The vegan diet consists of not eating any food of animal origin with a philosophy that aims to take care of health and respect animals. But, the vegan diet does not focus only on not consuming meat or fish but also the by-products obtained from animals such as milk, cheese, eggs or honey, among others, but all the products that are made through the death of an animal such as footwear, bags, wool or leather garments. Thus, veganism is based on not eating or using any food or by-product of animal origin in the preparation of meals.
What is the Vegan Diet
Being vegan or following a vegan diet goes beyond following a vegetarian trend as a dietary habit, veganism proposes a lifestyle that seeks to take care of people’s health and also respect the environment and animals.
A vegan person does not consume any food of animal origin or by-products obtained from his death. The argument of those who follow a vegan diet is based on the idea of how many millions of animals die and live before that inhumanly on farms just to meet the needs of millions of people.
Other arguments vegans are based on research that directly links the consumption of animal fat with cardiovascular problems. There are also nutritionists who agree in recommending increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts in the diet.
In short, the vegan diet seeks to encourage people to have a healthier life without consuming any animal product or by-product but taking into account that there will be a deficit in vitamin B12 provided to the body, since it is found mainly in eggs and dairy .
How to do the Vegan Diet
Those who want to become vegan have to be clear about a basic principle, since veganism requires being healthy balancing the daily diet, because if only fruits and vegetables are eaten, nutritional deficiencies will be generated because it is not easy to replace the nutrients that come from animals , such as vitamin, protein or minerals.
To start with a vegan diet, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist to find out if this type of eating plan is really healthy based on sex, age, weight and diseases, among other factors such as if it is an athlete or women in certain stages of their life where they undergo major changes in their body.
In addition to varied fruits and vegetables, to make a vegan diet it is necessary to complete the diet with nuts, eat foods rich in vitamin C, control the correct consumption of vitamin B12 adding daily cereals, juices, milk and / or vegetable margarines and / or supplements.
It is also recommended to replace refined foods with whole grains that have a higher content in minerals and vitamins of group B and add legumes, limiting the use of sunflower or corn oil using virgin olive oil.
Daily take a tablespoon of flax oil or ground flax seeds to ensure a correct balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6, replacing common salt with iodized salt and drinking a liter and a half of water per day.
What to eat on the Vegan Diet
In order to design the daily menu of a vegan diet, it is necessary to take into account certain guidelines so that the eating plan is balanced and healthy.
There are essential nutrients that must be present in vegan food such as:
- Calcium: A mineral obtained mainly from milk, a prohibited food in the strict vegan diet. For this reason, it is necessary to consume as alternative sources of calcium broccoli, soy or supplements to complement what is needed of calcium.
- Iron: Also an essential mineral, iron is found in red blood cells and is responsible for forming hemoglobin that transports oxygen transport from the lungs to all cells in the body. Lentils and chickpeas are excellent sources of iron, in addition to wheat, broccoli, grapes, and tofu.
- Zinc: This mineral should not be in short supply in the body and is found in nuts, some legumes and in vegetables in general.
- Essential fatty acids: They are obtained from vegetables and as they are healthy fats, they help balance cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, being a good option to use raw olive oil.
- Amino acids and proteins: It is important in the vegan diet to adapt the diet so that amino acids and proteins are not lacking, some products that can be added to the daily menu are legumes, nuts, seeds, soy milk or tofu, or compensate with supplements .
Foods allowed in the Vegan Diet
Among the foods that are allowed in the Vegan Diet, the most important are:
- Whole grains
- Soy products.
Prohibited Foods in the Vegan Diet
In a vegan diet, products of animal origin or their derivatives, including dairy and eggs, cannot be included in meals, therefore they are totally prohibited:
- Red meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
- Dairy products.
- Animal fats.
- Food Additives.
Vegan Diet Menu Example
You can design the vegan diet in the way you want and according to the schedules and customs of each person. Desserts are allowed and you can eat baked sweets such as cakes or biscuits but prepared without butter, albumin or eggs.
Here we share the five-day menu of the Vegan Diet without animal protein. Saturday and Sunday the menu of any day of the week can be repeated.
- 1 tablespoon of nuts.
- 1 whole wheat toast with tofu and tomato.
- 1 fruit smoothie.
- 1 whole wheat toast with young sprouts, cucumber and carrot.
- 1 glass with soy milk.
- 1 veggie burger.
- 1 portion of chickpea stew with potato.
- 1 fruit
- 2 whole grain cookies
- 1 banana with walnuts.
- 1 serving of sautéed vegetables (aubergine, zucchini, onion and pumpkin, vegan cheese and a few drops of raw olive oil).
- 1 glass of orange, grapefruit, tangerine and pineapple smoothie
- 1 tablespoon of almonds.
- 1 whole wheat biscuit with lamb’s lettuce and tomato.
- 1 glass of soy milk with natural cereals.
- 1 pasta dish (macaroni or spaghetti) with cooked celery and carrots.
- 1 apple.
- 1 tablespoon of almonds.
- 1 money.
- 1 whole grain cookie with vegan cheese.
- 1 bowl of vegetable soup.
- 1 plate of salad with green leaves and tomato.
- 1 portion of olive pate.
- 1 kiwi.
- 1 fruit smoothie (kiwi, apple, grape and orange).
- 2 whole grain cookies.
- 1 glass of oat milk.
- 1 cup of green tea.
- 1 toast with tofu.
- 1 serving of grilled vegetables.
- 1 fruit
- 1 tablespoon of macadamia nuts.
- 1 money.
- 1 portion of cream of leeks, carrots and zucchini.
- 1 whole wheat biscuit
- 1 glass of soy milk.
- 1 tablespoon of nuts.
- 2 albaricoques.
- 1 fig.
- 1 toasted wholemeal flour with slices of cooked aubergines.
- infusion of white tea.
- 1 apple.
- 1 banana
- 1 serving of vegetable paella.
- Mediterranean salad.
- 1 soy yogurt.
- 1 peach
- 1 serving of vegetable cream.
- 1 glass of oatmeal water.
1 fruit smoothie.
1 whole wheat biscuit.
1 tablespoon of nuts.
1 fresh fruit.
1 serving of roasted vegetables.
1 portion of dry pasta.
1 roasted apple.
1 glass of soy milk.
1 serving of sautéed vegetables (aubergine, zucchini, onion and pumpkin, vegan cheese and a few drops of raw olive oil).
1 fresh fruit.
Each person can adapt this vegan menu to their particular needs, for example: more or less amounts of food, more protein, etc.) and also to the climate since meals can be based on hot foods and few raw foods.
Contraindications of the Vegan Diet
Before deciding to follow a vegan diet, it is necessary to have enough information and knowledge on the subject, because when eliminating a very wide group of foods (those of animal origin) there are several nutrients that are difficult to achieve only consuming vegetables.
Vitamin B-12 and proteins cannot be lacking in the diet, as well as iron, calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids. One of the problems of vegans is that in the long term they will suffer from a deficiency of these substances, therefore they can lose muscle mass and eventually suffer from bone problems.
A vegan should eat a lot of dark leafy vegetables, whole grains and also enriched cereals and dried fruits, while to increase iron absorption they will have to include many foods rich in vitamin C.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Vegan Diet
The important thing in a vegan diet is that it is really balanced and this is equivalent to including the necessary amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and micronutrients that the body needs.
- Helps reduce bad cholesterol.
- Helps prevent arthritis.
- Improves the circulatory system.
- Provides fiber.
- Helps fight constipation.
- Prevents diabetes.
- It is low in fat.
- It is quite restrictive and therefore eating out can result in very limited food offerings.
- It is very laborious, it may need a well-adjusted planning, work to prepare the dishes.
Diet Recipes Vegan Diet
Following a vegan diet is easier if you have easy recipes that help lay out the daily menu. Therefore, here are some options that may be useful because they strictly adapt to veganism and are simple to prepare:
Vegetable and tofu soup
A tasty and colorful onion, beetroot, broccoli and tofu soup, easy to make for both lunch and dinner.
- 2 onions.
- 1 beet
- ½ broccoli.
- 250 grs de tofu.
- olive oil.
- 1 bay leaf.
Place a liter of tap water in a bowl and let it rest for an hour so that it loses its chlorine.
Peel and cut the onion into half moons and sauté it in a saucepan with a splash of oil until caramelized.
Add the broccoli, tofu and diced beets to the onion.
Add the broccoli sprigs. Add the tofu and diced beets. Season the preparation and stir until the vegetables are poached.
Add the water and the bay leaf and cover the saucepan.
After the first boil, lower the heat and let the soup cook for 15 minutes.
Serve the spiced soup with a teaspoon of tamari and chopped parsley.
Vegan Tofu and Chickpea Burgers
Easy to prepare, these vegan burgers are made with tofu and chickpeas and can be served with tomato and a green salad.
- 100 grs de tofu.
- 250 grams of cooked chickpeas.
- 1 potato
- 1 tomato.
- 1 bunch of watercress.
- 1 bunch of arugula.
- 1 red onion.
- 1 clove garlic.
- ½ lemon.
- 2 whole wheat muffins.
- 75 gr of breadcrumbs.
- olive oil.
- ground cumin.
- fresh coriander.
Cook the potato in a saucepan with water and a pinch of salt.
In a frying pan with a little oil, sauté the chopped onion and garlic over low heat.
Add the coriander and cumin to the preparation and cook for 5 minutes, then add the lemon juice and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Make a puree with the chickpeas, part of the tofu, reserving two slices and the potato and add the vegetables already cooked and mashed, as well as a little breadcrumbs.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once the dough is cold, make the hamburgers and coat them with the breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the hamburgers, draining each one on kitchen paper.
Place the arugula and watercress in a bowl, dressing with a tablespoon of vinegar, two of olive oil, salt and a few coriander leaves.
Cut the buns in half and serve with each burger making a sandwich with a tomato slice, accompanying the plate with green salad and a slice of tofu.
Conclusions on the Vegan Diet
With opinions for and against the vegan diet, it has more and more followers. However, numerous studies suggest that there are reasons to recommend it but with certain nuances so that it is really healthy, does not take risks and provides the body with the nutritional substances it needs.
The recommendation is that before starting a vegan diet or starting veganism, sufficient information and professional advice be sought as this is the only way to avoid health problems due to the lack of essential nutrients.
Sources and References:
- Comprehensive Pediatrics
Vegetarian diet and other alternative diets
- Research Journal – Bolivian Journals
- Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology. University of Valencia. Doctoral School. Catholic University of Valencia
Vegan diet in childhood: benefits and risks