What Is A Vegan Diet?
Our decisions in life can make a difference! Wise people always advise us to understand the importance of even the smallest things we do in our lives. What do I mean? For example, you have heard a lot on TV that they say if you just consume one less glass of water, millions of people in the world will have access to drinking water. Or, they say if you gradually stop buying fewer plastic bags, you will contribute to the ocean's cleanliness and other freshwater ecosystems.
The same is true with our food habits. You might say that who cares if I eat two chickens in a week or three. Or, you are wondering how your habit of eating lots of meat can destroy the planet earth step by step. However, I am here to argue that everything you do matters, especially regarding food.
That is why millions of people have turned into veganism. They think it is beneficial for humans, nature, and animals at the same time. So, do you know who a vegan is? What should vegan eat and what shouldn’t? What are the boundaries? Where can you buy the best high-quality vegan foods? These and many more questions are going to be answered in this article. So, buckle up because you are going to learn everything about vegan foods.
What Is Veganism?
To understand what veganism is, you have to know the difference between veganism and vegetarianism. First, let's talk about vegetarianism. Everything started a few decades ago when a group of people started warning about all the negative points associated with the food habits of people.
They said humans should not eat meat because it is cruel to animals. They shouldn’t get killed because of their meat. They were named vegetarians. However, they kept eating animal-related products such as eggs, milk, dairy products, etc. Animals were at risk of getting tortured and killed because of products other than meat.
Then, people started thinking about making vegetarianism a bit eco-friendlier. So, in the new food habit, people avoided eating meat and all other animal-related products. In this way, no animal should be killed because of humans. This new food habit is called veganism.
So, as a vegan person, you are allowed only to eat plant-based food. There are both advantages and disadvantages associated with veganism. However, its advantages are much more than disadvantages. Before talking about all the positive and negative points of veganism, you should know it is categorized into several types. In the next section, we are going to understand different types of veganism.
15 Different Types of Vegan Diets
You might ask what kinds of foods vegans eat. In fact, you can find different categorizations on the internet. I adopted one of the best categorizations that I found online. We can say vegans can eat from these 15 different vegan diets. Let's get to know them.
Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet
OK, what does whole foods plant-based diet mean? It basically means that you have to limit yourself to just eating plants, nothing else. Also, you should eat them as unprocessed as possible. The common problem with this diet is that it doesn’t have enough calories, and you might miss macronutrients.
This diet is perfect for preventing chronic diseases. You can eat in this diet are grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Baked falafel tacos, chickpea veggie curry, creamy potato salad, and grain pasta with vegan cheese sauce are some foods from this diet.
The Starch Solution Program
This is a starch-based diet with the addition of fruits and vegetables. Many older people on the big island of Hawaii are using a starch-based diet, and because of that, they are much healthier than younger generations who are eating western food. Younger generations get fatter and sicker but not the previous generations.
Also, you should know that this diet is a delicious one with enough salt and sugar. If it is not tasty, people will not stay on their diet for a long time. Starch-based food is free from vegetable oils and animal products.
Foods like potatoes, corn, wheat, rice, barley, quinoa, and millet are sources of starch. Here, it is not recommended to eat high-fat, plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados because they are unhealthy. Some of the examples of this diet are bean chilli with rice, chocolate overnight oats, sweet potato smoothie bowl, and low-fat mushroom risotto are some of the examples.
High Fat Raw Vegan Diet (Gourmet Raw)
As you can tell from its name, you will have only raw food in this diet. So, basically, you only use nuts, seeds, and fruits in your diet. If you want to have this raw diet a bit fatty, you must add cold-passed oils, nut-based desserts, and heavy sauces. Be careful! Another important thing about this diet is that you should not cook any food at more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is done to avoid destroying all the vitamins and enzymes in the food. For this diet, you will need blenders, juicers, and dehydrators more than other objects in the kitchen. What are some examples? Nuts and seeds as a base in desserts or crackers, soaked grains and legumes, dried fruits, and algae and sea vegetables are some examples of this diet.
The Nutritarian Diet (Eat to Live)
Dr, J. Fuhrman invented the word nutritarian for nutrient-dense food and optimal for a human body. Some experts suggest that you are OK to eat meat or other animal-related products every three or four weeks after adopting this diet. However, it is not recommended at all. The main element in this diet is that you have to eat a lot of vegetables.
Also, starch intake and eating potatoes and rice must be limited, and you should replace them with nuts and legumes. This diet requires you to eat greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds as much as possible. The diet is effective in healing and slimming down. Salt and oil are not present. Collard veggie wraps, beanballs with zucchini noodles, chickpea omelet with vegetables, and chia pudding with fruit are examples of this diet.
The 80/10/10 Low Fat Raw Vegan Diet (Fruitarianism)
Recently, it has been the most famous vegan diet in many regions of the world. In the media, many people talk about it. The idea of this diet is to combine leafy greens, nuts, and seeds with lots of organic fruit. There are some problems with this diet. For example, it works for you only if you live in a hot climate and are very rich because it is not a cheap diet. However, it might be hard for you to eat fruit all the time, for example, when you are travelling.
So far, there hasn’t been any solid evidence that this diet is going to be healthy. And, many people are worried because when you eat too much fruit, you will get a lot of fruit sugar, minerals, and fatty acid, which aren’t healthy at that level.
This diet is very related to fruitarianism. Mango or banana mono meal, green salad with a fruity dressing, fruit salad, and large smoothies made with banana and berries are examples of this diet.
I think it is enough of vegan diets. There are a lot of others too, but we don’t have to talk about them all. I will just mention several other diets, and if you are interested, you can get lots of information about them.
- Junk and convenience food vegan diet
- Detox vegan diet
- SOS-free plant-based diet
- Raw till four diet
- Whole starch low-fat
Advantages Of Veganism
Here, we got to the interesting part. What veganism is getting more attention? Why are more people joining it? It is because of a huge number of reasons. Here, we don’t have time to talk about them all. We just review some of the most important ones. Let's get started.
Vegan Diet Benefits
This is the most direct impact of veganism. It protects you from all sorts of diseases. Here, we want to talk about these diseases.
Reducing The Risk Of Cancer
I am sure you are terrified when somebody says they have cancer, right? with a vegan diet, you are less likely to get cancer. Did you know that the world health organization categorizes red meat as a group 2 carcinogen? It basically means that meat can make you get cancer! Also, the threat from foods like bacon and pepperoni is even worse as they are categorized as group one carcinogen.
Reducing The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Definitely, the heart is one of the most important organs in your body, right? So, you should do whatever you can do to protect it. Let me tell you how awful meat could be for your health because it is full of saturated and trans fats. They will lead to an increase in your blood cholesterol. The more cholesterol will be built up, the more likely it will block the blood vessels, and you will have a stroke.
Reducing The Risk Of Diabetes
In one study with a sample population of 2000 adults, scholars found out that the more fruits, vegetables, and nuts people use in their diet over 20 years, the 60% less likely they will get type 2 diabetes. Who doesn’t want that?
Improving Your Mood
in one study, people who ate vegan foods for five years showed fewer symptoms of depression. Also, scholars found out that people who eat plant-based food are generally experiencing more positive feelings than people who eat meat. Another scholar mentioned that the elimination of long-chain fatty acids is associated with showing fewer symptoms of depression.
Veganism not only lets you be healthier and live longer but also protects the environment. By eating vegan food, we are basically contributing to protecting the planet earth and all the resources in it. Based on some statistics, I will convince you why veganism is the best choice for our planet.
Comparing Vegan And Normal Foods
Let's start with a simple fact. Several gases are responsible for global warming. It means they make our planet hotter every day so that a few decades later, it wouldn’t be inhospitable. These gases are carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and methane.
- If American people stop eating meat and become vegan, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1.5 tons each year. Also, if Americans decided to remove chicken from their diet, carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by nearly 1.5 tons, equivalent to 500 thousand cars on the road.
- Another dangerous gas that accelerates global warming is methane. Did you know that pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows are considered the biggest methane producers in the US? By just eliminating these foods from our diet, we will be able to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.
- Another threatening gas is nitrous oxide which is mainly produced by meat, egg, and dairy industries and is responsible for producing 65% of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.
Let's face the truth. Vegans are much less involved in burning fossil fuels and causing greenhouse emissions. Do you know why? It is because one calorie of plant protein takes 11 times less fossil fuel to be produced. Also, a normal diet of non-vegan people causes 7 times more greenhouse emissions.
Veganism Helps You Save Millions Of Gallons Of Water
Our planet is suffering from a water shortage. Many people believe that the third world war will be a water war. By adopting a vegan lifestyle, you can change this very quickly. How? Let me give you some shocking numbers to start believing in me.
- Currently, as much as half of all water used in the US is raising animals for food.
- For producing one pound of meat, you will need 2400 gallons of water. Now, if you become vegan and stop eating meat and try wheat, for example, that will be a huge saving as one pound of wheat only takes 25 gallons of water, nearly 10 times less.
- Get this amazing statistic! You might save water by speedy and fast showers, right? Imagine that you wanted to save water and didn’t take any shower for six months. You will save a lot of water, right? However, just by deciding not to eat one pound of meat, you will save the same amount of water. That's amazing.
- Pollution is another major source of the problem in nature. For example, just the chicken, hog, and cattle industries are responsible for polluting 35 thousand rivers in 22 states in the US.
Veganism Frees Up Land And Keeps The Jungles And Forests Safe
Get this shocking fact! Nearly one-third of all agricultural lands in the world are producing foods for animals! It is equivalent to Asia! That is a lot! Let's take the US, for example. To create cropland, more than a quarter of a billion acres of US forest has been destroyed. Every minute, more lands are getting cleared for plantation purposes.
Another benefit associated with veganism is that you don’t feel guilty for what is happening to billions of animals getting killed every year. Animals are beings just like us! They understand when you are cruel to them and realize when they are going to die! They want to feel happy and spend time with their family just as much as humans want. As a vegan, you make sure that none of these cruelties is happening because of your meals at home.
Well, let's go to the next subject. Another thing that every vegan person should know is that veganism can be tricky. For example, some nutrients you might not find as common as normal foods in vegan foods. However, if you are smart and know the limitations of veganism, you will compensate for it. Here, I am going to give you some tips before becoming vegan. Follow them and make sure you will get all the compounds your body requires.
You Are Not Expected To Become Vegan Overnight! Take It easy!
Actually, this is a basic principle in life. When you want to change something or start something new, you cannot do it very quickly. You definitely need to take time and become compatible. The same is true with veganism. You can stop eating meat, milk, eggs, and all other animal-related food just overnight. However, you should know that it wouldn’t last. So, instead, just try to relax and do things one step at a time. For example, you can start with one or two items and when you feel OK with the changes, go to the next.
It is very nice if you know what you involve with. Many people claim that vegans cannot get all the requirements for their bodies because they are only available in animal' bodies. However, you would know that it is wrong if you have studied about it. So, get information and learn from which source you can get all your body's requirements.
Start With Common Vegan Food, But Go Wild Sometimes
It is important not to put yourself in weird situations. For example, if you don’t know a specific vegan food, don’t start your veganism with it as it can cause you cold and leave. Try with common vegan foods in the market. When you feel comfortable, yes, you can try other options too.
Best Alternatives Vegan Foods
Well, what is the best alternative for meat? What about milk or eggs? Don’t worry! You can find them all over the internet. Here, I am going just briefly to mention the top vegan substitutes.
There are many advantages to this ingredient. First of all, it is cheap, non-processed, and can be found everywhere. Also, it is usually kept in the can so you can keep it for a long time. It is a nice replacement for chicken or tuna.
We all love eggs, right? The liquid from a can of chickpeas can be a nice substitution for egg white. It is used for cooking macarons, sponges, and brownies. Also, many dairy-free batters and sauces use this ingredient.
Seitan is a kind of protein from the plant wheat. It can be used as a cream for flavouring a dry mix. Also, foods such as duck, beet, bacon, and sausage can be replaced by seitan.
Milk from cows and other animals is one of the most famous staple drinks all around the world. Does it have any substitution? Yes, it does. You can get milk from, oat, hazelnut, cashew, soy, almond, and hemp. Making vegan milk is easy. You just need to soak the raw nuts, blend with water and strain them. They are also OK for cooking, baking, and other purposes.
Cheeses are so popular, right? So, what about some great alternatives for them? Well, many brands are coming up with different ingredients. However, coconut, aquafaba, and nuts are among the top ingredients.
The list can go on and on until you realize there is at least one alternative for many foods.
Veganism is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. In this article, we understand why people become vegan and the benefits of holding to this lifestyle. Then, I introduced some of the most famous vegan diets with some tips and tricks at the end for those who want to become vegan after many years. In the end, I talked about some nice vegan alternatives. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you are interested in veganism, follow us because we will have more content about it very soon. Take care.
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