What Can You Eat as a Vegan? Ultimate Guide
What can you eat as a vegan?If you are a newbie vegan or planning to become vegan for whatever reason, the main thing to educate yourself on is the dos and don'ts of embracing veganism. It is not rocket science to understand and remember what to eat and what no to when you are a vegan. Veganism is the term that is commonly used across the globe to define the way of living that prohibits animal exploitation and cruelty in the form of food, clothing, etc. It is a lifestyle that people follow religiously in order to exclude all animal products and do their best to limit the exploitation of animals in every possible way. If you are new to the concept of veganism or wonder “Why do people go vegan?”. Before we deep dive into what you can eat as a vegan? Let us get clear on the reasons why people embrace vegan food. People mostly go vegan in order to build a healthy lifestyle that also affects their quality of life. As the vegan diet has the potential to prevent one from many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc so veganism proves to be the best way to stay healthy. Ethical reasons such as animal cruelty are also considered by many people that motivate people to go vegan. Also, people who truly care about the environment avoid living the lifestyle that is harming it and start with a vegan lifestyle.
What do Vegans eat?
People usually think vegans don’t have many options to eat. But this list below will surely prove them wrong. There is also a perception in society that vegan food is boring but surprisingly that is not the case. If staying healthy is boring then veganism is life! It is true that most vegan food lacks proteins and nutrients when consumed in less quantity but there are also supplements (not strongly advisable) that can help balance those. Being a vegan can help you to maximize the consumption of nutrient-dense plant foods that aim to minimize processed foods, oils, and animal foods. Vegan excludes all animal products, seafood, poultry, dairy products, etc. Here is the awesome food list one can choose from being a vegan.
- Tofu, tempeh, and seitan: These provide a protein-rich alternative to meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Tofu and Tempeh are made from soybeans whereas seitan is made from wheat gluten.
- Nuts and nut butter: Nuts have a high content of fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and vitamins. Nuts should especially be consumed unblanched and unroasted.
- Calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurts: Vegan lacks calcium due to no intake of dairy products. Calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurt help them to achieve their recommended dietary calcium intake.
- Legumes: These are seeds of plants from the legume family. The legume family of plants produces a pod with seeds. This food category includes peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc.
- Seeds: This includes chia seeds, cumin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc. It contains a high amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial.
- Nutritional yeast: Vegan uses this as an ingredient in the food to increase the protein content. This also adds cheesy flavor to the food.
- Fruits and vegetables: This category includes all the varieties that are available under fruits and vegetables. Both are good if you wish to increase nutrient intake in your body. Many people prefer to eat green leafy vegetables for their high content of iron and calcium.
- Sprouted seed foods: Sprouted food is easier on our digestive system. These have higher nutritional value than a seed that hasn’t yet sprouted.
- Whole grains, cereals, and pseudocereals: These foods are a good source of fiber, iron, complex carb, B-vitamins, and several minerals. Amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat are examples of pseudocereal which are rich in protein.
- Algae: It is “the food of the future” as stated in a recent article by CNN. This vegan dish is protein-rich, releases oxygen into the atmosphere, and moreover requires no freshwater to grow. Algae are also rich in omega-3s that are very beneficial and found in fish oil, so this is a great alternative to fish oil for vegans.
Important vitamins and minerals vegans may lack:
Most vegan foods lack nutrients or protein. There are instances where it is difficult for few vegans to consume enough of the nutrient-rich food above to meet their daily requirements. For instance, vegans eliminate food sources of vitamin B-12, and also dairy products, which are good sources of calcium. So one must be sure that the diet that is being followed must include everything that a human body needs. A person needs to be discipline and planning to go vegan. For patients, who wish to follow veganism are recommended to include eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that may include beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains. They should also avoid or limit animal products (based on requirements due to health conditions), added fats, oils, and refined, processed carbohydrates.
- Vitamin B12: This is important to produce red blood cells in the body hence help prevent anemia. It is important for vegans to take vitamin supplements, fortified soy products, and cereals with vitamin content.
- Iodine: There are many supplements available for Iodine but the best one is the kitchen salt that can be used in your daily diet.
- Zinc: Zinc is not easily absorbed from most plant-based food. One can consume whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts, and wheat germ to deal with the deficiency of Zinc in the body. In terms of supplements, the most usual form to consume this is zinc gluconate or zinc citrate. It is not advised to take this at the same time as calcium supplements.
- Calcium: Calcium is best to maintain strong bones and teeth. Vegans can increase the intake of calcium through dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli.
- Vitamin D: This plays a great role in keeping the bones healthy. Vegans can consume it by drinking soy and rice milk, and eating some cereals and margarine. Moreover, sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D. If you lack vitamin D then you may need a vitamin D supplement.
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