If one of your resolutions for 2019 is eating “healthier”, you may have considered the vegan diet. Increasing numbers of people have decided to go vegan for ethical, environmental or health reasons and, when done right, the vegan diet can have various health benefits.
For the beginners to this plant-based only food plan, there are some important things to know. Let’s break it down.
First, a vegan diet excludes ALL animal products and their derivatives including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Even honey is excluded since it is a byproduct of an animal, the bee. Vegetarians, depending on the type, consume eggs and/or dairy.
The vegan diet contains a high amount of nutrient-dense foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and soy products resulting in a food plan which tends to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol. All good news for your heart health.
Proper planning is key to a successful vegan diet plan. Those following poorly planned vegan diets are particularly at risk of certain nutrient deficiencies. One way to minimize the likelihood of deficiency is to limit the amount of processed vegan foods you consume and opt for nutrient-rich plant foods instead. Also, thoughtful use of supplements is beneficial when following a vegan diet. Consult with your doctor to determine which supplements in what combination will be the best for you.
All this is useful information, but what you really want to know is, “What can I eat on a vegan diet?”.
Here’s a list of acceptable vegan foods:
- Vegetables/Fruits: No limits. They’re all good.
- Grains: Think wheat, oat, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, quinoa.
- Legumes: Better known as lentils, peas, chickpeas and all types of beans.
- Nuts and seeds: Like almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia, flax, sunflower. The list is endless.
- Tofu and tempeh: Soy based meat substitutes.
- Plant-based oils: Tons of choices here – olive, coconut, peanut, canola, avocado, grapeseed, etc.
- Natural sweeteners: Honey is out, but try coconut sugar, maple syrup, and agave
Here are some vegan recipes to get you thinking.
Looking for more vegan recipe inspiration? Visit our Vegan Recipe collection on the Savory Recipe Center.