What Belly Dancers Need to Know About Being Vegan
Veganism is a strict type of vegetarian that abstains from the use of all animal products, including dairy products and eggs. This type of diet has been gaining popularity over time, and many people are now choosing it as a lifestyle for health, animal rights, or environmental reasons. An overview of the diet, its benefits, and what belly dancers should know about veganism is discussed below.
Overview of Veganism
Vegans are a type of vegetarian in that they do not eat poultry, fish, or meat. However, a vegan will also abstain from the use of other animal products or byproducts, which can include eggs, honey, silk, wool, dairy, leather, and cosmetics. An important factor of a vegan diet is variety, and a healthy diet should include legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. Without meat in the diet, it is important for vegans to find other sources of protein, and some foods that can achieve this include tofu, chickpeas, peanut butter, rice, or spinach.
History of Veganism
The first ethical arguments that supported veganism can be traced back to Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who believed that animals should not be eaten due to the transmission of souls, as a person may actually be eating a human soul. The term vegan was not introduced until 1944, and around the same time vegan societies began in both the United Kingdom and the United States. This diet has been gaining momentum across European and North American countries, and according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, as of 2008 about one million Americans self-identified as vegans.
A vegan diet has been thought to provide a variety of health benefits. Disease prevention is one area of particular benefit, as eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, arthritis, macular degeneration, and many others. In addition to the health benefits that come with a vegan diet, some people choose this lifestyle because of beliefs about animal rights and the environment, and abstaining from these food products can give them a sense of self-satisfaction that they are standing up for what they believe in.
What Belly Dancers Need to Know
Belly dance is a high endurance activity, and by eating a healthy vegan diet, dancers will find that they have increased energy. These diets are also high in vitamins A and E due to the increase in vegetable consumption, which can provide healthy and clear skin, which is often important to belly dancers, since costumes are often fairly revealing. However, vegan diets are often lacking of some essential nutrients for belly dancers to stay in peak physical condition, including calcium, which is essential for bone health, and vitamin B12, which is needed for cell metabolism, blood production, and nerve function. Belly dancers may wish to consider taking a vitamin supplement for this reason.
Vegan diets can have a variety of benefits for belly dancers and any other people that wish to try it. However, this diet is more of a lifestyle choice, as vegans also abstain from animal byproducts such as leather or cosmetics. If followed appropriately, this diet can have a variety of environmental, health, and ethical benefits for the dieter.