They not only DO NOT eat meat or fish, but also exclude milk and eggs. They also avoid all products containing wool or feathers and other animal based foods/products. They are vegans or in Italy vegetariani estremi extreme vegetarians: they represent 10% of consumers of “all plant based” foods and products. And not suprisingly these plant based consumers are on the rise.
Leonardo Pinelli, vicepresident of the Scientific Society of Vegetarian Nutrition discussed further at VeganFest 2012, the international expo dedicated to the vegan world. Women are the first to choose a vegan diet: 7.2% of women compared with 5.3% of men in Italy. 13.5% of people aged 18-24 said they preferred a non-meat diet to that of a meat-based diet, as well as 9.3% of people over the age of 65. 44% of people chose ethical and environmental reasons for adopting this lifesytle. Pinelli explains that many worry about the possible nutritional errors of a vegan diet, but no one ever talks about nutritional errors in the omnivore diet.
Pinelli states that there could be a possible lack of vitamin B12, simply because we live in a world without germs, almost sterilized. The vitamin B12, in fact, is produced in the intestine of an animal, but not supplied from the animal. Being true we live in a sterilized world, we can still benefit greatly from vitamin B12 fortified foods or from supplements. It is sufficient to take a supplement once a week.
For everything else, Pinelli states there are “no problems with a vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle is safe in for all people, babies to elderly, if followed correctly.” There are many vegan athletes as well, athletes which much maintain health at a very high level.
Pinelli adds: “I advise to follow our internal bodies”. Personally, I gave up all fish, eggs and currently eliminating all milk. This is because my own body is telling me that I am unable to digest certain foods, they bother me.”
And babies? Even if the topic is controversial and debates about the topic are hard-hitting, the experts will admit: “After 2 years, in theory, there is no need for milk: the nutrients that you find in milk can also be found in other foods.” After a while, the enzymes that are needed to digest milk begin to disappear, hence the reason why 2/3 of the world population is lactose intollerant,” adds Pinelli. In 2009, The American Dietetic Association stated that “you can actually start to adopt a vegan lifestyle after breastfeeding at about 6 months.”