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Aamir Khan turns vegan, but is it healthy?

Written by Poorva Chavan |Published : March 11, 2015 11:29 AM IST

According to a report in Mumbai Mirror dated 11 March, Bollywood perfectionist Aamir Khan has embarked on a new journey of vegan living. In his interview to the daily newspaper he revealed that this sudden decision of giving up meat, fish and dairy products stemmed from a video he watched on Youtube. His wife Kiran Rao has been a vegan for quite some time now and she recommended the video to him. This video highlights how 15 of the most common diseases can be prevented by diet. The video convinced him that vegans have an upper hand as compared to non-vegetarians and vegetarians. He also informed that turning vegan will only help him in his new role for a movie where his character is a vegetarian. Here are 10 reasons that will convince you to go vegan.

Vegans don't eat dairy products or anything of animal origin. He said he only misses dahi for now but is still enjoying his new lifestyle. Now, while Aamir is the among the few actors to follow a vegan diet in Bollywood, there will be many others who might follow him and it will soon become a trend. But will this trend actually do good to one's health?

A vegan diet not only eliminates dairy products and meat from your diet but also robs you of vitamin B12 and omega-3-fatty acids. These are not synthesised by our body and hence we need to provide our body with these from natural food sources. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to diseases like anaemia, nerve damage, heart disease and can cause complications during pregnancy. Omega-3-fatty acids are found in fish and are 'good' fatty acids, which control your cholesterol levels and help in maintaining heart health.

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Is vegan diet bad for your health?

No, vegan diet is not bad for your health, it actually enhances health. According to dietician Neha Chandna, a vegan diet is rich in vitamins, fibre, minerals and low in cholesterol which helps in keeping various conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart attacks at bay. She says that a vegan diet also helps to prolong the degenerative process of ageing. Dr Nandita Shah who is also a nutritionist believes that since it is a plant-based diet, it is free of cholesterol and contains phytonutrients, which improve immune response and hence, makes one feel light and energetic.

It is important to realise that while following a vegan diet, your body's needs of essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and omega-3-fatty acids are met by supplements.

What are the substitutes for dairy and meat products?

According to Neha Chandna, dairy products and meat essentially provide calcium and protein to our body, So,one can get their calcium and protein intake from vegan sources like soy, soya milk, lentils, chickpeas (chana), red kidney beans (rajma), sprouts, tofu, peas, and walnuts. Dr. Nandita further adds to the list by citing food products like oats, almond, rice, sesame, coconut, etc.

If you plan to opt a vegan lifestyle, here's a sample vegan diet chart by nutritionist Neha Chandna:

  • Breakfast: 2 fruits + nuts + green tea
  • Mid-morning: veggie juice/coconut water/1 cup soya milk
  • Lunch: raw salad + 2 jowar/ragi rotis/1 cup brown rice + veggies + dal
  • Evening: 1 bowl sprouts salad/moong bhel/chana chaat
  • Dinner: soup + salad/tofu stir fry + veggies + 1-2 rotis
  • Bedtime: 1 cup soyamilk/groundnut milk

Vegan food, although light, can be extremely delicious. Here are a few recipes for you to enjoy a healthy vegan lifestyle.

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