Roten Explores the Vegan Diet


Lexee Decman

Veganism is arguably one of the most controversial diets in the health community at the moment. Some of the people who follow the vegan diet, many of them celebrities, swear the diet changed their lives. Others believe it is an unnatural way to eat. With one search on Google, over 430 million results pop up. The results demonstrate a dividing line on what people believe is ethically right for the environment as well as what is appropriate to be consumed.
“I first heard about veganism on television a few years ago, and I had no idea what it was. I had heard of being a vegetarian or pescetarian, so I just assumed that vegan was short for vegetarian,” said senior Lauren Roten.
Veganism is, by definition, a person who does not eat or use animal products. There are two main types of vegans within the community- ethical and health based. Ethical veganism is when a person not only follows a vegan diet, but also applies that mindset to their everyday lives. They completely avoid any animal products, which includes fur coats and animal- tested products. Health based vegans use the diet in order to improve their physical health, instead of for a moral reason. Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure, cholesterol, lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer, leading many to attempt the diet.
“When I originally started looking into veganism, I almost turned away from the idea completely. The first article I opened talked about how the diet is bad for you because of all of the supplements needed to maintain your health. When I looked further, I realized how natural many of these supplements truly are,” said Roten.
One of the biggest arguments to come out surrounding veganism is whether it is healthy or not to practice a diet that almost requires supplements in order to receive all of the necessary nutrients. Three of the most common supplements vegans take are vitamin B-12, vitamin D and iodine. Vitamin B-12 is found in organic produce, nutritional yeast and mushrooms grown in B-12 rich soil. This means that it is possible to get enough of the nutrient without a supplement, but it is possible for someone’s diet to not contain enough of this. Vitamin D is found in very few foods, which makes it a problem for vegans and omnivores to get enough of it without being in the sun. High concentrations of iodine are found in iodized salt, seafood, seaweed and some dairy products. Half a teaspoon of iodized salt each day would be sufficient, but some opt to take a supplement instead. Because of these alternative options, supplements are not necessarily required to maintain a vegan diet.
“I do not take any supplements. I plan what I eat at the beginning of each week to ensure that I am putting the right amount of each food group in my body so that I stay healthy. It is a relatively easy diet to maintain as long as you commit to restrictions and are willing to put in the time,” said Roten.