What do vegans eat? Is it possible to follow a healthy lifestyle through veganism? Here’s a quick read about the concept if you are new to veganism and the vegan diet.
Vegans don’t eat meat. That’s what we know before we “actually” know about the concept through some source. Before veganism became popular, vegans were considered the same as vegetarians. So how is veganism any different? People decide to go vegan for ethical, health or environmental reasons. Vegans avoid the consumption of all animal products and its derivatives as a part of their diet, clothing or other products they use. Hence, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and honey are restricted in a vegan diet.
So, what do vegans eat?
Vegans eat a whole food plant-based diet that is, whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Vegan ingredients are considered healthier than meat products for various reasons. However, resorting to genetically modified meat alternatives, and highly processed vegan, fast foods would bring more harm than good. If planned well and done right, a nutritionally balanced vegan diet aids in better heart-health; lowers the risk of different life-threatening diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity.
Here’s a list of foods you should eat if you are a beginner to veganism:
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, soybeans etc are included in the legumes' family. These make your diet rich in protein and iron. To ensure the absorption of complete proteins in the body as vegans, it’s important to include different varieties of legumes in your diet in a day with other plant-based foods.
- Fruits and vegetables: They are rich in the essential nutrients and antioxidants and help you feel fuller longer with their high fibre and water content. Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and bok choy are nutritious and ingredients like jackfruit, avocado and bananas could be creatively used as a meat alternative in a vegan diet.
- Whole grains: A lot of less popular grains like buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa have gained popularity due to veganism. They are not only nutritious but delicious too! They are better sources of fibre, complex carbs and other nutrients as their bran and germ are intact as compared to other processed grains like refined flour
- Dairy alternatives: Plant-based milk, butter and cheese have become a hit among vegans as dairy products are excluded from the vegan diet. Hence, soy, almond, oats etc provide a healthy alternative to vegans.
- Nuts and seeds: They are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and are a great addition to your diet because of their amazing taste and texture.
As a beginner, it would also be a great idea to consult a nutritionist to consider taking Vitamin B12 and D3 supplements since vegan diets are not rich in these. If planned well, a vegan diet can bring many positive benefits to your body and mind.