Vegan or veganism is a plant based diet pattern that advocates the exclusion of animal food and animal based food products in any form including eggs and dairy with other main animal foods. This diet focuses only on plant based foods and food products. Following a vegan diet is not so easy but when a vegan diet is followed correctly it proves to be highly nutritious and it can magically transform your body with a huge variety of meals in your diet.
Vegan diets tend to include a huge variety of vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. Consuming a large variety of plant based foods provides lots of vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients besides carbs, proteins & fats. People following a vegan diet tend to develop vit. B12& D, calcium & iron deficiency so they must take care of the intake of vit. B12, vit. D, calcium & iron in their diet additionally. They also must intake EPA & DHA through microalgae & seaweed food products as they are not present in normal vegan foods.
Types of vegan diets
- Whole food vegan diet – Based solely on whole plant foods like – fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc.
- Raw food vegan diet – Based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds & plant foods cooked below 48°C.
- 80/10/10 – It limits fat rich plants such as nuts & avocados and is based on intake of soft fruits & vegetables, sometimes also referred as fruitarian diet/low-fat plant based diet.
- The starch solution – It focuses on cooked starches like potatoes, rice & corn instead of fruits.
- Thrive diet – It is a form of raw plant based diet, but the food is cooked at minimal temperatures.
- Junk-food vegan diet – It lacks whole plant based foods and depends on mock meats, cheeses, fries, vegan desserts & other heavily processed vegan foods.
Benefits of the vegan diet
- Good for cardiovascular health
- Greatly supports weight management & weight loss
- Loaded with a huge variety of nutrients
- Provides a large variety of meals in the diet
- Prevents cancer, T2Dm, arthritis
- Supports better mental & emotional health
- Supports better & healthy skin
What you can eat
- Whole grains, millets & pseudocereals
- Green leafy vegetables
- Roots & tubers
- Nuts & seeds
- Vegetable & seed oils
- Tofu, tempeh, seitan
- Algae like spirulina, chlorella, etc.
- Sprouted & fermented foods
- Milk alternatives like – almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, coconut milk
What you cannot eat
- Fish & other sea foods
- Other meats in any forms
- Cream, ice-cream, cheese, & other dairy products
- Mayonnaise (but eggless mayonnaise can be consumed)
- Animal based ingredients like – whey, casein, lactose, gelatin, cochineal or carmine, isinglass, shellac, L-cysteine, animal-derived vit. D3 and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acid
The difference between vegan & vegetarian is that, vegan is strictly plant-based and does not permit any animal source in diet, not even egg & milk. Whereas in vegetarian diet only any meat & meat products are prohibited but the consumption of eggs & milk are allowed in the diet.