Vegan Diet Benefits, Vegan Diet Risks & How to Follow One
What Is A Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet basically is a vegetarian diet that goes a few steps further, to eliminate any products that are derived from animals. As with vegetarians, vegans abstain from eating meat, fish or poultry, but they also eliminate eggs, honey and dairy products from their diet. As a lifestyle choice, vegans also avoid products like leather, wool, fur, silk and any other products (cosmetic, commercial etc.) that may have been tested on animals. Some people adopt veganism for short period of time, for health or moral reasons, while others make it a lifelong choice. Its popularity has been rising steadily for the past 20 years.
When it comes to nutrition in a vegan diet, dietary fiber, sugars, calories and carbohydrates are usually consumed in appropriate amounts, but fat and protein can be more difficult to acquire. Protein sources are perhaps the most important thing for vegans but can easily be acquired through beans, tempeh, miso, whole grains and other popular vegan items. Even so, some people do take additional protein supplements when first starting a vegan diet, as protein is found in much higher levels in meat.
There are also certain vitamins and minerals that are only found in high concentrations in animal sources, such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D. These key nutrients can be acquired through vitamin supplements. The majority of other essential minerals and vitamins can be found in common plant-based sources. Ensuring that there is variety in your vegan diet will help to ensure that you are getting a balanced nutritional load on a daily basis.
Foods That Vegans Avoid
When choosing a vegan diet, people actively avoid foods derived from animals, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, honey and gelatin. However, there are other products and ingredients that are derived from animals that serious vegans will also avoid, such as omega-3 supplements, vitamin D3 supplements, certain candies, beers, wines and bread products (using poultry feathers), as well as anything that has been fried in animal fat, includes animal-derived enzymes or contains anchovies and egg white albumen.
Foods That Vegans Eat
Some of the most popular vegan foods are tofu, tempeh, guacamole, falafel, fresh vegetables and fruit, quinoa, brown rice, legumes, nuts, lentils, potatoes and mushrooms, among many others. Increasingly, companies are releasing vegan products in grocery stores, so the range of potential food items on a vegan diet is steadily growing. Many vegans choose to make the majority of their own meals, particularly in areas with low levels of veganism, so carefully studying your dietary options and accumulating simple recipes is critical.