Frequently asked questions about the Vegan Diet:
- What is a plant-based vegan diet?
- What does it mean to live a vegan lifestyle?
- How does vegan differ from vegetarian?
- What does a vegan plate look like?
- What happens to your body when you switch to a vegan diet?
We keep hearing more and more talks and discussions on people switching to a new lifestyle, switching to a vegan life.
But what exactly does it mean to live a vegan lifestyle? Is it something to be proud of or something that seeks global attention?
Well, the answer is a big ‘Yes’. But before we jump to understanding what a vegan lifestyle is, first lets’ try to understand about the vegan diet.
Difference Between Vegetarians and Vegans
A vegetarian is someone who consumes plant-based foods most of the time containing animal products such as milk, curd, cheese, etc. They do not consume animals or fishes.
Vegetarians might, however, consume eggs as part of their vegetarian diets.
A vegan is someone who strictly consumes plant-based foods.
In other worde, a vegan is a strict vegetarian who does not eat dairy products and honey.
Vegan’s only source of vitamins is vegetables and fruits that they include in their diets.
However tropical orange juice is not included in a vegan diet since it contains fish oil and fish gelatin including tilapia, sardine, and anchovies.
The revolutionary fighter of India, Mahatma Gandhi(Bappu) was a vegetarian. He also vowed to give up on milk and dairy product making him close to a vegan.
What is a Vegetarian Journal?
Vegetarian Journal is a book on vegetarianism.
It helps to educate the mass about vegetarianism and interrelated topics such as issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics, and world hunger.
It is published by a non-profit organization called “The Vegetarian Resource Group”.
Vegetarian Diets Types
A vegetarian diet is more than just a plant-based diet the omission of meat or fish from the menu, it is more than that.
Vegetarian diets vary according to the foods people tend to include or exclude.
Below are the five different types of vegetarian diet:
- Lacto-vegetarian diet: A Lacto-vegetarian diet is a subcategory of a vegetarian diet that includes plant-based foods and a dairy product.
- Ovo-vegetarian diet: An Ova-vegetarian diet includes plant-based foods and excludes all the animal products except for the eggs.
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet: As suggested by the name, a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet is the combination of the Lacto-vegetarian and Ova-vegetarian diet. The diet includes plant-based foods, dairy product as well as eggs.
- Vegan diet: A vegan diet is a strictly plant-based diet consisting of vegetables, grains, fruits, and nuts, etc.
Now you might have questions such as why go the next level? Isn’t a vegetarian diet good enough for people?
The answer to these questions is a big ‘No’. Let me explain why and how.
So, the thing with vegetarian diets is that it includes animal products as a part of their diet. Some even include eggs as a part of their vegetarian diet.
These products are mostly obtained from animals, forcefully, or by torturing them in a certain way. And vegan believes that the product obtained by torturing the animals (milk) is just the same product obtained by killing the animals(meat).
Thus, vegetarian diets still weren’t good enough to satisfy the soul of people who sympathize with animals. They urge to stop any and all kinds of animal cruelty that is currently going on all over the world. This is how a vegetarian diet got evolved into a strictly veg diet, vegan diet.
What is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet is exclusively composed up of a plant-based diet only. It is a pure veg diet that doesn’t include any animal products. Unlike a vegetarian diet that includes animal products such as milk, cheese, butter, etc.
You could also say that a vegan diet is the next level of a plant-based vegetarian diet.
By going on a strict plant-based vegan diet you give up on any and all animal products including dairy products and honey.
You only get to enjoy fresh greens, fruits, grains, legumes, and nuts.
But there is more to a vegan diet than just thriving on a strictly plant-based diet.
There are different types of vegan who happen to eat a wide variety of vegan diets.
Some like to eat raw foods as a part of their diet while some others prefer eating whole-grains as part of their vegan diet.
And there are those who eat fruits and nuts only for the most part of their diet.
So a vegan diet is more than just a strict plant-based diet plan. It is the pure emotion of the mass who see animals as equals and want to protect the environment.
Thrive on a Vegan Diet: Eat vegan
Most of the people still have a misconception that going on a strict plant-based vegan diet might not fulfill their nutritional needs.
But it is not true at all. You can still fulfill your daily nutritional needs by going on a vegan diet. You just need to learn how to eat right and select your foods wisely.
Once you’ve learned how to decorate your vegan plate you can get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients your body needs to live a healthy life.
The Vegan Plate
Not all vegan diets are made equal. Vegan diets are designed specifically in order to meet the needs of a specific group of vegan.
The fruitarian vegan diet for example does not include greens and vegetables as a part of their diet. This may result in a lack of essential nutrients needed for your body.
It is thus important that you choose your vegan diet plan wisely in order to meet your daily nutritional needs.
Else you might become a victim of malnutrition and might have to face severe consequences. Comparing your plate with the vegan plate is highly advised.
Comparing yours with ‘the vegan plate‘ will provide you with vital insights.
You can also find out if you’re missing out on some of the essential vitamins and minerals.
A balanced Vegan Diet consists of:
- It is advised that you eat fruits and vegetables at least 400g portions per day including 30g of dried fruits.
- You should also include foods rich in starch such as oats, brown rice, wholemeal bread, etc. in your every meal serving.
- It would be wise to eat foods rich in protein such as beans, chickpeas, tofu, soya milk, plant milk, peanuts, etc. on every meal.
- You can also eat nutty foods on a daily basis since they’re rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Lastly, consume foods rich in calcium such as calcium-fortified foods and calcium-set tofu.
Growing Vegan Products
With the love of mass for plant-based foods on the rise, many companies and organizations have stepped it the challenge to provide vegan people with varieties of food product choices. Today there are more than 1300 companies registered with vegan trademark and they produce 44,000 products worldwide.
Surprisingly, personal care products(cosmetic products) are among the some of the most produced vegan products which account for up to 25% of all the vegan products currently being produced.
Studies suggest that the United Kingdom has launched more vegan products in the year 2018 than any other country in the world. While Germany holds the record for the most trademarks holders.
Some of the popular vegan product categories are vegan cosmetic products, nondairy milk, vegan junk foods, etc.
Vegan Cookbook: Simply Vegan
If you’re someone, who is planning to go on a strict plant-based vegan diet, you might face certain challenges. Such as to what you need to eat, or how to prepare. But do not get alarmed just yet cuz we have a lifesaver on our side i.e. “Simply Vegan- a complete vegan cookbook”.
It has all the necessary instructions that you’ll be needing in order to master yourself with the vegan recipes. The ‘Simply Vegan’ cookbook has already published its fish edition and it is available for sale at a price tag of $15.95.
Vegan Places to Eat
There are a lot of vegan-only places to eat around the world. Especially in developed countries such as the United States and the UK. Search for the keywords Happy Cow and enter the name of the place you live in.
A list of nearby vegan restaurants and hotels will appear along with the user rating for the place. It is one of the easiest ways to choose a great vegan restaurant and cafes in your area for you to chow down.
If there ain’t any available in the area, your best bet would be to search for traditional vegetarian hotels and restaurants in the area where you can easily find vegan foods items.
Some of the common vegan foods items that you can chow down on are:
- Vegan hot dog
- Veggie burgers
- Vegan sandwiches
Now that you understand what a vegan diet is, let us move onto the vegan lifestyle. But first decide what you want to choose to eat vegetarian or vegan diets.
What is a Vegan Lifestyle?
The Vegan Society defines the vegan lifestyle as “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” That pretty much sums what it means to live a vegan lifestyle.
A vegan lifestyle is an art of living life with the feeling of equality towards all and every living being. By undertaking the responsibility of protecting their rights as equals to mankind. And by not taking part in any and all kinds of activities that involve killing of animals for food and clothing.
Apart from not consuming any and all animal products for food and for other purposes they also working to stop animal sufferings and cruelty towards the animals directly or indirectly.
It is more than just eating a strictly plant-based diet on a daily basis excluding any and all kinds of animal products. Rather it is a way of living life, one that is guilt-free and does not require torturing or killing of animals.
Vegans believe in living side by side with animals without disturbing the natural process. They stand for justice to the animals who cannot speak or fight for themselves. They do not use any and all kinds of animal-derived ingredients and products. And the list doesn’t stop there, vegan prohibit oneself from using consumer products such as cosmetics, soap, etc.
Types of Vegans
Veganism is the practice of rejecting the use of any and all kinds of animal products. Especially in diet and also ensures that the commodity status of animals is reverted to non-existing from the world. It is purely based on the philosophy of “live and let others live as well“.
It does sound fair enough, doesn’t it?
I mean every form of life on this planet has a meaning and a purpose to fulfill and we being on the top of the food chain should not take everything for granted. Instead, we should work to preserve their rights and not the other way around. This is how the concept of veganism was first implemented.
We can categorize veganism into three distinct types. They are:
- Dietary vegans
- Ethical vegans
- Environmental veganism
Dietary vegans are the ones who consume plant-based food which includes, fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, etc. as their only source of diet. They are often referred to as strict vegetarians.
Ethical vegans take the principle of veganism to the next level. These are individuals who abide by the self-made principle of not including animals for any and all purposes of life along with a vegan diet.
The term environmental veganism refers to stopping of usage of all kinds of animal products based on the understanding that industrial farming of animals is harmful to the environment in the long run and thus is unsustainable.
Why Go Vegan and Join The Vegan Team?
Now that you know all about the vegan and vegan lifestyle, it’s time you join the team, and that too for a greater cause. Joining ‘The vegan team‘ isn’t just good for animals but for you as well.
Here are two primary reasons why you should consider joining the vegan team:
1. Health Benefits of Eating Vegan Diet
- You could keep your body healthy by not consuming meat items which are the main source of saturated fat in our body.
- The lessor or no intake of saturated fat helps your body organs. Especially your heart to stay healthy and function well.
- You will less likely suffer from high blood pressure on a plant-based diet.
- You’ll also less likely suffer from diseases such as heart disease and stroke which is caused by the high level of LTL cholesterol in your blood.
- Folic acid found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, etc. helps your body to produce and maintain new cells.
- Infants and children can also benefit from a vegan diet. Feeding a vegan diet to infants and children improves their health. it also reduces their chances of premature death.
- Your overall health may improve if you go on a plant-based vegan diet.
Your body will be thanking you for dumping all the extra calories that you would be gaining from eating animal products. And you’ll most likely end up losing body weight as you progress.
Things don’t stop there, your mental state will improve and you’ll grow an attachment to other living beings.
You might as well find yourself completely transformed and that too for good. Some studies also suggest the people who live on a vegan diet tend to live a long and healthy life.
2. Effects of Livestock Farming
A comprehensive study of the damages livestock farming does to the planet by Oxford University in 2018 found that by avoiding meat and dairy products we can reduce the impact on Earth. Since animal farming only contributes to 18% of the total calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Another study suggests that farm animals contribute up to 80% of the total greenhouse gas emission for the agriculture sector. Greenhouse gas is one of the major causes of climate change.
How To Become a Vegan?
If you’re someone who is planning to go vegan, it is highly recommended that you take it show.
Rushing will do no good to you nor your health. Rather it might have an adverse effect on your body as well as your health.
There’s always the right way of doing things. Taking one step at a time is the best practice as advised by the health experts.
Here’s a stepwise procedure to get you started on your vegan journey:
Step 1: Go easy on yourself
When you decide to start living a vegan life, you should start at your own pace.
Take your time switching from your regular meals to a vegan meal. You can do so by switching to alternative products one at a time. For instance, you can start by going for eggs instead of meat and fish.
Later you can switch eggs with dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Once you’ve stepped into a vegetarian realm, it will be easy for you to switch to vegan.
Step 2: Try new things
When you go vegan, trying out new things is the best decision for you. Your test buds will thank you for treating them with all the varieties of vegan cousins available out there.
You can also learn to prepare some for yourself without any difficulty. You’ll be surprised by the amount of time that you can save by switching to vegan cousins.
Step3: Never stop learning
Learning is the key to achieving your ultimate goal. It is the same when you want to achieve your ultimate goal of living a vegan lifestyle.
Educate yourself on all the health benefits that you’ll be having when you switch to a vegan diet.
Also, educate yourself on the impact that you’re making on the environment and nature.
Veganism is a relatively new concept of living your life fully dependent on plant-based food sources. It is a difficult feat in the world where non-vegs rule.
So, you must gather all the courage you can in order to fight for the right cause. And reading about vean lifestyle will provide you with all the courage you need.
Step 4: Seek advice from experts
When you switch from a non-veg food source as your primary diet to a plant-based diet, your body will undergo certain changes. In such a tough time, you need an expert to guide you around.
Do not hesitate to find an expert and seek proper advice. An easy way to seek advice is to join “The vegan society“. By joining the vegan society you’ll grow as a vegan and learn all the aspects of a vegan life.
Step 5: Remember the cause and keep pushing forward
Walking down a new path with now friends accompany you is always a difficult one. The same goes for veganism.
In the world dominated by meat lovers, it is very challenging to find a friend who is going to support you mentally.
Instead, you’ll come across many who’ll shame you for eating vegetation when you’ve got lots of tasty foods to sink your teeth on.
In such a desperate situation, you should remind yourself of your goal and the reason you are switching and push forward without feeling regretful.
Step 6: Never give up
The final step in your journey of switching from a meat lover to a plant lover is always the tough one. But you must stand tall and never give up on your dream of living a guilt-free vegan lifestyle.
Growing Vegan Family By The Minute
The vegan family or the vegan team is growing by the minute.
People from around the world are switching to a vegan lifestyle.
Some popular names in the Hollywood film industry are publically announcing the fact that they are switching to a vegan lifestyle.
Not just them but sportspersons, politicians, health workers, and many more have already joined the vegan family.
According to the statistics the orders of vegan meals grew by up to 388% in Uk between 2016 and 2018.
Another study suggests that the number of vegans in Great Britain as of 2019 was more than 600,000 accounting for 1.16% of the total population. It is a significant growth compared to the number of vegans in 2016 was 276,000, 0.46 % of the total UK population.
Similarly, in the US the incorporation of vegan foods into meals across all American households has grown by 40%, as of 2017. Also, the number of vegans in the US grew by 600% from nearly 4 million in 2014 to 19.6 million in 2017.
In Germany, one in every ten people buy meat alternative and the percentage of vegetarians in the country rose by 6% in 2018 compared to 1% in 2005.
As of Italy, it has the fastest-growing meat-free population in the world with a growth rate of 94.4%.
Similarly, the number of vegan population is increasing at a very fast rate worldwide.
Vegan Awareness Foundation- Vegan Action
The Vegan Awareness Foundation which was established in 1995 is a 501 non-profit organization. It is also known as ‘Vegan Action’ and its headquarter is located in the United States.
The non-profit organization, Vegan Action dedicates its efforts to helping animals, the environment, and human health. Vegan Action works to educate people about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
Office of Dietary Supplements
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is a reliable source of fact sheets which provides a current overview of individual vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. It has fact sheets available in two versions i.e. Health Professional and Consumer.
You can also go through the consumer fact sheet to get an overview of the individual vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements that are recommended when you live on a vegan diet.
It will give you a better understanding of the individual compounds that are necessary for your body’s well-being.
We hope you find this article helpful. If you believe that animals have the right to live, without being tortured or butchered, it is time you switch to a vegan lifestyle. Living a vegan life is a great initiative towards a better future of mankind.
If you’re someone who is already living a vegan lifestyle, let us know how you got started and what does it feels to be a vegan. Your experience might help encourage others who are planning to live a vegan lifestyle but lack the courage.
If you’ve any queries please drop your comments in the comment section below. Your comments are more than welcome. Also, visit your website: learninghealthyhabits.com for more articles on the vegan diet, vegan lifestyle, and tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle.