In recent years, the popularity of the vegan diet has sky-rocketed as a result of concerns for animal welfare, public health messages and greater consideration for the environment.
While it’s a worthy path, the extensive body of research on the benefits of veganism when it comes to our health are hard to ignore. Studies have found that veganism is associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a lower risk of heart disease, and better weight management.
Health and lifestyle bloggers such as Freelee the Banana Girl, Veggieful and Like a Vegan powerfully advocate a vegan diet to hundreds of thousands of followers. In such communities, meat and animal products are seen as the antithesis to a healthy and ethical life.
But according to Alex Orlov at Mic, the vegan diet is not the "magic health bullet" many believe it to be. He argues that cutting out food groups often means you are missing out on essential nutrients, namely calcium and iron.
In addition, certain vegan foods like protein-rich soy can be detrimental to the environment.
It's important to highlight that these issues do not undermine or dismiss the vegan diet. Rather, if you're considering going vegan - these are the things you absolutely must know.
1. Almonds and avocados require litres of water to produce.
A single almond, often a staple of the vegan diet, uses more than four litres of water to create. Similarly, it requires as much as 280 litres of water to produce half a kilo of avocados. In some parts of the world, like Chile, water supplies have significantly depleted as a result of growing avocados. Tom Philpoo of Mother Jones reports that "the ecological implications are potentially dire" for these types of food.