The Vegan Diet | A Beginner’s Guide To Veganism

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The vegan diet is a popular and environmental-friendly diet. People worldwide are converting to veganism, too, for a good reason. Veganism is more than just the vegan diet. It’s a complete lifestyle. But today, we will explore more about the diet aspect of it.

vegan diet

The vegan diet comprises a completely animal-free diet. This means that you cannot eat meat or anything animal-based. That includes poultry products, dairy products, bee products, and products derived from animal products.

The vegan diet is great for improving one’s health and weight loss, but it is also great for environmental reasons. People also opt for veganism for ethical reasons. It is to eradicate the exploitation of animals for food and other products.

Whatever the reason, the point remains that the vegan diet has gained wide popularity. We are going to discuss the vegan diet in this article. But before that, let me tell you some things about the vegan lifestyle.

What Is Vegan Lifestyle?

vegan lifestyle

The vegan lifestyle starts with adopting the vegan diet, also known as a plant-based diet. With that said, anyone who calls themselves vegan does not consume animal products or by-products. This is the simplest definition of being a vegan, but diet is only one aspect.

Veganism is a way of life that aims to exclude all forms of cruelty and exploitation of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. As such, vegans not only stay away from animal products or food items, but they also refrain from using clothing and other materials made from animal materials such as leather. In addition, vegans stay away from any products or brands that use animal testing or those that exploit animals for their gain or entertainment.

There are many advocates of the vegan lifestyle these days, and most of them are celebrities or well-known personalities. The fact that celebrities have joined in on the movement has helped create public interest in this lifestyle. 

Among the most notable vegan celebrities include Sia, Kevin Smith, Natalie Portman, Kyrie Irving, Ruby Rose, Ne-Yo, James Cameron, Benedict Cumberbatch, and many more. Now, let’s see what’s a vegan diet.

What Is A Vegan Diet?

what is a vegan diet

When talking about the vegan lifestyle, the first thing that comes to mind is the vegan diet. It is a huge component of this lifestyle, and would-be vegans need to know about it. The vegan diet is also called a plant-based diet.

Adopting a plant-based diet is only the first step towards a vegan lifestyle. Veganism denounces the idea that animals exist for human use and consumption. Vegans believe that animals have as much right to life as humans do. They stay away from eggs, honey, meat, and dairy products to promote violence against animals.

Even the supplements are plant-derived. You can find a lot of organic supplements and protein powders available in the market if you want to make it easier to transition to this diet scheme. A good example of that is the vegan protein supplement Ora Organic.

This kind of lifestyle understands and recognizes that animals have a right to life. Humans deprive animals of this basic right to live by consuming them for food. Another aspect of the vegan lifestyle is reducing the environmental impact of the animal industry.

What You Can and Can’t Eat In A Vegan Diet?

vegan fruits and vegetables

As I already mentioned, the vegan diet is plant-based. The vegan diet excludes all kinds of meat, including fish, seafood, chicken, mutton, beef, pork, etc. It also excludes animal derived-products such as eggs, dairy-based products, bee-based products, etc.

But it is not just animal-based products. Vegas also refrain from processed food. So, they don’t intake white flour, white sugar, soft drinks, and not even alcohol.

There’s no need to worry, though! You can substitute all animal-based products with plant-based products. You can also substitute dairy-based milk with plant-based milk, but it should be calcium-fortified.

You can replace cheese with cashew cheese. For protein, you can consume tofu, legumes, lentils, etc. Also, your diet should be nutrient-rich so that you don’t become deficient in any way.

In addition to the needed fruits and vegetables, you should take nuts, seeds, algae, and yeast. You can also have vegan ice cream, vegan pizza, and all kinds of plant-based junk food. There are also a lot of plant-sourced beverages that you can use to hydrate yourself. Processed food like white flour and white sugar are replaced by their more natural version like whole wheat flour and brown sugar.

To simplify, let me list foods you can eat on a vegan diet.

  • Grains, lentils, legumes, and beans
  • Fruits that are fiber and protein-rich like avocado, blueberries
  • Vegetables including leafy greens and sea vegetables
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc
  • Cold-pressed oils
  • Nuts like almonds, walnuts, etc
  • Tofu, vegan cheese, and nut-based milk, butter, and yogurts.
  • Brown rice, whole wheat flour, brown sugar
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Algae like spirulina and chlorella
  • Sprouted and Fermented foods like miso, natto, pickles, kimchi, etc

Also, here is a list of foods you need to avoid when following a vegan diet.

  • Meats like mutton, beef, pork, etc
  • Poultry like chicken, turkey, eggs, etc
  • Fish, seafood, and shellfish
  • Dairy and dairy-based products like milk, yogurt, cheese, etc
  • Bee-based products like honey, pollen, and royal jelly.
  • Animal-derived products like fish oils, lactose, gelatin, etc
  • Processed food like white flour, white rice, white sugar, etc

Now, you know what food you can and cannot eat. Let’s see the type of vegan diets.

Types Of Vegan Diet

Types of vegan diet

Now, vegan diets are also of many types. People choose their vegan diets based on their own goals and preferences. I have mentioned the types of vegan diets below.

  1. Whole Food Vegan Diet – The whole food vegan diet consists of eating whole food. This diet is based on whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. You must make sure that the food is rich in fiber and protein.
  2. Raw Food Vegan Diet – The raw food vegan diet includes eating raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It also includes minimally cooked plant food, which is food cooked below 48oC.
  3. The Thrive Diet – This diet is another raw food vegan diet. It follows plant-based food and whole foods, either completely raw or minimally cooked. People who follow the thrive diet don’t count calories or limit portions. They eat several small meals daily. This diet keeps their blood sugar and energy levels in check.
  4. 80/10/10 – The 80/10/10 diet is also known as a fruit-based diet. This is because this diet allows you to gain your calories primarily by eating fruits. You have to eat 90% fruits, including sweet, non-sweet, and fat-rich fruits, 2% seeds and nuts, and 8% leafy greens.  
  5. The Starch Solution – The starch solution vegan diet is a low-fat-high-carb diet. It is somewhat similar to the 80/10/10 diet. But it focuses on starch-rich like potatoes, rice, corn, etc. Also, the diet endorses cooked starches and not raw.
  6. Raw Till 4 – Two diets inspire this vegan diet; the starch solution and 80/10/10. In this diet, raw foods like fruits and vegetables are consumed till 4:00 p.m. After that, you can take cooked plant-based meals for dinner. 
  7. Junk Food Vegan Diet -This is a vegan diet that relies on vegan junk food. You can have fries, vegan desserts, and other heavily processed vegan foods in this diet. This diet does not promote a healthy lifestyle but only vegan food choices.

Health Benefits Of Vegan Diet

healthy vegan food

There are a lot of health benefits of a vegan diet. Let me put some of them together in a clean list.

  1. Weight Loss – The vegan diet aids in weight loss. If you are trying to eat healthily and become thinner, veganism will help you.
  2. Prevention Of Diabetes – Being vegan also helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Not only that, a vegan diet will help you prevent type 2 diabetes.
  3. Improvement Of Heart Health – A vegan diet also helps regulate blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, and lowers the risks of heart diseases. Thus, it improves your overall heart health.
  4. Lowers Risk Of Cancer – Although there are many reasons for cancer, a vegan diet can reduce up to 15% of cancer risk.
  5. Reduces Symptoms Of Arthritis – vegan diets do not cure arthritis but reduce its symptoms. Symptoms you get relief from when on a vegan diet are pain, stiffness, and joint swelling.
  6. Improves Kidney Function – A vegan diet also improves your renal health and helps in the better functioning of your kidneys.
  7. Reduces The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease – Studies have also found that a vegan diet reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

All of this being said, vegans should keep their nutrient intake in check. They should compensate for the protein they are giving up. If their nutrient need is not met with food, they should also take plant-sourced supplements. Also, you should not haste with the diet and give your body at least a month to adjust to it.

Final Thoughts

So, this was all about the vegan diet, its types, and its health benefits. You know that veganism is about promoting a healthy lifestyle while keeping environmental and animal welfare in mind. With this, I shall take your leave. Tell me in the comments what do you think about the vegan diet. I’ll see you with another informative article. Until then, happy eating!

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