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The Vegan Diet: A Guide for Beginners

For people interested in making the switch to the vegan diet, the question can be as simple as where to begin. If you are new to the vegan diet, just figuring out what your options are can be a little intimidating. 

The vegan diet involves removing more than just meat from your diet. The vegan diet takes things a step further than a vegetarian diet. This is why the vegan diet is more of a lifestyle than just a diet. 

The vegan diet means eliminating all animal products from your diet and from the way you live. It can appear like a major change in your life. 

But the vegan diet is not really complicated. It simply requires some planning and thought. You will soon learn new habits when shopping for food, and new ways of cooking that can make the switch to the vegan diet fairly easy. 

This guide will introduce you to the definition of the vegan diet. We will give you the information you need to re-adjust your living and eating habits to be completely in line with the vegan diet. And will give you information on the benefits of the vegan diet. 

What is the Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet necessarily means eliminating any and all animal products from your diet and lifestyle. The vegan diet is a commitment. With a view towards refusing any practices that involved animal exploitation in any form, the vegan diet demands that you do more than stop eating meat and dairy.

The vegan diet also insists that you no longer eat things like casein, albumin, and other animal derivatives that may be used in foods and other products like cosmetics and health care products. Part of the challenge of moving toward the vegan diet is that so many foods and other products contain animal products. 

In the absence of meats, dairy, and other foods made from animals the vegan diet includes other foods that are rich in nutrients. Vegans are generally careful to eat non-meat foods that include plenty of proteins and amino acids to make up for what they do not eat in the form of meat. 

To adhere to the vegan diet just requires some research and planning. You need to learn how to read product labels to make sure even your body products and cosmetics do not contain ingredients derived from animal exploitation. 

How does Vegan Diet work?

Making the adjustment to a vegan lifestyle simply requires some forethought. Here are some steps you will want to take to make the change.

Preparation

Once you have med the decision to go for a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, do some research. Find the kinds of foods you are able to choose from and focus on the ones that will work best for you. Building a healthy menu is different from the conventional diet. Decide how you want to balance your meals based on a new set of options. 

Research the stores in your area. Once you know what kinds of foods you can eat and what you will need to exclude, find out what grocery stores in the area keep in stock. Even though most grocery chains now stock foods that are specifically geared toward the vegan diet, not all of them do, and some are better than others. 

Once you have done some preliminary research and decided what kinds of foods you want to include in your vegan diet, do some advanced research. Cooking vegan foods requires new cooking techniques. This is a good time to be studying some of these cooking techniques.  

Pace Yourself

There are those who will jump right into a new way of eating and living. These people will have no problem going completely vegan overnight. 

However, others may want to follow a gradual transition to the vegan lifestyle and vegan diet. Begin by eliminating just one conventional food source. Cut out red meat, for example. Make certain to do the research to find the right foods to replace these proteins and amino acids, and then eliminate another feature of your conventional diet while learning how to replace this with a vegan option. 

Give yourself 30 days to make the transition to the vegan diet. You will find this an easy time that is filled with learning to cook new delicious foods. You will likely find that you no longer miss meats and dairy and cannot ever eat these foods again. 

Keep it Simple but Diverse

Many people who are new to veganism have a tendency to overcomplicate things at first. They go for complicated and expensive vegan meat substitutes. Cheese substitutes, and plant-based milk. This leads to inevitable fatigue with the vegan diet and lifestyle and they give up. 

If you are a foodie, you will enjoy learning to cook new things. But it is important to remember that this is a way of life. You are not necessarily trying out fun new things to eat once a month. You are learning to cook and prepare meals that will make up your entire diet. 

Keep things simple. Learn to cook your staples, the kinds of things you will want to cook and eat regularly and do not have you in the kitchen for hours after a long workday. Find a range of things to make and prepare so you do not get tired of eating the same things. Focus on eating whole foods – plenty of vegetables, grains, legumes, starches, fruits, nuts, and seeds. This goes back to your preliminary research. 

Of course, make sure you are balancing your nutrition and much as your tastes. 

Learn the Vegan Food Substitutes

As you make the transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle, think about the foods you are used to and how you will replace them. Most of us have grown up eating things like cheese and eggs. Take some time to figure out which foods you will need to replace these things. There are numerous vegan cheeses made from things like almonds, for example. And tofu can be used to make a delicious egg scramble. 

Plenty of these vegan cheeses, milk, and even things like sausage can be found at most grocery stores these days. Try a few and find the ones you like so you can stock up. These things will fill up your refrigerator in the absence of meat and dairy. 

Types of Vegan Diets

The vegan diet is not one simple plan. There are different types of vegan diets, and you should think about which one is right for you. The things to consider are your reasons for deciding to make the change to a vegan diet. What is motivating you to give up meat, dairy, eggs, and other conventional foods? 

Here are some primary examples of vegan diets:

Ethical

This is probably the most common reason behind the vegan diet. Most people who finally decide to give up animal products are motivated on some level by ethical reasons. 

Vegans generally believe that the exploitation and killing of animals are ethically unsupportable. This is why veganism is a lifestyle. People who have ethical objections to the killing and exploitation of animals also refuse to use things like cosmetics and clothing that are made, even in part, from animal products. 

While it is clear that many people object to the forms of animal agriculture that kill and exploit large numbers of animals, vegans believe that any use of animals is unethical and they refuse to participate in these practices. 

Plant-based

Some people are primarily motivated to live with a vegan diet for health reasons or simply to lose weight. People in this category may opt for a vegan diet without completely switching to a vegan lifestyle. For example, these people may eat a vegan diet but continue to use leather, silk, and honey. 

It is important to remember that if you are motivated to take on a vegan diet for health reasons that you must pay careful attention to what you are consuming There are plenty of foods that, strictly speaking, are vegan but are extremely unhealthy. Potato chips and cookies can be vegan. You do not want to live off them. 

But by adhering to a diet that focuses on plant-based foods that are generally free of saturated fats and cholesterol, you will see health benefits and you will likely lose weight. Vegan diets are most often what we consider “clean eating,” and are low in fat, sugar, and cholesterol. 

Raw Foods

Raw vegans do not eat anything that has been cooked. This diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Some people take this route for spiritual reasons. This type of vegan diet is sometimes tied to specific spiritual beliefs regarding the natural world. 

There are variations on the raw vegan diet. Some people stick with raw foods but add a small percentage of cooked carbs and proteins. This is sometimes called the 80/10/10 diet: 80 percent raw foods/ 80 percent cooked carbs/ 80 percent cooked proteins. Still others stick with raw foods for most of the day but will eat cooked meals at the end of the day. This is referred to as the “raw till 4” diet. 

Benefits of Vegan Diets

Beyond the fact that the vegan diet helps reduce the killing and exploitation of animals, there are several benefits. The vegan diet is also good for your health. 

Losing Weight

Studies have shown that the vegan diet can help you lose more than four times as much weight as people who maintain a traditional diet. It is also known that people who live a vegan lifestyle tend to have a much lower body mass index (BMI) than conventional omnivores. 

Reduce Cancer Risk

Research has begun to show that a vegan diet reduces your risk of several types of cancer. By switching to a vegan diet, you can reduce your chances of developing breast, colon, rectum, and stomach cancer. 

Lower Blood Sugar

Vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels. There are numerous studies that show that switching to a vegan diet can significantly reduce your blood sugar levels. This benefit extends to people who are living with type-2 diabetes. 

Heart Health 

Vegan diets can improve your heart health. In one study, doctors examined the levels of triglycerides in vegans and omnivores. They found that vegans had vastly reduced levels of this so-called “bad cholesterol” that people who lived with conventional diets. Vegans also tend to have a lower blood pressure than meat-eaters. 

Vegan Diet FAQS

What is a vegan diet?

The vegan diet involves eliminating all foods derived from animals. This means not eating meat, eggs, and dairy, and it also means not consuming any foods that include ingredients derived from animal exploitation such as casein. 

Why do people become vegans?

Most people are motivated to stop the killing and exploitation of animals. Others are driven to reduce the environmental impact of modern farming techniques. Still, others become vegans for health reasons. 

How does the vegan diet work?

To switch to the vegan diet you need to do some preparation and research. Find the plant-based foods that are healthy and suit your tastes. 

Is the vegan diet healthy?

Yes, you can get all the nutrients, proteins, and amino acids you need while living the vegan diet. 

Are there health benefits to the vegan diet?

Yes. The vegan diet can help you lose weight. Vegans tend to have lower cholesterol and blood sugar, which is good for your heart. And the vegan diet can help reduce your cancer risk. 

Wrapping things up

Most of us are familiar with vegetarian diets. People simply decide to no longer eat the meat of any kind. Swearing off meat, poultry, and fish. This idea has been fairly common for a long time. But the vegan diet takes things a step further. 

The vegan diet means no longer consuming animal products of any kind. Not only do you give up meat, but you also do not consume dairy or eggs. Vegans also do not consume any products that contain ingredients derived from animals. Things like casein, a common protein that comes from the cheese industry, is in many foods, and vegans do not eat these things. 

The vegan diet is really more of a lifestyle. To give up using all animal products usually means no longer wearing clothes like leather, fur, and feathers. The desire to refuse to participate in the exploitation of animals extends to all facets of life for most vegans. 

There are some real benefits to the vegan diet. Besides the obvious benefit of no longer causing harm to animals, there are health benefits to the vegan diet. Vegans tend to have a lower BMI, and veganism can help you lose weight. Vegan diets can be good for your heart, and they can help lower your blood sugar. 

Taking on the vegan diet is not difficult. You need to do some simple research into the kinds of foods that will make healthy replacements for meat and dairy. Learn to cook a few new staple dishes, and you will be on your way to living the vegan diet.

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