Meatless diets have grown in popularity, thanks to the endorsement of celebrities such as will.i.am, Janet Jackson and tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams, who live an openly vegan lifestyle. Before we go any further, let’s define and clarify the key difference between a vegan and a vegetarian diet. Simply put, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat any meat, including fish, shell fish, poultry, game or any by-products of animal slaughter. Veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism — a vegan not only avoids eating animal flesh, but also does not eat dairy, eggs and animal-derived ingredients such as honey, gelatin, whey or pepsin.

Khathutshelo Thusi, a production manager, gave vegetarianism a try in December 2017. “I always felt sluggish and tired after meals. I could never get to my ideal weight and decided to cut something out – meat made sense,” she says, adding that the first few months were difficult.

“I have faulted a few times and succumbed to fried chicken, which resulted in bad stomach reactions. I now supplement my diet with iron tablets and a multivitamin,” she says. Other benefits that Thusi has noticed are weight loss, reduced cellulite and glowing skin.

If you’re considering changing to a diet that excludes meat, you might be wondering how this will affect your body. According to American-based Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, research shows that a vegetarian diet has numerous health benefits. These include lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, lower chances of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, as well as dying from ischaemic heart disease. It’s also been found that vegetarians are least likely to develop cancer and obesity, and have a lower risk of having chronic diseases.

 

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