Welcome to my post on the vegan diet for beginners. As you have got here you must have been thinking about this type of diet for a while or maybe you are just curious. I have researched this form of diet and here are my findings.
Vegan Diet For Beginners
As someone who is new to the vegan diet you may not have all the information you need yet, so let’s have a look at what this diet is all about.
Different Types of Vegan Diets
There are different varieties of vegan diets. The most common include:
- Whole-food vegan diet: A diet based on a wide variety of whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Raw-food vegan diet: A vegan diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or plant foods cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C).
- 80/10/10: The 80/10/10 diet is a raw-food vegan diet that limits fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and relies mainly on raw fruits and soft greens instead. Also referred to as the low-fat, raw-food vegan diet or fruitarian diet.
- The starch solution: A low-fat, high-carb vegan diet similar to the 80/10/10 but that focuses on cooked starches like potatoes, rice and corn instead of fruit.
- Raw till 4: A low-fat vegan diet inspired by the 80/10/10 and starch solution. Raw foods are consumed until 4 p.m., with the option of a cooked plant-based meal for dinner.
- The thrive diet: The thrive diet is a raw-food vegan diet. Followers eat plant-based, whole foods that are raw or minimally cooked at low temperatures.
- Junk-food vegan diet: A vegan diet lacking in whole plant foods that relies heavily on mock meats and cheeses, fries, vegan desserts and other heavily processed vegan foods.
Although several variations of the vegan diet exist, most scientific research rarely differentiates between different types of vegan diets.
Therefore, the information provided in this article relates to vegan diets as a whole.
Vegan Diets Can Help You Lose Weight
Vegans tend to be thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-vegans
This might explain why an increasing number of people turn to vegan diets as a way to lose excess weight.
Part of the weight-related benefits vegans experience may be explained by factors other than diet. These may include healthier lifestyle choices, such as physical activity, and other health-related behaviors.
Interestingly, the weight loss advantage persists even when whole-food-based diets are used as control diets.
What’s more, researchers generally report that participants on vegan diets lose more weight than those following calorie-restricted diets, even when they’re allowed to eat until they feel full
The natural tendency to eat fewer calories on a vegan diet may be caused by a higher dietary fiber intake, which can make you feel fuller.
Adopting a vegan diet may help keep your blood sugar in check and type 2 diabetes at bay.Vegan Diets, Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes
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
In addition, vegan diets reportedly lower blood sugar levels in diabetics up to 2.4 times more than diets recommended by the ADA, AHA and NCEP
Part of the advantage could be explained by the higher fiber intake, which may blunt the blood sugar response. A vegan diet’s weight loss effects may further contribute to its ability to lower blood sugar levels
BOTTOM LINE: Vegan diets seem particularly effective at improving markers of blood sugar control. They may also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Vegan Diets and Heart Health
A vegan diet may help keep your heart healthy.
Observational studies report vegans may have up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease
Several report that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL and total cholesterol than diets they are compared to.
These effects could be especially beneficial since reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar may reduce heart disease risk by up to 46%.
BOTTOM LINE:Vegan diets may improve heart health. However, more high-quality studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.
Foods to Avoid
Vegans avoid eating any animal foods, as well as any foods containing ingredients derived 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
- BOTTOM LINE: Vegans avoid consuming any animal flesh, animal byproducts or foods containing an ingredient from animal origin.
Foods to Eat
Health-conscious vegans substitute animal products with plant-based replacements, such as:
- Tofu, tempeh and seitan: These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative to meat, fish, poultry and eggs in many recipes.
- Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking can increase nutrient absorption.
- Nuts and nut butters: Especially unblanched and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
- Seeds: Especially hemp, chia and flaxseeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
- Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts: These help vegans achieve their recommended dietary calcium intakes. Opt for varieties also fortified with vitamins B12 and D whenever possible.
- Algae: Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of complete protein. Other varieties are great sources of 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, cereals and pseudocereals: These are a great source of complex carbs, fiber, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are especially high-protein options.
- Sprouted and fermented plant foods: Ezekiel bread, tempeh, miso, natto, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha often contain probiotics and vitamin K2. Sprouting and fermenting can also help improve mineral absorption.
- Fruits and vegetables: Both are great foods to increase your nutrient intake. Leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens are particularly high in iron and calcium.
BOTTOM LINE: These minimally processed plant foods are great additions to any vegan refrigerator or pantry.
Vegan Diet For Beginners
A Vegan Sample Menu for One Week
To help get you started, here’s a simple plan covering a week’s worth of vegan meals:
- Breakfast: Vegan breakfast sandwich with tofu, lettuce, tomato, turmeric and a plant-milk chai latte.
- Lunch: Spiralized zucchini and quinoa salad with peanut dressing.
- Dinner: Red lentil and spinach dal over wild rice.
- Breakfast: Overnight oats made with fruit, fortified plant milk, chia seeds and nuts.
- Lunch: Seitan sauerkraut sandwich.
- Dinner: Pasta with a lentil bolognese sauce and a side salad.
- Breakfast: Mango and spinach smoothie made with fortified plant milk and a banana-flaxseed-walnut muffin.
- Lunch: Baked tofu sandwich with a side of tomato salad.
- Dinner: Vegan chili on a bed of amaranth.
- Breakfast: Whole-grain toast with hazelnut butter, banana and a fortified plant yogurt.
- Lunch: Tofu noodle soup with vegetables.
- Dinner: Jacket sweet potatoes with lettuce, corn, beans, cashews and guacamole.
- Breakfast: Vegan chickpea and onion omelet and a cappuccino made with fortified plant milk.
- Lunch: Vegan tacos with mango-pineapple salsa.
- Dinner: Tempeh stir-fry with bok choy and broccoli.
- Breakfast: Spinach and scrambled tofu wrap and a glass of fortified plant milk.
- Lunch: Spiced red lentil, tomato and kale soup with whole-grain toast and hummus.
- Dinner: Veggie sushi rolls, miso soup, edamame and wakame salad.
- Breakfast: Chickpea pancakes, guacamole and salsa and a glass of fortified orange juice.
- Lunch: Tofu vegan quiche with a side of sautéed mustard greens.
- Dinner: Vegan spring rolls.
Remember to vary your sources of protein and vegetables throughout the day, as each provides different vitamins and minerals that are important for your health.
BOTTOM LINE: You can eat a variety of tasty plant-based meals on a vegan diet.
Healthy Vegan Snacks
Snacks are a great way to stay energized and keep hunger at bay between meals.
Some interesting, portable vegan options include:
- Fresh fruit with a dollop of nut butter
- Hummus and vegetables
- Nutritional yeast sprinkled on popcorn
- Roasted chickpeas
- Nut and fruit bars
- Trail mix
- Chia pudding
- Homemade muffins
- Whole-wheat pita with salsa and guacamole
- Cereal with plant milk
- Whole-grain crackers and cashew nut spread
- A plant-milk latte or cappuccino
- Dried seaweed snacks
Whenever planning a vegan snack, try to opt for fiber- and protein-rich options, which can help keep hunger away.
BOTTOM LINE: These portable, fiber-rich, protein-rich vegan snacks are convenient options to help minimize hunger between meals.
The above information was taken from an article on Healthline.com here is a link to the full article.
Disadvantages: Vegan diets are free of meat, eggs, milk products, and all derivatives of them. While most people adjust over time, many find this quite difficult at first as it significantly restricts meal and restaurant options. As a result, grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking can be a big change and take more time. Vegans have a higher risk for certain nutrient deficiencies, such as protein, iron, zinc, and B12. However, these are not inherent problems in the diet and can be avoided with good planning and occasional supplements.
Side effects: There are no side effects to a well planned vegan diet, but this can be challenging at first. Some people feel hungry, fatigued, or lightheaded.
Mistakes: Like the vegetarian diet, a vegan diet isn’t necessarily healthy. Make sure you’re eating whole grains and healthy fats, not refined oils and carbohydrates. Not all vegan foods are low calorie, so you still need to pay attention to fat content and total caloric intake.
Tips: Get plenty of protein and micro nutrients from soy, lentils, and beans. Take a B12 supplement or drink B12-fortified soy milk.
If you are still interested in trying the vegan diet why not take the 1 month challenge.
I hope you found this vegan diet for beginners information helpful and I wish you all the best with your new way of eating.
Leave a comment below and keep in touch and let me know how you get on.