How Healthy is Your Diet, Really?

Photo by: R29
Vegan

What It Is
Nixing all animal products (including meat, dairy, and eggs), but also any and all animal-derived things entirely. And sometimes it's not as obvious as the ... more 
Photo by: R29
Vegan

What It Is
Nixing all animal products (including meat, dairy, and eggs), but also any and all animal-derived things entirely. And sometimes it's not as obvious as the aforementioned: White sugar, wine, beer, and even some hard alcohol are off limits. "This is due to either the refining or fermentation process, where animal parts are typically used in some way (such as gelatin or bone charcoal to purify)," says Brian St. Pierre, a nutrition coach at Precision Nutrition in Toronto.

Pros
Eating vegan can have cardiovascular benefits. Plus, you can eat a ton of whole grains - like quinoa and buckwheat - and go nuts with nuts, which will get you ample calcium, and cashew 'cheese' or almond milk. But you can also load up on the big C from green veggies like broccoli, kale, or beans such as lentils.

Cons
It's possible to be lacking vitamin B12, which is mostly found in animal by-products, like eggs. What you can do: take a multivitamin that has B12, or a separate supplement. But, Tricia Williams, a certified holistic nutritionist, chef, and founder of Food Matters NYC, says that's not the only way to get it: Try adding nutritional yeast to meals. This cheesy-tasting food supplement can be shaken over salads, grains, or popcorn; or laced into your favorite smoothie.
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Thu, Nov 29, 2012 12:42 PM EST
By Nicole Catanese, Illustrations by Ammiel Mendoza, Refinery29


Healthy eating is very near and dear to our hearts here at R29. We're big proponents of the old adage that you are what you eat, so we do everything we can to know everything we can about our diets.



With that in mind, we asked a few of our favorite food experts to weigh in on seven of the most popular diets among the health-obsessed - vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, high-protein, raw, and macrobiotic - to give you the inside scoop on what they really do to your body. In the epic guide ahead, you'll find a breakdown of each diet, plus its nutritional pros and cons.



We get that for many of you on these diets, the choice may be about more than just about eating. So, hear us now: We don't intend for this to be a competition of which diet is best. This guide is here to do just that - guide you to make informed, healthy decisions about your dietary needs. And, as always, remember that there are no one-size-fits-all food solutions, and you should always talk to a medical professional - be it a nutritionist or your GP - about your specific diet requirements.



But, if you've ever been curious about all that hype around veganism, or if you want to find out if Gwyneth's macrobiotic plan really is as amazing as she claims, this one's for you....



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