Depression and Veganism
Vegan MealVeganism is at the very least a diet and at most a lifestyle that excludes the consumption and use of products that involve animals. In terms of diet, vegans exclude the consumption of meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, honey, gelatin, whey and other animal products. The Vegan Society defines veganism as "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals.” They state that veganism is actually a principle and not a set of rules or guidelines. The specific practices are drawn from the principle mentioned above.1
The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.2
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Effect of Veganism on Depression
Changing one's diet in any form will inevitably have an effect on that person's overall health and well being. Depressed individuals looking to change their diet might consider becoming vegan for any number of reasons:
Many vegans (and vegetarians) maintain that they feel "healthier" and even "lighter" when they are not consuming animal products. Inherently by eliminating animal products, vegans have eliminated a lot of processed foods; and while consuming sugar does not go against the vegan diet (as it is not an animal product) many vegans avoid processed sugars as well. As discussed in the Depression and Diet section, a diet that includes many processed foods can contribute to depression. Therefore eliminating these processed foods, many people claim to rid themselves of their depression as well as many other ailments.
It is however important to keep in mind that by eliminating so many foods, vegans can easily become deficient in many important nutrients including omega 3s, amino acids (protein), vitamin b (especially b12), calcium, vitamin d, iron and tryptophan. Make sure you work with a practitioner who can tell you how to get these essential nutrients through plant products and/or supplements.
- "Memorandum of Association of the Vegan Society" (PDF). About Us. Vegan Society. 1979-11-20. pp. 1. Retrieved 2009-11-28. "In this Memorandum the word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment."