Here’s everything you need to know about a vegan diet.
As a younger generation, we are becoming more and more aware of what we eat and especially where it comes from. The internet has played an influential role in the way we think about food, and studies have shown that now more people than ever are embracing veganism. Contrary to what we see on TV and in movies, not all vegans are tree hugging and never showering hippies, people have embraced this lifestyle for different reasons and if you are reading this you could too. A vegan diet may initially seem difficult or very restrictive from a foreigner’s perspective, but keeping a few key things in mind, it might be easier than you think, we’re here to guide you through this new travel.
What is the vegan diet?
Veganism is characterized as a way of life that strives to avoid using animals in any way, whether for food, clothing, or other purposes. For this reason, a vegan diet forgoes all animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. For various reasons, people choose to eat vegan. These typically cover topics such as ethics and the environment, but they can also be driven by a desire to be healthier.
How to become vegan?
It is important to understand that being a vegan means consuming only plant-based foods and abstaining from all animal products. This involves avoiding juicy steaks, sloppy meat burgers, red meat, and all forms of processed meat. Plus, it means no fish or other types of meat, like chicken, bacon, or turkey. Also, no dairy like regular milk, cheese or eggs.
One step after another
One of the easiest ways to add more plant-based foods to your diet is to make small adjustments to your regular meals. Start by cutting out meat or dairy one day a week, and work your way up from there. Alternatively, you can try making one change at a time by incorporating vegan breakfasts in your first week, a vegan lunch in your second week, etc. You can even try replacing one product at a time, such as butter with margarine or coconut oil, or cow’s milk with almond or soy milk.
Expand your palate with new flavors and foods by stepping out of your culinary comfort zone. There are countless vegan recipes available all over the world. Whatever your favorite cuisine, you’ll find amazing new dishes and intriguing variations on some of your favorites.
Maintain a balanced diet
There is a misconception that being vegan is automatically healthy, when in fact, vegans still need to incorporate all of the important food groups into their diet. If you go vegan, you will need to supplement your old diet with additional nutrients. This includes omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium. Some nutrients can be replaced with plant-based foods.
It’s good to ask for help
Starting anything for the first time is a challenge, and changing your whole eating lifestyle surely isn’t easy. Get information from verified sources or consult a dietitian/nutritionist who can guide you. Talking to vegan friends or joining vegan groups can also be very helpful.
What can you eat on a vegan diet?
- Vegetables and fruits
- Legumes like lentils, beans and peas
- Seeds and nuts
- Rice, pasta and bread
- Dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, and soy milk
What can’t you eat on a vegan diet?
- Red meats, including lamb, pork, and beef
- Poultry, including chicken, duck and turkey
- Fish or shellfish such as clams, mussels and crabs
- Dairy products like milk, butter and cheese.
- Mayonnaise (because it contains egg yolks)
- Honey (because it comes from bees)
Health benefits of a vegan diet?
- Consuming vegan food can help with weight loss.
- A reduced risk of heart disease is associated with a vegan diet.
- A vegan diet appears to improve kidney function and lower blood sugar levels.
- Being vegan can help prevent certain cancers.
- A vegan diet can relieve arthritis pain
- More Nutrients
Sample Vegan Diet Plan
Breakfast: a sandwich with tofu, lettuce, tomato, turmeric and a plant milk chai latte
Lunch: pita sandwich filled with hummus, whole grain pita with a mix of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and baby spinach, 1 cup berries or mango pieces on the side, and garnished green tea fresh mint.
Having dinner: dal with rice
Breakfast: overnight oats made with fruit, fortified plant milk, chia seeds and nuts
Lunch: using toasted wheat bread, make a sandwich with mushrooms, onions and horseradish sauce
Having dinner: pasta with lentil Bolognese sauce and side salad
Breakfast: avocado toast with garbanzo beans
Lunch: baked tofu sandwich with tomato salad
Having dinner: Veggie or soy burger on half carrot bun or salad with croutons and balsamic vinaigrette, all made with dairy-free products
Breakfast: 2 vegan blackberry peanut butter pancakes
Lunch: black bean veggie burger
Having dinner: sweet potatoes with lettuce, corn, beans, cashews and guacamole
Breakfast: vegan english muffin with sliced avocado and salt and pepper
Lunch: spicy sesame noodles
Having dinner: Cereal bowl made with farro, sweet potatoes, wilted leafy greens, sunflower seeds and lemon tahini dressing
Breakfast: one or two slices of sweet potato toast with three to four tablespoons of mashed avocado, chia seeds and paprika
Lunch: spicy red lentil, tomato and kale soup with whole grain toast and hummus
Having dinner: vegetarian sushi rolls, miso soup, edamame and wakame salad
Breakfast: chickpea pancakes, guacamole and salsa, and a glass of fortified orange juice
Lunch: vegan tofu quiche with a side of sautéed mustard greens
Having dinner: bowl of cereal made with brown rice, carrots, bean sprouts, red cabbage, edamame, scallions and peanuts in a peanut butter soy dressing
What can you eat on a vegan diet?
Vegans can eat fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes like peas, beans, and lentils. Nuts and seeds, bread, rice and pasta are all staples. Plus, there are dairy alternatives like soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk.
What foods do vegans avoid?
Vegans avoid eating animal flesh and animal products such as dairy, honey, and eggs.
Can vegans drink alcohol?
Yes they can, but many companies use animal products as fining agents in wine and beer, including fish bladders, egg whites, gelatin, and skimmed milk. With the exception of cream-based liqueurs, which contain dairy, and drinks with honey on the label, all hard liquors and the majority of distilled spirits are suitable for vegans.
Is eating vegan healthy?
Many health benefits can be achieved by following a vegan diet that includes better heart health, weight loss, and a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. Vegans generally have lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol, which reduces their risk of developing heart disease.
What is a typical vegan meal?
It is recommended to eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables each day for a healthy vegan diet. Staple meals include starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or other grains. As they avoid eating animal products, they opt for vegetable alternatives such as legumes, which are rich in protein and iron.