friends said she had to take supplements but otherwise she was very healthy. I would just be concerned of the cost though. Is being vegan more expensive?

    1. It’s so much cheaper for me! Certain ‘superfood’ kind of things are expensive but the basics are way cheaper than meat. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there! x

  2. I completely agree that’s it’s all about balance. I generally feel pretty healthy as a vegan but definitely notice the difference if I have a few days of eating more rubbish and less fresh fruit and veg than usual… 🙂

  3. This was such an interesting and informative post! I’ve thought a few times about going Vegan and the benefits of it, I’ve just always felt like I needed to know more about it so this is great. At the moment I’m just trying to eat a little better and make small changes where I can! X

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  4. This is really interesting to read and good to know all your levels are within the normal range. I’m mainly veggie but do eat fish a few times a week. Getting tested is great advice and would be reassuring to know everything is normal. Thanks for sharing Sophie <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  5. This is such a useful resource for people thinking about converting to veganism! I thought it was really interesting that vegetarians are more likely to be iron deficient!

    Jas xx

  6. I love all your vegan recipes, Sophie, they always look so delicious and healthy. And this is very interesting post, I didn’t know about the iron. I don’t think veganism is for me though, we’re all confirmed meat enthusiasts in my family, especially Flora, who would probably leave home without her Sunday roasts! xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  7. This is such an interesting post! Veganism is something I’ve always considered trying in the short term to see how I get on with it but it’s amazing to read such a comprehensive break down of the myths that surround it. I feel like in a way because it’s still a new mainstream diet people are dubious of its benefits but it’s post like this that break down the barriers and just create so much more understanding about it all! Loved this post so much!x

    beesytimes.co.uk

  8. I’ve heard people so many times make comments like ‘no wonder Vegans are so thin they can hardly eat anything’ but after reading your recipes I know there are so many options for you especially in today’s society when these diet choices are a lot more common! I never knew about the deficiencies you can get from it though so this would be a great option if we didn’t have the NHS!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

  9. I found this such a good read, I did used to think that a vegan diet was super healthy and didn’t think about any of the bad sides to it, my friend who is vegan advises how you can still eat unhealthy but there are easy ways to get in the vitamins! 🙂

  10. Really informative thank you! My boyfriend is vegetarian and although I haven’t completely taken meat out of my diet I do now follow a mostly vegetarian diet and feel good for it. Being vegan is something we’re interested in so this is really helpful! Thanks for sharing x

  11. I don’t think I could manage being a vegan myself, but I respect anyone who is. I do love experimenting and making vegan recipes or finding vegan staples once in a while. Cooking is a fun thing after all 🙂 Really informative article!

  12. This is an informative and interesting post! I didn’t know that vegans might risk Vitamin D or Calcium deficiency. I know of vegetarians who eat banana flowers (blossoms), unripe bananas, and stem of banana tree (In India, we have some yummy recipes with these ingredients!) to fulfill their iron intake. I am not a vegetarian but I really enjoy some of the delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes. Great post, Sophie!

    Love,
    Anjali
    https://www.laughingmirror.com/

  13. It’s so important to have balance! Technically you can be vegan, eat too much rice, and be considered unhealthy because of that imbalance (too much carbs, where’s the protein?).

    I like that you bring up a lot of valid points and ways to overcome them. Glad your nutrients are within a healthy range! It’s great that you’re being proactive and getting yourself checked out to keep your health on track. I really like that you inspire me to be a bit more mindful of my eating habits. Thanks for sharing your experience ♥

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  14. Interesting post! I work in the fitness industry alongside my blog so I get an insight in to many diets. I don’t deal with many vegan clients so this was an awesome insight! Cool post, thanks for sharing!

  15. This is interesting. I remember that when my friend was on her first vegan trial, after 3 months she made a run to buy some fish. She was craving fish so badly she said. Couldn’t explain it. Maybe it was something that she needed in her diet and wasn’t sure what?
    Right now she seems to be doing a lot better with the current vegan diet. I bet she’s made some adaptments. I think with any diet balance is so important. To mind that you get everything your body needs. I bet it can get a bit overwhelming too. But i’ve heard many positives about being vegan. It’s great to have a lifestyle that makes you feel good and that you get behind 100 %

  16. All diets and ways of eating have their drawbacks as well as their benefits I think and since everyone is differant and responds differently the some experimenting might be in order to find out what works for each particular person! It sounds like being vegan has been great for you and vitamin testing is probably something we should all consider no matter how we eat, I imagine deficiencies can show up in any diet!

  17. Really liked your post. The Internet needs more plain and simple information like this post to reach people with all kind of lifestyles. I’m a vegan myself and I am surrounded by non-vegan family members and friends who are worried about my health. I’m pretty healthy but, in the meantime, several of them have high cholesterol, gout, hypertension or acne problems. It’s surprising how people only question a diet when it doesn’t belong to the mainstreaming trend. Personally, I’d rather have a B12 supplement than statins or vasodilators.

  18. Ah such an interesting post though! I used to be a vegan in the past but I’m a non-vegetarian now! And yea couldn’t agree more with how imp it’s to keep balance no matter what you eat veg or non-veg, balance is the key! I believe veg provides us all the required nutrition we need! All that is required, we need prepare and eat the rights foods in veg that can provide the required nutrition!

    Xoxo Babita
    http://travelhues.com/

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