Vegan Diet – A Complete Guide for Beginners!

Vegan Diet - A complete Guide for beginners

The Vegan Diet is becoming popular. More and more people are adopting it for health, ethical and environmental reasons. Are you also keen on knowing more about veganism and a vegan diet?

Veganism is a way of living. It involves abstinence from using animal products in your diet and lifestyle.

The Vegan Society has defined veganism as: –

“A way of living that seeks to exclude as far as possible all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

What’s a Vegan diet and what do vegans eat?

A Vegan diet refers to the practice of eliminating animal products including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, animal milk, honey, and their derivatives. Some vegans do not use things made from animals in any form: food, clothing, cosmetics, etc.

Vegans eat only plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and foods made from plants.

Why vegan? What are the Vegan diet benefits?

Veganism involves the willingness to change your lifestyle to prevent the suffering of animals. One should be open to change and adapt to a new way of living.

Generally, vegans avoid using animal products. They eliminate all animal products like eggs, meat, dairy, ghee, butter, and honey in terms of food. But if you aspire to be a healthy vegan, you can do it by switching to eating organic food and eliminating oil, processed foods, and refined products. In this process, you can become creative and cook tasty meals by learning to replace animal products, dairy, oil, and refined products with healthy vegan alternatives.

In addition to the various health benefits, this diet has also helped many people improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing. People who experienced fear, lack of confidence, insecurity, anger, violence, and other emotions have been able to get rid of their emotions when they made dietary changes and switched to eating a whole food plant-based diet.  This, in turn, helped them grow personally and spiritually.


What’s the difference between a vegetarian v/s non-vegetarian v/s vegan diet?

A Vegetarian diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes, and dairy. It’s a well-balanced diet, rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals but low in fats. This means vegetarians do not consume meat, poultry (chickens, turkey, duck, etc), fishes.

A Non-Vegetarian diet mainly consists of eggs, meat, and poultry. They are rich in proteins, omega 3, and fats.  But does that make up for all the nutrients required by your body?

No, Absolutely not.  Apart from proteins, omega 3, and fats our body needs plenty of nutrients for its effective functioning. Which foods can we find these nutrients in?

A Vegan diet or Plant-based diet includes foods like whole grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They are power-packed with all the nutrients required by humans. Vegans exclude milk, milk products, honey, and eggs as they cause pain and suffering to the animals. Some of them even avoid animal products completely like silk, pearls, wool, and paintbrushes made of animal hair and products tested on animals.

Types of vegans

  1. Dietary Vegans – are people who avoid animal products only in their food, but they continue to use them for clothing and cosmetics.
  2. Whole food vegans – They favor a diet rich in whole foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  3. Junk food vegans – are people who eat vegan food including processed food like frozen food, vegan meat, fries, and non-dairy ice cream regularly.
  4. Raw food vegans – eat only raw food and no cooked food. They do consume a limited number of nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Vegan Diet Food List | What foods do vegans avoid and what do they eat?

Vegans avoid all foods from animals. These include

  1. Meat
  2. Eggs
  3. Dairy
  4. Chicken
  5. Fish
  6. Honey

Moreover, they avoid products derived from animals like gelatin, casein, whey, etc. Foods that contain these ingredients include beer, wine, marsh mellows, breakfast cereals, gummy candies, and chewing gum.

Avoiding animal products doesn’t mean you have to eat only fruits and vegetables. Rather you can substitute animal products with plant-based alternatives in many dishes like burgers, sandwiches, wraps, burritos, and pizzas. The meat is substituted with

  1. Tofu
  2. Beans
  3. Lentils
  4. Seitan
  5. Tempeh
  6. Nuts and seeds

Dairy products can be substituted with plant-based milk such as almond milk, cashew milk, scrambled eggs with scrambled tofu, honey with plant-based sweeteners such as dates, raisins, and figs, and eggs with flax seeds or chia seeds.

In addition to the above vegans consume a lot of fruits and vegetables. They can also choose from ready-to-eat vegan products like vegan meats, cheese, plant milk, and vegan desserts. However, one should choose wisely as they are loaded with preservatives, oils, emulsifiers, and other ingredients that are not good for health.

Many people fear that vegan diets lack sufficient protein. But many experts agree that they provide all the necessary nutrients required by our body. Some plant foods contain more protein than others and a high protein diet promotes muscle strength, satiety, and weight loss. The most common plant foods that contain a high amount of protein are Seitan, Tofu, lentils, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, Hemp seed, Green peas, Spirulina, Amaranth, quinoa, soy milk, oats, chia seeds, Nuts, and Nut butter.

Vitamin B12 foods and Vitamin D Foods for Vegetarians

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that our body can’t produce on its own. So, it is necessary to get it either through diet or supplements. 

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products like eggs, meat, fish, etc. Vegetarians and Vegans can get their Vitamin B12 either from Nutritional yeast or fortified non-dairy milk/fortified cereals. People can also take Vitamin B12 supplements in case if they are deficient.

Vitamin D is a nutrient needed to maintain healthy bones. It is also needed to perform many functions.  It helps the body absorb calcium from food and supplements. People who get little Vitamin D develop brittle bones. Muscles need Vitamin D to carry messages between the brain and other parts of the body and our immune system needs it to fight bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, Vitamin D also protects adults from Osteoporosis.

Very few foods naturally have Vitamin D. They are mainly found in fatty fish, beef, liver, cheese, and egg yolks. But as vegans, we can take supplements for Vitamin D and also expose our skin to sunlight.

A 7-Day Vegan diet plan for beginners

I have listed below a sample vegan diet plan that people can follow while starting a vegan diet plan.

Day 1

Breakfast  – Green Smoothies 

Lunch – A cauliflower rice bowl with brown rice, black beans, corn, avocado, and salsa

Dinner – Veggie-topped pizza

Snack – Zucchini chips

Day 2

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Tomato basil soup with oyster crackers

Dinner – Veggie stir-fry with tofu

Snack – Hummus wrap

Day 3

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Greek salad with a slice of whole-grain pita bread

Dinner – Kale and tofu curry

Snack – Cashew yogurt with berries and a scoop of peanut butter

Day 4

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Veggie burger and a side salad

Dinner – Cauliflower “steak” with roasted sweet potato fries

Snack  – Veggies with hummus

Day 5

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Tomato sandwich with pesto. 

Dinner – Whole-wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes

Snack – Roasted chickpeas

Day 6

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Avocado toast

Dinner – Vegan mushroom enchiladas

Snack – Handful of almonds

Day 7

Breakfast – Green Smoothies

Lunch – Quinoa bowl with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

Dinner – Vegetarian chili topped with slices of avocado

Snack – Whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter 

Is a plant-based diet Vegan?

Yes, it is.  A plant-based diet means foods that we get from plants which include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. This is the same as the Vegan diet.

Due to the increasing number of illnesses these days, and the awareness created by vegan organizations,  it has become easier to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Also, since the outbreak of the Corona Virus, people are more careful about what they eat and many have turned into vegans.

Many startups have emerged promoting vegan products and are growing daily. Many restaurants are offering vegan options as chefs, recipe developers, and bloggers are developing new ways to recreate popular foods.

It is also important to stress that sometimes it becomes virtually impossible to avoid animal products in all forms for eg what if we may have to eat medicines that have animal products. Hence, in our LiveLifeVegan blog, we will follow Veganism as a way of living whereby we will avoid using animal products as far as possible and practical.

What are your views on this article? Would you like to turn vegan? Do share your comments below.

Livelifevegan is a health and wellness blog where we want to create awareness and educate people about the benefits of being a vegan. We aim to help people turn vegan through our regular posts, recipes, and videos. We also aim to help people buy organic products through our blog.  Vegans can reverse your illnesses if any and lead a healthy lifestyle.

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