What Can You Eat on a Vegan Diet?
Bommanahalli, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
If you thought going vegetarian was good enough, there are people who have taken it a step further by going – VEGAN. While vegetarians avoid consuming fish, meat and poultry; vegans eliminate all forms of animal products; including milk, eggs and other dairy products. One can go vegan for environmental, ethical or some health reasons. While your cause could be for a greater good, vegans risk suffering from a lack of essential nutrients.
If done right, you can reap tremendous benefits from going Vegan. Weight loss, lower blood sugar, better heart health are some of the advantages of switching to a vegan diet.
If you have decided to go the “vegan way”, consider incorporating the following replacements in your diet.
- Tofu: Rich in protein, it is one of the best alternative for meat, eggs and poultry.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking enhances nutrient absorption.
- Nuts: Consuming unblanched and unroasted varieties of nuts are good sources of iron, fiber, selenium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin E.
- Seeds: Seeds variety such as hemp, chia and flax seeds contain a healthy amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Algae: Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of protein while other algae varieties provide iodine.
- Nutritional Yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add an interesting cheesy flavor. Pick vitamin B12-fortified varieties whenever possible.
- Whole Grains and Cereals: These are great sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, vitamin B and other minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are rich in proteins.
- Green Vegetables: Kale, broccoli, mustard greens, darker lettuces, chard, collard greens, arugula, green beans are all high in iron and calcium.
- Plant Proteins: Beans such as black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils and soya beans are all excellent sources of protein.
- Fruits: If you are on a vegan diet, it goes without saying that veggies and fruits are your saviours. If you don’t wish to include too much sugar in your diet, then avoid berries and pomegranates. Apples, oranges, grapes, mangoes, kiwi fruit, bananas, peaches, apricots, papayas, pears are all good options.
- Good Fats: There are good and bad fats. Avoid trans and saturated fats. Olive, coconut, fish and canola oil offer benefits for the brain, joint and heart.
- Whole Grains: Minimise or avoid all forms of flour. If you are planning on eating bread, try flourless sprouted grain breads. Quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, millet, steel cut oats are other grains to include in your vegan diet. If you’re allergic or intolerant to gluten, avoid consuming whole grains.
- Water: Doesn’t matter what diet you may be following, the benefits of drinking plenty of water cannot be stressed enough.
THE WAY FORWARD
A vegan lifestyle does not mean going cold turkey. You may miss the milk on your morning cereal and the cheese on your pizza. Restaurants do not seem appealing any more. Grocery shopping could be exhausting and a bit pricey but with time you will get accustomed to the vegan way of life.
Be mindful that a vegan diet requires careful planning. A dietician can help you chart out an adequate diet plan based on your personalised health needs. Making balanced choices and wholesome eating are the keys to a successful vegan diet.
Going vegan is easier than ever now and is becoming increasingly mainstream which means plenty of options and plenty of support system. What do you know, life could actually be better without ice cream and cheese!