A Vegan Diet Can Be One Of The Healthiest Ways To Live And It Is Simple Contrary To What Most People Think
Your health can benefit from a vegan lifestyle because it can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer, according to The Vegan Society.
A vegan diet is generally a high alkaline diet which can help protect your body from hosting other illnesses and help fight against chronic diseases too.
Veganism is also great for the environment because it can reduce the worlds water requirements and water pollution.
When converting to a vegan diet, it is important for you to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
You need to create a diet for yourself that is rich in protein, iron, calcium, other essential vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and strong.
Most people are concerned about the following when they are considering a vegan diet:
This is what we are going to talk about today along with our top tips to begin a plant-based diet, so lets get to it.
Swap Your Meats Cheeses And Milk For Their Plant
Rather than relying on faux meat products and dairy-free cheese which are technically vegan but arent always the healthiest to satisfy your omnivorous cravings, Springer recommends finding whole plant foods with similar textures and tastes. Portobello mushrooms, for instance, have a meaty texture and umami flavor that makes them an ideal substitute for a classic burger. And mashed chickpeas are perfect for a tuna salad, she explains.
Other vegan swaps are super innovative but just as delicious as the OG. Jackfruit can be used to make barbecue pulled pork, and mashed lentils with chopped walnuts and spices can be a yummy substitute for ground beef, says Springer. Tofu works well in a breakfast scramble. And nutritional yeast, which is a great source of protein and B vitamins, also has a nice cheesy flavor that can be used as a replacement for Parmesan cheese.
How To Stay Healthy On A Vegan Diet
Theres still a belief that a vegan diet cant cover all of your nutritional needs but with a little knowledge and planning, it can be a great way to maximise your whole foods intake and sustain a healthier, more rounded, diet. The main nutrients which are trickier to obtain from a vegan diet include: omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12, but luckily, Medhurst, our expert nutritionist, has broken everything down below, so you can stay on top of those much-needed nutrients:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Synonymous with fish, aim for soya-based products and green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils , nuts and seeds .
- Calcium: Associated with dairy milk, instead use dairy-free options, most of which are fortified with calcium to the same level as cows milk. Other plant-based sources of calcium include: sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, green leafy vegetables , tofu, beans, peas and lentils .
- Iron: Boost your iron by combining iron-rich foods with vitamin C foods, which will help absorption.
- Vitamin B12 rich foods: This vitamin is needed for the production of red blood cells, as well as ensuring your brain and nerve cells function properly. However, Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient not available from plants. The only reliable way is to consume dairy-free milks, breakfast cereals, yeast extracts, nutritional yeast and mushrooms, or by supplementation. Make sure you check the labels for fortification.
Plant-based sources of iron:
Vitamin C rich foods:
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How Do I Start An Alkaline Vegan Diet
Adequate fluid intake with still water and unsweetened tea is not only the top priority for an alkaline-excess diet, but should be observed with every diet.All metabolic processes can only function optimally if there is enough liquid in our organism.
Blood as a body fluid has a pH of 7.36 and is therefore slightly alkaline.All of your bodys functions come down to keeping this value in balance.If this does not work due to too many acids, serious illnesses can result.
Depending on body size and physical activity, but also for long days at the desk and especially in warmer temperatures, two to three liters of water per day are a good guideline.
Our mothers were right!Whether spinach, salads, cucumbers, or cabbage vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts, whether cooked, raw or steamed vegetables are and will remain an all-rounder! Thats why you should always give a new chance to vegetables that you didnt like before.
Two hands carefully hold green lettuce in their hands.All vegetables, including starchy root vegetables potatoes, beetroot) consist largely of fiber and easily digestible carbohydrates.Thanks to their starch, they are filling side dishes and perfectly round off a wholesome plant-based meal with other vegetables and legumes.
Foods that are particularly acidic include highly processed convenience foods and products of animal origin.This includes all sausage and meat products, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Vegan Diet Meal Plan: Day 1
- Breakfast: Whisk ¼ cup of chia seeds and a scoop of almond butter into a cup of almond milk. Let it sit for an hour , then top with fresh berries and enjoy.
- Lunch: Make a vegan sandwich with seared tofu, sprouts, shredded carrots, and smashed avocado.
- Dinner: Whip up a hearty butternut squash soup with roasted squash and garlic, coconut oil, and red curry paste.
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The Vegan Diet And Health
The vegan diet has the reputation of being healthy for many reasons. When it comes to healthy fats, for example, the vegan diet recommends eating about two servings of extra virgin olive oil a day. A recent review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who followed a vegan diet also experienced a 32% reduction in risk of heart disease and a 12% decrease in the risk of breast cancer compared with people who didn’t follow this type of diet.
Additionally, there are lots of benefits to your overall physical health that come with making healthy eating choices, like feeling less stressed out, keeping your weight in check, improving your mood and regulating your metabolism.
A vegan diet is a low-carb and high-protein eating plan that is good for your health. Like most dietary changes, it will take time to adjust to the new diet. The idea behind a vegan diet is to eat plant-based foods so you don’t have to rely on animal products to meet your daily protein needs and still feel your best.
There are a ton of health benefits that come with following a vegan diet. A vegan diet helps you avoid high-glycemic foods, which are carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar levels. Carbs stimulate fat burning. A vegan diet can be even more beneficial for weight loss, as long as you’re eating enough protein. Going vegan can also improve your heart health, due to the high concentration of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.
Shopping Tips For Vegans
If youre new to vegan cooking, follow our shopping guide for vegan-friendly ingredients:
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A Healthier Weight And Blood Sugar Level In People With Diabetes
In another study, which was published in September 2019 in Translational Psychology, researchers concluded that this diet is beneficial for boosting metabolism, managing weight, and reducing inflammation, especially among people with obesity and those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Another study found that a plant-based diet may play a role in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, and the authors cite research that suggests this diet may help reduce the risk of other chronic illnesses, including cancer. One review suggested that a plant-based diet has a positive effect on emotional and physical well-being, quality of life, and general health for people living with type 2 diabetes, while also improving physical markers of the condition in this population.
How To Start A Vegan Diet
- Begin by removing all animal products from your diet .
- Give up butter and milk for a month.
- Get used to raw or homemade cooking.
- Eliminate all meat, fish, dairy and eggs for a month.
- Eat vegan food and drink vegan beverages.
- Start slowly by limiting the non-vegan staples like cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
- Take your time and enjoy the long-term benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
For some, starting a vegan diet is scary. But it’s often the case that people don’t know where to start. Starting a vegan diet is simple, but it can be daunting to commit to for an entire month, says Lauren Fuller, a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Begin by tracking your calories by taking your weight and dividing it by 2. Next, use the Body Mass Index calculator on the National Institutes of Health website to determine your Body Fat Percentage . Use this number as a baseline for your initial starting weight, and weigh yourself every other week. Finally, find out about your protein requirements with the National Institutes of Health website or by talking to your doctor. That’s all you need to get started.
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Foods That Vegans Eat
Avoiding animal products doesnt restrict you to eating salads and tofu alone. Theres a wide variety of delicious foods you can eat on a vegan diet.
Here are a few ideas:
- Beans, peas, and lentils: such as red, brown, or green lentils chickpeas split peas black-eyed peas black beans white beans and kidney beans
- Soy products: such as fortified soy milk, soybeans, and products made from them, such as tofu, tempeh, and natto
- Nuts: such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, and their butters
- Seeds: such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and their butters, as well as flaxseed, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
- Whole grains: such as quinoa, whole wheat, whole oats, and whole grain brown or wild rice, as well as products made from these foods, such as whole grain bread, crackers, and pasta
- Starchy vegetables: such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, beets, and turnips
- Nonstarchy vegetables: such as broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, radishes, and leafy greens these may be raw, frozen, canned, dried, or pureed
- Fruit: such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, mango, pineapple, oranges, and tangerines these may be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or pureed
- Other plant-based foods: such as algae, nutritional yeast, fortified plant milks and yogurts, and maple syrup
Theres a good chance that many of the dishes you currently enjoy either already are vegan or can be made vegan with a few simple adjustments.
Milk Infant Formula And Plant
Up to the age of six months, breastmilk or infant formula is the only food your baby needs.Until 12 months, breastmilk or infant formula should still be the main drink, although small amounts of full-fat cows milk can be used in cooking. Goats or sheeps milk is not recommended. Do not give your child unpasteurised milk it can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.Plant-based milks such as soymilk and other nutritionally incomplete plant-based milks are not suitable alternatives to breastmilk or infant formula for babies under 12 months.After 12 months, under the guidance of your nurse, doctor or dietitian, full-fat fortified soy drink or calcium-enriched rice and oat beverages can be used. Your childs diet should contain other adequate sources of protein and vitamin B12 before these milks are introduced.If you are going to place your child on a vegetarian or vegan diet, seek advice from a health professional on how to maintain a balanced diet and any supplements needed.
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Stock Your Kitchen With The Essentials
If you want to be successful with your vegan diet plan and ultimately reap its health benefits you need to load your fridge and pantry with the staples. Keep plenty of fruits and veggies on hand, which are packed with immune-boosting nutrients as well as fiber to keep you full. Unless you hit the grocery store every day or run your own garden, it can be challenging to maintain a supply of fresh produce, which is why Springer recommends stocking up on frozen versions of your faves. They are often frozen at the peak of ripeness, which maintains their nutritional integrity, and they are very inexpensive, she adds. They are also a great way to enjoy seasonal produce year-round. Also consider keeping potatoes, apples, and winter squash on hand, as these varieties of produce have a longer shelf life, says Springer.
For quick proteins, turn to canned or dried beans as well as whole grains, nuts, and seeds from the bulk bins at your local supermarket, all of which are relatively inexpensive, nutritious, and have a super long shelf, explains Springer.
Healthy Eating As A Vegan
You can get the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet including fortified foods and supplements.
For a healthy vegan diet:
- eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates
- have some fortified dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks and yoghurts
- eat some beans, pulses and other proteins
- eat nuts and seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids every day
- choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat in small amounts
- have fortified foods or supplements containing nutrients that are more difficult to get through a vegan diet, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine, selenium, calcium and iron
- drink plenty of fluids
If you choose to include foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar, have them less often and in small amounts.
See The Eatwell Guide for more information about a healthy diet.
The Eatwell Guide applies to vegetarians, vegans, people of all ethnic origins and those who are a healthy weight for their height, as well as those who are overweight.
The only group The Eatwell Guide is not suitable for is children under the age of 2, as they have different needs.
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Dont Try To Veganize Your Favorite Foods
As stress-free as it is to swap your beef burger with a faux meat product, Springer stresses that relying on vegan substitutes can actually make adopting a vegan diet plan more challenging. often wont taste like what they are accustomed to, or they try to cook with new, hard-to-find vegan ingredients, she says. Therefore, they struggle with finding satisfying vegan meals.
Instead, Springer recommends sticking with the basics and focusing on familiar meals that just happen to be vegan. Start off with simple plant-based dishes such as hearty bowls of oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts roasted veggie hummus wraps peanut butter and banana sandwiches and veggie stir-fries with brown rice, she suggests.
Day 1 Total Calories: 1508
Notes: Make enough of the dinner pasta for Day 3. If you need to soak beans for the rice on Day 2, start today.
2 slices of simple avocado toastwith olive oil and black pepper
550 Calories, 42.9g carbs, 40.8g fat, 11.2g protein
2 servings berry smoothie bowlwith almond milk, spinach, and banana
424 calories, 90g carbs, 6g fat, 8.2g protein
1 serving eggplant and mushroomred lentil rotini pasta with green beans
534 calories, 81.4g carbs, 14.4g fat, 26.6g protein
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Vegan Diets Blood Sugar And Type 2 Diabetes
Adopting a vegan diet may help keep your blood sugar in check and type 2 diabetes at bay.
Several studies show that vegans benefit from lower blood sugar levels, higher insulin sensitivity, and up to a 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-vegans (
That said, keep in mind that most of the studies supporting these benefits are observational. This makes it difficult to determine whether the vegan diet directly caused the benefits.
Randomized controlled studies are needed before researchers can make strong conclusions.
A vegan diet is linked to several other health benefits. However, more research is needed to determine whether the diet was a direct cause of those benefits.
Vegans avoid eating any animal foods, as well as any foods containing ingredients that come from animals. These include:
- Meat and poultry: beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
- Fish and seafood: all types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
- Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
- Eggs: from chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
- Bee products: honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.
- Animal-based ingredients: whey, casein, lactose, egg white albumen, gelatin, cochineal or carmine, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, animal-derived vitamin D3, and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids
Will Switching To A Vegan Diet Help Me Lose Weight
A vegan diet that emphasizes nutritious, whole plant foods and limits processed ones may help you lose weight.
As mentioned in the weight loss section above, vegan diets tend to help people eat fewer calories without having to consciously restrict their food intake.
That said, when matched for calories, vegan diets are no more effective than other diets for weight loss .
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