What Is a Vegan Diet?

What Is a Vegan Diet?

 

If you’re looking for a way to live healthier, there are two ways to do so. You can go on a vegetarian or a vegan diet. Probably most are familiar that vegetarians avoid meat, poultry and fish in their diet. However, some are a bit confused to what a vegan is. What is a vegan diet exactly?Vegan-Food-Pyramid

Veganism goes a step further than vegetarianism by not only avoiding meat but also not consuming and using other products that come from animals. Foods like eggs, milk and honey are not included in a vegan’s diet while they also refrain from using animal by-products such as wool, fur, silk, leather, soaps and make-up. Now that you’re aware of what is a vegan diet basically, you can now dwell on some details to help you decide if going vegan is right for you.

Why Go Vegan?

The reasons for going vegan are aplenty. However, vegans usually go through this path due to three main factors – personal health, care for the environment and ethical treatment of animals.

Food Staples for the Vegan

Though it is relatively easier to just be a meat-eater, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to eat if you become a vegan. In fact, there are vegan alternatives for practically every kind of food there is.

For your dairy needs, you can go for milk made from almond, hemp, rice or soy. Daiya is a great way to enjoy the cheese flavor that, well, cheese gives without the dairy component. Like cream cheese and sour cream on your bread, try mock cream cheese like Tofutti.

A common and often annoying question that is asked most vegans and even vegetarians is where they get their protein. If protein is your only concern, there are lots of other sources aside from meat. Nuts and nut butters, seeds of chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower, all kinds of beans and some vegetables like edamame, broccoli and all leafy greens are excellent sources of protein. Non-dairy milk also provides protein as well as sun-dried tomatoes and quinoa. Now if your problem circles on missing the taste of burgers, steaks and other meat dishes, there is still a way to go vegan without skipping a beat. There are mock meats that don’t sway too far from the taste of the real thing. Seitan is a meat substitute that comes from wheat gluten. Tempeh (soybean-based), tofu and grain-based products from Field Roast are excellent meat alternatives. The Tofurkey is a great way to stay vegan during Thanksgiving Day while burgers made from beans or mushrooms can definitely give beef patties a run for their money.

What is a vegan diet for if there is no pasta involved, right? Good thing for pasta lovers, there are multigrain pasta that you can use to make your vegan version of the meatball spaghetti or the pasta puttanesca. Asians love their rice and it’s a great thing that it is not included in the vegan’s prohibition list. But if you truly want to eat healthy, go for brown rice instead. You can also enjoy other grains such as the protein-rich quinoa, couscous and wheat breads.

Your cupboard will not be complete without the following:

  • Agar agar (substitute for gelatin)
  • Agave or maple syrup (substitute for honey)
  • Coconut oil
  • Dried mushrooms
  • Miso paste
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegan mayonnaise
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetable shortening (for baking)

 

Master The Vegan Shopping Menu

Master the weekly shopping list and menus

The best Lemonade detox diet and recipes.

The best Lemonade detox diet and recipes.

There is one reason why we feature a menu planner for every week of the month as
part of the Raw Vegan Mentor Club: Following a menu plan and a shopping list
works.

Anyone that either has a family to feed or is on a strict diet will tell you that it is much
easier to organize your week when you start with a week outline of what you will eat
and shop accordingly.

 

Having a menu plan to follow will help you to:

 

1. Get a good variety of foods

2. Avoid boredom

3. Discover new recipes

 

4. Plan ahead and save time and money
I find it fairly easy to only plan for dinner, because breakfast and lunch are generally
the same thing: either fruit, or a fruit or green smoothie. However, it can also plan to
have a few “alternative” lunches and breakfasts once in a while, and try out different
variations on the same theme.

For dinner, I believe it’s extremely important to have an idea of what recipes or
meals you will make in advance. Because dinner is the time where most people tend
to fall off the wagon, and also when we crave an actual tasty and savory meal and
not just more fruit, it’s important to plan ahead.

It works to sit down and get a few ideas on Sunday or Saturday of what you’ll eat
during the following weak. Then, this outline can be posted on the fridge, and you
can create a shopping list accordingly.

Or, simply use one of our pre-made menu planners that you’ll find each month in the
member’s area of the Raw Vegan Mentor Club, and feel free to customize it to your
needs.

For optimal physical and mental health, I also recommend the following:

* Have at least 2 or 3 days a week where you eat absolutely no fat (no
avocados, nuts, seeds, etc.)

* Have one “treat” night per week. This can be different for each person, either a
night eating out, a gourmet raw recipe, a tasty but maybe not completely raw meal,
etc.

It has to be something you really enjoy, something you might not want to eat
everyday, but also something that’s not going to leave you feeling completely
destroyed the next day. If you try to eat always the same thing, day after day and be
“perfect”, eventually you might feel so frustrated that you’ll want to jump off the
wagon completely. Avoid that by scheduling some healthy “cheat” time once a week.

Again, this does not mean going out and having a double-cheese pizza with beer,
but simply allowing yourself to let go a little bit and prepare something tasty, even if it
does not follow 100% the strictest guidelines you normally set for yourself.