A vegan diet is purely a plant-based diet, excluding all types of animal foods. This diet is said to have numerous health benefits including healthy heart conditions, improved blood sugar control and steady weight etc. As per a survey, 60% of U.S consumers prefer a vegan diet and consider it to be healthy. The word Vegan was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson and since then veganism has been growing. Most of the people think that a vegan diet is similar to a vegetarian diet but it isn’t. While both the plant rich diets, but vegan diet is more of a lifestyle than just a diet.
People who turn to veganism, cut off all the ties associated with eating, wearing or using animals in their life.People may be vegan due to ethical reasons, personal health reasons or environmental reasons.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet restricts every kind of animal food and their byproducts (dairy, eggs etc). The main and only focus of this diet is to stay on a plant diet along with some additions. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy are replaced with plant foods, nuts, beans and grains.
What To Eat:
Since dairy products and other animal products are restricted from this diet, many people wonder how it fulfills the body’s requirements. To cover up for the deficiencies, a vegan diet contains a mix up of options that can help.
Fermented And Sprouted Plant Foods: Tempeh, natto, ezekiel bread, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, pickle, and kimchi contain vitamin k2 and probiotics as well. These foods are said to be effective when it comes to absorbing mineral foods.
Pseudocereals, Cereals And Whole-Grains: Consumption of carbs, fiber, iron, minerals and B-vitamins is essential for proper growth and maintaining good health. These can be obtained by eating whole-grains, cereals and pseudocereals. Foods such as teff, amaranth, spelt and quinoa offer high proteins.
Plant Milks And Plant Yogurts: Excluding dairy products can cause calcium deficiencies. To avoid that from happening, a vegan diet has calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts such as chia seeds, blackstrap molasses. Also, there are plant yogurts composed by mixing cashews, soy, almond, coconut and hemp that are delicious and also very healthy.
Seeds: Chia, flax seeds and hemps are rich in protein. Moreover, they also contain a good amount of omega 3-fatty acids, covering up for fish and other sea foods.
Nuts: Nuts are great providers of zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, selenium, fiber and iron. Since they can be high in calories, make sure to take an ounce of roasted or raw nuts.
Legumes: Lentils, beans and peas are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. Including legumes in your regular diet can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rate.
Fruits: All kinds of fruits.
Foods Not To Eat:
- Seafood And Fish: All types of fish and fish oil.
- Animal Based Ingredients: Isinglass, shellac, l-cysteine, egg white albumen, gelatin, whey, casein, lactose, cochineal or carmine.
- Eggs: Eggs from quails, chicken, ostriches and fish.
- Dairy Products: Yogurt, milk, cheese, ice cream, butter etc.
- Meet And Poultry: Lamb, beef, pork, veal, duck, chicken, goose, quail and turkey etc.
- Bee Products: Royal jelly, bee pollen and honey.
Benefits Of A Vegan Diet
Less Diseases: Since the diet has no animal fats included, the chances of getting various diseases are reduced.
Various researches have linked animal fat with heart diseases, diabetes, chronic diseases and various kinds of cancers too. Moreover, animal fat is said to increase cholesterol levels and give rise to many diseases including obesity. By cutting animal fat from the diet, these risks are reduced. The consumption of veggies, fruits and other foods in this diet helps a person to stay fit and healthy.
Improved Bone Health: Vegan diet also improves bone health. Since you do not drink milk in this type of diet, you have to get calcium from other sources such as kale, spinach, figs and black eyed peas etc. As a milk substitute, vegans can go for almond milk, soy milk and vegan cheese.
Calcium isn’t all that you need to make bones strong. Potassium, vitamin D, K, magnesium are also needed. A vegan diet is rich in these as well. Other than this, vegans are also more capable of absorbing calcium and with better bone metabolism (process of forming new bone tissue).
Weight loss: As per various researches, since a vegan diet is a low calorie-diet, it is said to help lose weight. Since, every type of animal food and animal byproducts are banned in the diet, calorie intake is reduced. Other than that, plant foods are much easier to metabolise than animal foods. The nutrients, minerals and vitamins obtained from this diet help keep a healthy weight.
Improved Heart Health: Risk of obesity is minimal in people who are vegans. They have a normal blood pressure and normal levels of LDL cholesterol.
Vegan Recipes To Know About
Let’s have a look at some of the most delicious vegan diet recipes:
Barbeque Chickpeas And Rice (25 mins)
- Whole grain rice/brown rice (1 cup)
- Drained and rinsed chickpeas (1 can)
- Diced baby portobello mushrooms (4-5)
- Cup vegan barbecue sauce (half cup)
- Cilantro- to garnish
- Cook brown rice in a rice cooker by following guideline found in the direction section on the package.
- Preheat the oven (375 degrees).
- Take chickpeas and mushrooms in an ovenproof dish, add barbeque sauce on the mixture, mix it and send it to the preheat oven.
- Let it cook for 20 minutes or until the sauce begins to evaporate but doesn’t get dry.
- Take the chickpeas out of the oven and keep them out for 5 minutes to cool.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Easy Creamy Vegan Macaroni and Cheese (35 minutes)
- Elbow macaroni - 8 ounce, 1 package.
- Rice bran oil - ⅔ cup.
- Unsweetened soy milk - 2 cups.
- Nutritional yeast - 1 cup.
- Minced garlic cloves - 4.
- Yellow mustard - 2 tbsp.
- Ground paprika - 1 tbsp.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease an 8 inch baking dish (rub it with butter).
- Add salted water in a large pot and let it boil.
- Add macaroni in the boiling water and keep mixing until the point it gets firm to bite (will take around 8 minutes).
- Drain the content, place the macaroni into another dish and add rice bran oil (1 tbsp).
- Add soy milk, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, mustard and paprika in a blender and blend it well until it gets creamy.
- Take this creamy mixture and pour over the macaroni, mix it, pour into the baking dish and place aluminium foil on the top to cover.
- Bake in the oven until bubbles from center begin to rise which will take around 20 minutes.
Being a vegan and following vegan diet has tonnes of benefits. It is not easy though, but if you’re confident and motivated you can easily turn into a vegan.