An Ultimate Guide to The Vegan Diet (2021)

If you’re inviting friends to dinner who are vegan, you should carefully check the menu to make sure it follows two basic rules. Plant food is fine, but animal food should be avoided, including common ingredients such as eggs, cheese, milk and honey.

More and more people are choosing to follow a vegan diet. There are many reasons to eat this way. Some vegans do so to improve their health. A plant-based diet may lower the risk of certain diseases. Others stay away from meat because they don’t want to harm the animals or they want to protect the environment.

What is a Vegan Diet (What is Veganism)?

Veganism is defined as a lifestyle that seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and abuse of animals for food, clothing or other purposes. For this reason, a vegan diet is free from all animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy.

Vegan Diet

Foods to Eat

Veganism allows you to eat foods made from the plants, such as:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • legumes such as peas, beans and lentils
  • nuts and seeds
  • Bread, Rice, Pasta
  • Dairy alternatives such as soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk
  • vegetable oil

Foods You Can’t Eat 

Vegans cannot eat food made from animals, such as:

  • Beef, pork, lamb and other red meat
  • Chicken, duck and other poultry
  • Seafood such as crabs, clams, and mussels
  • egg
  • cheese, butter
  • Milk, cream, ice cream and other dairy products
  • Mayonnaise (with egg yolk)
  • Honey

Types of Vegan Diet

There are many types of vegan options. The most common are:

Junk Food Vegan

A vegan that lacks whole plant foods that rely heavily on simulated meat and cheese, french fries, vegan desserts, and other heavily processed vegan foods.

Wholefood Vegan

A diet based on a variety of vegan foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Thriving Diet

The Thriving Diet is a raw vegan diet. Followers eat whole plant foods raw or minimally cooked at low temperatures.

Raw Foods

Foods prepared from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or plant-based foods at temperatures below 118°F (48°C).

80/10/10

The 80/10/10 diet is a raw vegan diet that limits fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and relies heavily on raw fruits and soft vegetables instead. Also called a low-fat raw vegan or fruit diet.

Raw till 4 P.M

A low-fat vegan inspired by 80/10/10 and starch solutions. Raw food is consumed until 4 pm, with cooked plant-based meal options.

Starch solution

Similar to 80/10/10, but a low-fat, high-carb vegan that focuses on cooked starches like potatoes, rice and corn instead of fruits.

Also Read: A Low Carb Diet Plan for Your Health

Health Benefits of Vegan Diet

The following are the health benefits of a vegan diet plan – 

Vegan Diet

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fibre lower your risk of heart disease. All of these are usually consumed in large quantities by vegans.

Veganism lowers your risk of developing high blood pressure by up to 75%. It also lowers your risk of dying from heart disease by up to 42%.

Vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.

Helps Reduce Pain from Arthritis

Being vegan has positive effects on people with different types of arthritis. Arthritic patients following a vegan diet have higher energy levels and better general functioning.

A vegan diet improves symptoms such as pain, joint swelling, and morning stiffness.

Protects Against Cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by adjusting your diet. For example, consuming legumes regularly may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Also, eating at least 7 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily may lower your risk of dying from cancer.

A vegan diet generally contains more soy products, which may help prevent breast cancer.

Lowers Sugar Levels in Blood

Vegans have lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity, and up to a 50 to 78 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Improves Kidney Function

People who replace plant-based protein with meat, especially people with diabetes, may reduce the risk of kidney failure.

Helps Reduce Weight

Vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than other diets. Vegans tend to be thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI).

Increases Intake of Beneficial Nutrients 

Switching from a typical Western diet to a vegan diet will eliminate meat and animal products. This will inevitably make you more dependent on other foods. For vegan diets, substitutes take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Because these foods make up a higher proportion of vegans than typical western foods, you can consume more of certain beneficial nutrients each day.

Vegan Diet tends to provide more fibre, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. It also appears to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Risks and Minimization Methods

People who follow a vegan diet are at increased risk for inadequate blood levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, long-chain omega-3s, iodine, iron, calcium, and zinc.

Not getting enough of these nutrients is a concern for everyone, but may pose special risks for those with increased needs, such as children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

One way to minimize the potential for deficiency is to limit the amount of vegan processed foods you eat and choose nutrient-rich plant foods instead. Fortified foods, especially those rich in calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, should also appear on your plate every day. Also, vegans looking to increase the absorption of iron and zinc should try fermentation, germination and cooking.

Also, using cast-iron pots and pans for cooking, avoiding tea or coffee with meals, and combining iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C may further increase iron absorption. Adding seaweed or iodized salt to your diet can help vegans reach their recommended daily intake of iodine.

Finally, foods high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), such as chia, hemp, flaxseed, walnuts, and soy, can help your body produce long-chain omega-3s.

Conclusion

When done right, a vegan diet is easy to follow and can provide a variety of health benefits.

Vegans, especially those who cannot meet their daily nutrient requirements through diet alone, should consider supplements.

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Disclaimer

This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related topics. The information and other content provided on this blog are not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This blog does not advise, diagnose, or treat any medical, nursing, or other professional health services. We cannot diagnose the condition, provide secondary feedback, or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website. If you or anyone else has a medical concern, you should consult your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately.

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