The vegan diet, or veganism, can be explained as refraining from eating animal foods and a philosophy of excluding any other ways of exploitation of animals. Veganism followers are usually called vegans. This term was suggested by Donald Watson, who was a co-founder of the Vegan Society in the Great Britain.
There are several types of veganism:
- Dietary veganism – Its followers do not consume any animal-derived products.
- Ethical veganism – These vegans follow the vegan diet and resist using animals for any purpose.
- Environmental veganism – Supporters of this category of veganism oppose animal products because farming damages the environment.
How Vegan Diet Works
Following the vegan diet is more difficult than being just a vegetarian, because vegans exclude all animal foods but not only avoid meat, poultry, and fish. This is why they eliminate even eggs and dairy products. So if you are going to become a vegan ask yourself whether you are ready to exclude (or replace with substitutes) milk, margarine, gelatin, lard, eggs, and many other products. You will have to give preference to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, leafy greens, legumes, and nuts.
Going vegan does not imply doing physical exercises, but if you want to lose some weight and reduce the risk of getting heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other diseases, you should have some moderate activity.
Vegan Diet Benefits
Veganism offers many advantages, like low levels of cholesterol and fat, and high levels of magnesium, folate1, fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals. As a result, vegan diet really could help to lose weight and to prevent a number of chronic diseases. Most vegan dieters consume fewer calories than persons who eat meat and other animal products. It also helps to keep blood pressure and cholesterol level in check. The vegan diet is also good for preventing and controlling diabetes though you should consult your doctor before you start following it.
Vegan Diet Health Risks
Before you go vegan, make sure that you have a sane plan. If you do not have any diseases, most probably, you will be safe. Anyway, you should better consult a doctor.
Vegan Diet Foods
Vegans consume just plant-based products. It means that they should find sources of some nutrients which are commonly found in animal products, like vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, protein, omega-3 fatty acids2, and zinc.
Here are some ideas for vegan dieters:
- Calcium: broccoli, spinach, kale, sesame seeds, beans, almonds, soy, molasses, breakfast cereals, and fruit juices.
- Vitamin B12: nutritional yeast, fortified soy foods, enriched cereals, and supplements.
- Vitamin D: various fortified foods, like rice milk, soy milk, cereals, and orange juice.
- Protein: legumes, seeds, soy, and nuts.
- Zinc: miso3, nuts, soy, legumes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole-grain bread, cereals, wheat germ.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: flaxseed, soy, canola oil, fortified products, and supplements.
- Iron: tempeh4, tofu, soybeans, lentils, fortified cereals, and chickpeas.
If you follow the vegan diet, make sure that you get all necessary nutrients.
What Foods to Avoid on Vegan Diet
As stated above, vegans do not eat any animal products, like meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. There are special substitutes for many of these foods that can be used by vegan dieters. Vegans do not use animal byproducts in any other way either.
Remember that you might not know that some products are animal-derived. These include honey, gelatin, and rennet. True vegan should avoid them too.
Vegan Diet Plan
Being a vegan dieter means avoiding animal foods. It is up to you what products to choose but remember that you should eat healthy and get all the necessary nutrients.
Here is a sample one week eating plan for vegan dieters.
- Vegan burrito
- 1 cup non-dairy low fat yogurt or milk
- 1 tangerine
- Vegetable bowl or brown rice
- 1 cup carrot with a tablespoon of light dressing
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 ounce almonds
- 2 cups mixed greens with a tablespoon of olive oil
- Enchilada with black beans
- 1 peach
- One bowl cereals
- ½ cup non-dairy low-fat milk
- 4 walnuts
- 1 apple
- 2 cups pea or lentil soup
- 1 cup greens with a tablespoon of light dressing
- ½ cup strawberries with a cup of non-fat yogurt
- An American vegan burger
- ½ ounce vegan cheese
- ½ ounce mild organic salsa
- 2 cups greens salad
- 1 wheat tortilla
- ½ cup cucumber, bell pepper, and onion with a tablespoon olive oil and a tablespoon vinegar
- ½ cups non-dairy yogurt and a pear
- Tofu scramble
- 4 ounces orange juice
- 2 tablespoons mild organic salsa
- Teriyaki wrap
- Salad: 2 sliced stalks celery, ½ cup sliced cucumber, and a tablespoon of light dressing
- 2 rice cakes
- 2 teaspoons almond butter
- Bean enchilada
- 2 cups spinach with a tablespoon of sesame seed, soy sauce, and vinegar
- ½ cup strawberries and a cup of non-dairy low-fat milk
- 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
- 1 strawberry toaster pop
- 1 pear
- Vegetable bowl and brown rice
- ½ cup celery
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- Vegetable roasted tamale
- 1 cup cooked mixed veggies
- 2 tablespoons mild organic salsa
- 2 cups greens salad and a tablespoon of light dressing
- A sandwich with tofu scramble
- 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
- ½ cup pineapple
- A bistro burger: ½ whole grain bun with tomato, lettuce, and mustard.
- 2 cups barley soup
- ½ cup celery with a tablespoon of light dressing
- Vegetable korma with a tortilla
- Raita: ½ cup chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, ¼ chopped tomato, 2 tablespoons soy yogurt
- A sandwich with tofu scramble
- 1 cup non-dairy low-fat yogurt
- 1 bistro burger
- 1 cup vegetable chili
- ½ ounce non-dairy cheese
- 2 corn tortillas
- 2 cups greens with a tablespoon of light dressing
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 ounce pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup vegan ziti
- 2 cups salad: cucumbers, 4 toasted almonds, 1 tomato, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup non-dairy parfait with a cup of oatmeal, a cup of strawberries, and two toasted almonds
- 2 cups vegan rice and bean soup
- 1 cup greens salad and a tablespoon of light dressing
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 2 teaspoons raisins
- 1 ounce cashews
- Vegan shepherd pie
- Spinach with sesame seeds, olive oil, and tamari
Vegan Diet Success Stories
Carlos has always loved animals. But it was only in 2006 that he had the opportunity to interact with them closely. He adopted several cats, began to observe how the live and realized they are personalities. Soon Carlos understood that he just could not eat animals.
In 2007, Carlos Oliviera became a vegan. First, he gave up eating chicken, pork, and beef, but continued eating dairy and fish. After two months he removed fish from his menu and later gave up dairy. Soon Carlos noticed that he had more energy. More than that, he started losing fat.
After a year of following the vegan diet, Carlos realized that it had some other benefits, like good blood tests, mental clarity, and so on. Now he knows for sure that veganism is healthy and can make positive changes in everybody’s life.
There were about fifty days between these two photos were taken. During that time Amy followed the vegan diet, and you can see evident differences. She lost some additional weight and assures that she feels much better.
What is more, she has three precancerous spots on her skin. The diet has helped to get rid of two of them and the last one has become much smaller. Of course, Amy is going to continue eating vegan foods and is sure that she will be able to heal her body.
The before photo of Marcus was taken in 1998 when he ate meat, eggs, dairy, fish, and many other animal products. The after picture was shot about one year ago after he had began to follow a vegan diet. The differences between these photos are evident. Marcus has lost over 135 pounds since the before picture was taken.
Now Marcus continues eating vegan foods, like vegetables, seeds, fruits, and nuts. He has already lost his excessive weight and does not have to struggle with additional pounds. Moreover, he is full of energy and is more inclined to go in for sport than any time before in his life.
It took Tammy just five weeks on the vegan diet to lose thirteen pounds. She has also noticed that veganism helped to clear up her stomach irregularities, and to make her skin and hair look much better. She is also full of energy and is sure that the vegan diet works for her.
Pamela went on the vegan diet and in ninety days lost thirteen pounds and one dress size. Now her transformation is obvious and all her friends have noticed it. Pamela eats only non-animal products and makes sure that she gets all necessary nutrients. She is happy that she has started following the vegan diet and is eager to reach her goal.
Vegan diet can be pretty effective but you should make sure that you get all necessary nutrients when you follow it. Otherwise you might have various problems with your health. Anyway, you should consult a doctor before you become a vegan.
- Folate is a salt of folic acid.
- Omega-3 fatty acid is an unsaturated acid occurring in fish oil naturally. It helps to reduce cholesterol levels.
- Miso is a salty paste cooked from soy beans and used in Japanese cookery.
- Tempeh is an Indonesian dish cooked from soy beans.