Before going vegan we must need to understand what does going vegan means. Can we eat dairy products or can we eat eggs? I hope this article helps you deal with these problems. Going Vegan is not a word it is a lifestyle, an eating pattern which people follow. It is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal-derived products. Now that we have understood what Vegan means we need to understand why people go vegan. What is the philosophy behind going vegan? The people who often tend to adopt Veganism usually love animals and tend to think to have animals as a part of their diet or using dairy products is just not right as it’s not meant for human consumption. For example, the milk is for cow’s cub, eggs are for reproduction purposes only, etc. Adopting Veganism is not just for animals, people following veganism strongly believe that it is beneficial for our environment as well. So if you plan to go vegan but don’t know what to have here are some top vegan diets for you.
Fruits and Vegetables
So since you have started a vegan diet it will be really difficult, especially if you were a non- vegetarian lately but instead of adopting those fake meats or vegan junk food which might lure you, it’s good to start with including vitamin and mineral enriched fruits and vegetables instead.
Now you must be wondering what’s exciting to have these boring vegetables but you will be amazed by the recipes that people make with these.
For example, taking mashed banana instead of using eggs in baking recipes. It acts as a great substitute. Making banana ice cream is an all-time hit, instead of having dairy-based ice cream. You can simply blend a frozen banana until it runs smooth. After that add your favorite toppings and enjoy.
You can grill eggplant and mushrooms, they are a great way for getting that meaty texture in vegetable form.
Cauliflower is a perfect addition for many recipes, It is also used as a pizza crust.
Vegan should aim to increase the intake of calcium and iron-rich fruits and vegetables like oranges, kiwis, blackberries, asparagus, raspberries, podded peas, broccoli, artichokes, spinach, bok choy, etc.
In the practice of excluding animal exploitation, people avoid the traditional source of protein like meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. It is therefore very important to replace this with high protein and iron-rich plants such as legumes.
Lentils, Beans, and peas are great options and contain at least 10-20 grams of proteins per cooked cup.
They are a great source of fiber, iron, zinc, manganese, slowly digested carbs, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds.
Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds
Nuts, seeds, and products made by them are a great option when it comes to vegan food. They are a high source of fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, etc. They are a very rich source of protein as well.
Nuts are very versatile and can be consumed in various ways you can have them raw, make a sauce out of it, or use them in the dessert. You can also prepare cashew cheese out of cashews.
Instead of buying almond butter or peanut butter try creating them on your own. Generally, processed butter which you get from the market contains preservatives, sugars, salts, and oils.
If you don’t have time to prepare them you can switch to organic unsweetened/ unsalted options.
Hemp, Flax and Chia Seeds
These seeds have a very different nutrient profile. These contain a large volume of proteins than other seeds. One ounce of Hemp seed only contains 9 grams of complete, easily digestible protein which is 50% more than other seeds. It also contains a perfect balance of omega -3 to omega-6 acid. Research shows that the fats found in the hemp seed are considered favorable for diminishing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. These are very helpful in reducing inflammation. They also improve skin conditions.
Chia and flax seeds are quite high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid that our body can partly convert into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
For their part, chia and flaxseeds are particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid your body can partly convert into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).EPA and DHA play a very important role in the maintenance and development of our nervous system. These acids help in problems like depression, anxiety, pain, inflammation.
Chia seeds and Flaxseeds are very healthy for human health. They also act as a great substitute for eggs while baking.
Tofu and Meat Substitutes
Tempeh and Tofu are minimally processed meat substitutes made from soybeans. They both have high protein content. Consuming 100 grams portion gives 16-19 grams of protein.
Tofu is widely used as a replacement for meat by many. It is created by pressing of soybean curd. You can sauté it, grill it or either scramble it. People scramble it like eggs and serve it with veggies along.
Tempeh is also made from fermented soybeans. It has a very distinctive flavor and is completely different in taste. People tend to use it as a replacement for fish but is widely used in other dishes as well.
The fermentation helps reduce the number of antinutrients which are naturally found in soybeans, this increases the number of nutrients the body can absorb from tempeh.
Seitan is also a very well-known meat alternative. Consuming 100 grams portion gives 25 grams of wheat protein. It’s a good source of selenium which is generally found in ham, beef, etc. People who are gluten sensitive should avoid consuming it due to its high gluten content. People love to consume mock meat or vegan burgers which are not generally a good source of protein as they contain a high amount of processed items.
Calcium-Fortified Plant Milk and Yogurt
Now you must be wondering what is Calcium-Fortified plant milk.
Vegans consume very less amount of calcium daily, as the prime source of calcium i.e. dairy products are of their list. Calcium is a very essential element for bone health. You must be wondering what shall we do? Shall we switch to dairy products again? Well, the answer is no you can consume calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurt and make it part of your daily menu.
Those who want to simultaneously increase their protein intake as well should opt for milk and yogurt made from hemp or soy. Almond milk and coconut milk are also good alternatives.
Calcium-fortified plant milk and yogurt are also enriched with Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps with the absorption of calcium. Some of the brands add vitamin B12 also. Make sure next time you purchase your plant fortified milk it has all contents and has less sugar content. Many brands come with unsweetened versions also.
Seaweed is one of the rarest plant foods which contain DHA. DHA has essential fatty acids and comes with many health benefits.
Algae such as chlorella and spirulina are also a good source of protein. Around 30ml of these gives around 8 grams of protein. Seaweed also contains manganese, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, iodine, and a very good amount of antioxidants.
Iodine plays a very crucial role in our metabolism. It makes the functioning of the thyroid gland much easier.
Whole Grains, Cereals, and Pseudocereals
Whole grains, cereals, and Pseudocereals are a very good source of fiber, iron, complex carbs, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and Vitamin B. There are some varieties which are more nutritious as compared to others. For instance, ancient grain spelt and teff contain roughly 10-11 grams of protein per cooked cup. That is very high as compared to wheat and rice.
The pseudocereals like quinoa and amaranth have 9 grams of protein per cooked cup. Whole grains and pseudocereals have antinutrients which might limit the absorption of beneficial nutrients. Sprouting turns out to be very helpful in reducing anti-nutrients.
Sprouted and Fermented Plant Foods
Plant foods are very rich in nutrients but also contain various amounts of anti-nutrients. The antinutrients reduce the capability of absorbing the minerals these food have. Sprouting and Fermenting are some of the very effective methods which help in reducing the number of anti-nutrients found in these foods.
These techniques prove to help increase the overall nutrient consumption and also boost the overall protein quality of the foods. Sprouting reduces the amount of gluten found in many grains. You can sprout or ferment these grains at home. There are some stores which do supply these as well.
I hope this article has been of some help to people who were very new to the concept of veganism or were curious about how to fulfill the nutrient and mineral consumption. A well planned vegan diet contains a sufficient amount of minerals, protein and all the essential elements which are necessary for the growth of the human body. Although some people might find difficult to follow these food habits. In these cases, many supplements come to your aid to fulfill your essential requirements.