Everything You Need To Know About The Vegan Diet

Everything You Need To Know About The Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is the new norm of the day as this diet is making a massive impression among the masses as more than 3% of the population in the USA alone follow this diet religiously. 

Diet is a term that always has a vast impact on our lives as we assume it as the sole practice to lose weight and stay fit. Of all the diverse forms of diets we hear or observe, the vegan diet is distinctive and exclusive.

But, what exactly is a Vegan diet? From where did this term originate, and what are its effects on our health? These queries often come to our minds whenever we think of practicing a diet, particularly an unfamiliar and unusual one.

To answer all these queries that boggle your mind every time you think to opt for a vegan diet, we have all the details that would make it easier for you to understand veganism and make your decision accordingly. 

So, let's start this journey of a sustainable healthy lifestyle: 

What Is A Vegan Diet?

When it comes to health, you should be well aware of all the facts before practicing any diet. It has adverse effects on your physical and mental health, so you should be safe than sorry. 

A vegan diet is simple yet complex as it has numerous restrictions and limitations that make it a bit strenuous to practice. But, with determination and proper observance, this diet can help you get the best of health.

The vegan diet has different categories from which you can choose according to your preference. But, the thing that is common among all types is that you have to consume a plant-based diet and quit an animal-based diet.

Before you decide to practice this diet, it's necessary to understand the definition of the term Vegan in detail.

Defining Veganism

Veganism is a practice in which you have to refrain from consuming foods associated with animals. Whether it's meat, eggs, or milk, all these foods are a big no when observing a vegan diet. People who opt for this practice are called vegans.

Balance Diet V/S Vegan Diet: Which One To Choose?

Most of you may have tried an ordinary balanced diet but have badly failed to maintain a healthy body. In such a case, you have done it all wrong. A vegan diet is entirely different from any ordinary diet or, in other words, it's exclusive from other diets. 

But, what makes it so different? The main factor is the replacement of meat, milk, and other products with plant-based foods that makes it different yet complex to follow.

Why Do People Choose A Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is merely practiced due to various reasons but the most prominent the following:

  • Some people consider this diet as a pillar to control different diseases.
  • A large group of individuals accepts it as a contribution to saving the environment and animals from cruelty and malice. 

Precisely, a vegan diet strictly prohibits every kind of food from animals.

People all around the globe are adopting a vegan diet to lead a sustainable lifestyle. The vegan lifestyle is getting immensely popular day by day. However, is it always healthy to adapt to veganism?

To make this clear, let's check the positive and negative effects of a vegan diet on our health.

Effects Of A Vegan Diet On Health

Every diet has pros and cons that need to be studied to avoid uncertain circumstances. Keeping that in mind, we should observe the adverse effects of a vegan diet on health. For this purpose, it's essential to analyze both benefits and risks extensively.

So, let's have a look at the health benefits and risks of a vegan diet:

Health Benefits

Several kinds of research conducted on the vegan diet suggest numerous health benefits. 

Of all the crucial health risks, the heart is an organ that needs to be monitored and maintained the most as it directly affects the whole body. 

Most of the front-line diseases occur due to irregularity and malfunctioning of the heart that eventually becomes life-threatening. The most crucial among them are problems like blood pressure and imbalanced cholesterol levels that disturb the whole mechanism to a large extent. 

Numerous researches have revealed that a vegan diet maintains blood pressure and cholesterol levels at a considerate level compared to other diets.

Apart from this, a vegan diet is also said to reduce the probability of Diabetes. It helps to maintain the diabetic level too. Different cancers, particularly breasts and uterus in women, can be sufficiently controlled by switching to a vegan diet.

A vegan diet essentially helps you lose weight and get rid of that useless obesity that adversely and disastrously affects your health.

According to reports, the total body index or weight of people who follow a vegan diet is much lower than those having an animal-based diet.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are a significant part of the vegan diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other essential compounds and act as a savior against Diabetes and other diseases.

Risks Involved In A Vegan Diet

Although the vegan diet has health benefits yet, certain risks are involved that can have a negative effect. The vegan diet is entirely plant-based. Therefore, this diet lacks some vital nutrients that are an essential part of an animal-based diet. 

Some essential nutrients such as Iron, Calcium, Vitamins D and B12, Omega 3, Fatty acids, Zinc, and most important, Proteins are an integral part of an animal-based diet that you can not get from plant-based foods. 

These nutrients are of immense importance as they play a vital role in maintaining our health. Calcium strengthens bones and teeth while Fatty acids and Omega-3 protect the heart. Proteins work as a powerhouse as it controls all the chemical reactions in our body. 

The deficiency of these core nutrients may lead to serious health issues. However, we can take these nutrients through specific plant-based foods such as:

Omega 3:

Flax seeds, vegetable oil, and some plant-based supplements are good sources of Omega 3. 

Proteins: 

Soy, beans, quinoa, and nuts are sufficient producers of proteins.

Calcium: 

Plant-based foods like broccoli, almonds, kale, fortified orange juice, soy milk are good sources of calcium.

Iron:

Peanut butter, spinach, tofu, and cereals are rich in iron and can provide sufficient iron required for a perfectly healthy body.

Zinc:

Beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, walnuts, and cashew nuts are essential sources of zinc. These plant-based foods complete the zinc requirements to a large extent.

Vitamin B12:

The nutrient that you can not extract from any plant-based food is Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient needed to make new red blood cells. Vitamin B12 also plays a vital role in the formation of DNA. Therefore, this vitamin is of immense importance. 

How To Add Vitamin B12 To A Vegan Diet?

An animal diet is the only natural source of vitamin B12. Therefore, if you opt for a vegan diet where you have to quit every kind of animal-based food, you need to take relevant supplements to make up for the required intake of vitamin B12. You can get different nutritional supplements with the right proportion of this vitamin from the market. But, do make sure to check that the supplements are purely plant-based.

Keeping Your Diet Healthy

One thing to keep in mind is that you should make your vegan diet as healthy as possible. Even in a vegan diet, it is necessary to plan out your eating preferences in a balanced proportion. For example, eating an excessive amount of your favorite vegan ice cream or sweet dish may lead to health problems just like other diets. 

What To Eat In A Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is different, unique, and complex than other diets, probably due to the restrictions and limitations in eating preferences. You can only choose plant-based foods when you go for a vegan diet. 

So, what things to eat as a vegan? We have a complete list of the foods you can enjoy on your vegan journey. 

Let's get started:

  • Since you can only eat plant-based foods, so every kind of fresh fruit and vegetable can be a part of your diet plan to keep you active and healthy.
  • Peas, beans, legumes should be a part of your meals as these are a good source of essential nutrients.
  • Lentils and grains are a must-have that should be a part of your daily diet. Lentils and grains are rich in minerals and cover the average required intake of essential vitamins and proteins.
  • Nuts and seeds can be a part of your snacks and munchings.
  • Rice, pasta, and bread can also be a part of your menu. 
  • As milk is animal-based, you can replace this requirement with soy milk, coconut, or almond milk.
  • You can use vegetable oil in your favorite vegan food round the clock.

 

There are other alternatives for animal-based products readily available in the market. Now you don't have to stress yourself for these plant-based food as their demand is rising day by day.

Which Edibles To Avoid In A Vegan Diet?

Now we come to the most crucial part, what kind of food you should not include in your vegan diet. Every source of animal-based food is strictly prohibited in a vegan diet. Here is a complete list that you should avoid in a vegan diet:

 

  • Beef, lamb, and other types of red or white meat
  • Milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt as all these foods are purely animal-based
  • Eggs, poultry, and dairy products are a big no in a vegan diet
  • Fish and other kinds of seafood 
  • Edibles made using any of these foods are also not allowed
  • Honey and other nectars are also not allowed in a vegan diet.

You can replace all these animal-based foods with healthy and delicious plant-based alternatives that not only make you stay fit and active but also delights your taste buds. 

Animal-based foods are a prominent source of several ailments including, blood pressure, cholesterol, and numerous heart diseases. People who opt for a vegan diet are likely to have strong immunity against such illnesses. 

To start your fitness journey as a vegan, you should plan out your diet accordingly and add all the food in your menu that are good alternatives and have all the vital nutrients needed by your body.

Types of Vegan Diets

Like other diets, the vegan diet also has different forms from which you can choose according to your habits and preferences. These vegan diets differ from each other due to various reasons. Every vegan diet has some limitations or rules that you have to follow. So, before you make your mind to go vegan, let's have a look at some diverse forms of vegan diets from which you can choose the best for you:

  • Pure gluten-free, vegan diet

This vegan diet is for people who want to quit gluten, specifically from their diet plan. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, whey, barley, and other foods. Gluten retains food shape or holds it together. Therefore, it can be a source of different diseases if taken excessively. For this reason, people like to skip gluten from their diet for better health. A gluten-free, vegan diet is also suitable for people suffering from an autoimmune disease called Celiacs. According to this vegan diet, you can have fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, soy milk, and gluten-free flour.

  • Raw vegan diet

A raw vegan diet is for people who eat their food raw. Some people assume that cooking food at a high temperature eliminates all the nutrients of the food thus, eating it raw or undercooked under 104 degrees Fahrenheit preserves all the nutrients in the food. It doesn't mean that you have to eat cold raw food. You can cook your food at 104 degrees Fahrenheit but, the temperature should not exceed more than 104. A raw vegan diet is the best source of natural nutrients. 

The primary source of food:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fresh and dried fruits 
  • Sprouted beans and legumes
  • Grains and lentils

Suggested meals:

  • Cashew cheese lasagne
  • Mushroom burgers
  • Salad bowls with nuts, fruits, and vegetables
  • Fruitarian diet

This type of vegan diet focuses on fruits and vegetables as a primary source of nutrition. Some people only like to have fruits and vegetables in their diet. They plan their diet according to the nutrient intake required by the body and focus on a diet accordingly. Legumes, beans, salads, and different fruits are a part of this diet plan. However, As you have only fruits, vegetables, and grains as a primary source of food, you need to make sure that you include all the nutrients required by the body in your diet. In case you're out of ideas to plan out daily meals for this vegan diet plan, you can get tons of delicious organic recipes that would not only support this diet plan but would delight your taste buds as well.

The primary source of food:

  • All kinds of fresh pulpy fruits
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Suggested meals:

  • Fruit salads
  • Smoothies with berries and bananas
  • Mono meals of mango or banana
  • Green leafy salads with fruit dressing
  • Partial raw vegan diet

This diet is also referred to as the raw till 4. As the name suggests, this diet has a specific phenomenon, according to which a vegan has to eat raw food till 4 pm. Researches suggest that eating raw food half a day gives immense strength and energy to the body. Therefore, vegans eat raw food until 4 pm every day. However, they are allowed to have piping hot, cooked food in the evening. People following this diet usually have fruit-based meals the whole day and then add a savory dish to their dinner. 

The primary source of food:

  • Starch foods like corn, potatoes, pasta, and rice
  • Lots of fruits like bananas, berries, and apples
  • Some leafy green and pulpy vegetables

Suggested meals:

  • Mono meals of different fruits
  • Banana ice cream
  • Salad bowls
  • Corn pasta with vegetable sauce

Plant-based whole food vegan diet

This type of vegan diet is slightly different from others as it does not restrict the number of foods. It means you can have lots of whole foods anytime. There's no need to count the calories or take fruits in the form of smoothies. But, whatever food you eat, it should be unprocessed. 

Unprocessed whole foods are excellent sources of fiber and other nutrients that keep your digestive system strong and prevent different chronic disorders. This diet provides a chance to explore your requirements and taste buds for distinctive grains, fruits, and legumes that you would like to add to your menu.

The primary source of food:

  • All kinds of unprocessed whole grains
  • Whole fruits
  • All types of vegetables(cooked and raw)
  • Nuts and seeds

Suggested meals:

  • Baked tacos
  • Sweet potato and cauliflower lentil bowl
  • Fennel, roast lemon, and tomato salad
  • Vegan kababs with avocado dressing

Junk food or convenient vegan diet

This vegan diet is for the junk food lovers who have been eating junk food as a diet all these years and have switched to this diet as a contribution to protecting animal rights. This diet is suitable for vegans who are not much calorie conscious or have relentless omnivorous habits. This diet would make it easier for their taste buds to accept the new changes in the diet.

The primary source of food:

  • Pasta, bread, and rice
  • Vegan cheese
  • Fruits, veggies, and salads
  • Vegan chocolates and cookies
  • Different types of convenient foods

Suggested meals:

  • Vegan burgers
  • Pretzels
  • Vegan cookies and ice cream
  • Vegan fries with lime soda

Starch-based vegan diet

The specific vegan diet was proposed by Dr. McDoughall, who believed that a starch-based vegan diet helps the body to remain young and active. He researched for years in Hawaii, where he observed that the older people living a healthy life on a starch-based diet were more healthy and active. He suggested that starchy foods are an essential source of carbohydrates and provide immense energy. This one is the most inexpensive and easy to prepare at home among all vegan diets.

The primary source of food:

  • Potatoes
  • Rice, pasta
  • Vegetables of all kinds
  • Grains, quinoa, millet
  • Fresh fruits
  • Nuts and seeds

Suggested meals:

  • Creamy vegan garlic pasta
  • Potato pierogi with caramelized onions
  • Mushroom, quinoa, and red pepper veggie balls
  • Unstuffed spicy tomato basil shells

Detox vegan diet

This vegan diet comprises 80% of raw food to maintain its alkalinity and preserve the food's natural nutrients. People suffering from diseases and ailments usually switch themselves to this diet as this diet not only detoxes their body, it provides instant energy as well. This vegan diet consists of specific meals and foods such as sprouts, green leafy vegetables, and gluten-free meals that would keep you fresh and active to the fullest. This diet includes lots of fluids such as water and herbal tea to detox the body. 

The primary source of food:

  • Gluten-free foods
  • sprouts and legumes
  • soaked nuts and seeds
  • Green vegetables
  • Fresh pulpy fruits

Suggested meals:

  • Cinnamon apple oatmeal
  • Roasted eggplant soup with Za'tar
  • Quinoa lentil salad
  • Mixed beans masala bowl
  • Different bean soups

How to start a vegan diet?

Are you confused about how to start your vegan journey? It's not that difficult as you think. Before you opt for a vegan diet, you need to have all the necessary information about the vegan diet. You have to plan out your daily menu and ingredients according to the vegan diet.

Keeping yourself positive is the most essential before starting a journey. Due to numerous limitations, a vegan diet is exclusive and complex to begin and follow. You need to be optimistic and motivated to follow this diet religiously once you achieve good health.

You should be focused on your daily nutrient intake as it should be balanced to keep you healthy and active. In case of a nutrient deficiency, your health would be at a huge risk. To avoid such consequences, you should plan out your daily meals having all the required nutrients needed by the body.

Final verdict:

A vegan diet is a unique yet complex diet that consists of a pure plant-based meal plan. It is considered the most challenging and effective way of keeping ourselves healthy and at the same time protecting our environment. Every type of vegan diet has great potential to keep you fit and healthy.

So, which one would you choose for yourself?