As living a vegan lifestyle becomes more popular, many benefits can come with it too. Individuals can choose to live vegan for ethical, environmental, religious or health reasons. With different types of vegan diets available, there are plenty of tasty meals and snacks for all to enjoy. We’re here to give an introduction to what a vegan diet is and the different types available.
What is a vegan diet?
Veganism is a lifestyle choice where individuals refrain from eating animal products. Vegans abstain from all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, this extends to their food, clothes or any other animal product.
They predominantly consume fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. Eating a variety of these foods will supply your body with vitamins, healthy fats, minerals and protein. Although vegans need to seek out alternative options for foods rich in iron, protein, calcium and other nutrients sourced from animal products.
At this point, you may be wondering why someone would choose a vegan diet, and we go into more detail about that in our Everything You Need To Know About Veganism blog.
Vegan diet health benefits
Maintaining a healthy vegan diet will give your body all the nutrients it needs. And as long as you’re keeping a balanced diet, many benefits can come with it.
Reduces the risk of heart diseases
Improving your heart health is one of the many benefits of keeping a vegan diet.
Most animal food products are high in saturated fats which can increase your cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol has the potential to increase your risk of heart disease and strokes. By taking these products out of your diet, your cholesterol can decrease and give you a healthier heart.
Consuming fewer calories can also be a preventative measure against obesity and the health concerns that come with it. Maintaining a stable vegan diet can assist in lowering your body mass index and ensuring your body is receiving enough nutrients.
Helps achieve your weight loss goals
Replacing high saturated fat foods with plant based alternatives is one of the quicker ways to lose weight. By consuming whole foods and raw food options, you’re naturally reducing the number of calories you eat, resulting in weight loss.
It is important to note that unhealthy weight gain can occur when there is a high intake of vegan junk foods. These junk foods can include lollies, chips, biscuits and more. While there are plenty of tasty treats available that are vegan friendly, excess consumption of these foods can lead to unhealthy weight gain and health concerns.
Keep your blood sugar in check and keep type 2 diabetes under control
Vegans benefit from living with lower blood sugars and higher insulin levels. This, in turn, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and other health concerns that arise from high blood sugars. Keeping to a vegan diet encourages your body to crave healthy food alternatives and steer clear of unhealthy options.
Plant based vegan foods
While going on a complete plant based vegan diet can feel daunting at first, there are many tasty foods available that are rich in nutrients. We all know how difficult it can be to give up the foods we love, but the fantastic thing about going vegan now is that there are plenty of plant based alternative foods.
Some of the more common foods individuals have trouble giving up are dairy products. Cheese, butter, milk, and yoghurt can be some of our favourite foods, and there are now vegan alternatives for you to enjoy. Using nuts, oats, rice, soy, coconut and other plant based ingredients, there are numerous animal friendly dairy products to enjoy.
A lot of vegan friendly plant based alternative foods contain high levels of protein. Tofu, nuts, seeds, potato, and other plant based items are fantastic sources of protein and there are many foods and recipes that incorporate these ingredients. There are loads of vegan friendly healthy recipes online, and you can easily incorporate them into your diet.
But how do you know you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs?
Keeping a healthy vegan diet is a fantastic way to ensure your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs. There are many plant based foods rich in calcium, iron, protein and other vitamins your body needs. However, if you are ever concerned about your health, you can always turn to vegan friendly supplements or visit your GP for more information and advice.
How can you start to become vegan?
Much like any other diet, you don’t want to dive right in and shock your body. Completely cutting out animal based foods can hinder your progress and make it harder for you to maintain your diet. One of the best ways to start is by adding more plant based foods to your diet and slowly cutting out meat and dairy products.
You can start by introducing new vegan friendly recipes to your weekly meals or go out to a high rated vegan restaurant. By adding some excitement to the experience, you’ll be more interested in trying vegan foods.
Alternatively, you can slowly start cutting out food groups and replacing them with plant based or other alternatives. Many individuals will cut out most meats and live on a pescatarian diet before making the transition to veganism. This slowly eases them into a diet before they make the jump toward a plant based one.
Maintaining a vegan diet takes a lot of perseverance until your body gets into the habit of craving plant based foods. And for most individuals, taking the first step toward a vegan diet is the hardest thing for them to do.