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Growing trend for vegan diet

11-07-2011 10:50 BJT

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When former US President and burger lover, Bill Clinton, declares he is going vegan for health reasons, it's time to take notice. But even with veganism getting big celebrity endorsement, let's consider some of the health pros and cons associated with this meat and dairy free diet.

When in office Mr Clinton made no secret of his love for junk food -- particularly the high-fat, meaty variety found in fast food restaurants.

But since leaving office Mr Clinton has had two heart procedures. Following medical advice, he chose to become vegan.

But convincing people to eat vegan isn't easy. Say vegan food to most people and they imagine nothing but fruit and vegetables.

Here at restaurants like Simply Authentic Food, they specialize in raw, vegan dishes.

The Vegan Society defines the vegan diet as "someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey." Many vegan lifestyles also avoid leather, wool, and silk clothing.

But with such a restrictive menu, veganism isn't suitable for everybody. The diet requires a lot of careful management to ensure the dieter doesn’t miss out on essential vitamins and minerals.

Nutritionist Jane Clarke said: "We have a few concerns over the vegan diet especially with children because you have very low sources of iron. Now iron is a mineral which is needed for healthy blood cells, for growth and because you don't have the easiest form of iron from animal products like meat then it can be quite hard for parents to bring up a child as a vegan. It's not impossible because you can get fortified soya products that iron, and breakfast cereals and things like that. But iron can be one mineral that a vegan diet can be lacking in."

Another at-risk group are pregnant women. However, Clarke says although it's difficult, there’s no reason why a pregnant woman can't continue a vegan diet with thorough monitoring.

Jane Clarke said: "To be pregnant and to be vegan can be quite hard. Of course, we're making very general comments about vegan women and you get incredibly well knowledged, fantastic eating pregnant women that eat nuts, if they're good for them, beans, lentils, seed pastes, nut butters, obviously if they don’t have an alegy or an atopic gene in their family. But it can be quite hard to get enough calcium, protein, iron - unless you're pretty clever at juggling all the food groups."

But it's not just Bill Clinton who is espousing a vegan lifestyle. Ozzy Osbourne, the former front man with Black Sabbath, recently revealed his new vegan regime on a daytime US talk show.

At this red carpet event in Los Angeles, singers and actresses give their verdict on the vegan diet.

Actress Selma Blair said: "I have eaten meat and I will eat meat again but mostly the basis of my diet is vegan. I just like to source where the meat I'm eating is coming from, I'm very conscious of it but I’m not vegan, that's the main part of my diet."

As celebrities struggle to stay vegan, plenty of others are sticking to their diets.

Now the challenge for Ozzy Osbourne is whether he can stick to his new diet over the holidays.


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Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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