Vegan Diet Plan
Is a Vegan Diet Plan Right For You?
A vegan diet plan is one that excludes all animal products. Where vegetarians refrain from eating animal flesh, vegans won’t eat anything that has come from an animal in any way. This includes all dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese, as well as eggs and products containing any of those ingredients.
Another vegan diet no-no is gelatin, because gelatin products are made with animal collagen. Refined sugar is also out because the refining process involves the bone marrow of cows and horses. The strictest vegans even forego honey, because it is harvested from the bodies of animals (bees).
Vegans also avoid using any consumer goods made from animal products, such as leather and other animal skins.
Why Go Vegan?
Different people have different reasons for deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
- Many vegans are opposed to the livestock industry in general, and forego eating animal products as a form of protest against what they see as exploitation and inhumane treatment of animals.
- Others are interested in lessening their environmental footprint. Raising cattle places a big strain on the environment because so many resources are used in the meat industry. Growing produce is a much more efficient and ecological use of land.
- Some vegans have adopted the diet because they have food allergies, or problems digesting animal products.
- Many simply believe that an all-vegan diet is the most healthful way for humans to eat, and that our bodies are not designed to process animal products. It is true that regular consumption of animal meat and fats has been linked to conditions like heart disease and colon cancer.
For these reasons and others, vegans are adamant about sustaining themselves without taking anything from the animals they share the planet with.
Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?
One concern people often have about trying out a vegan diet plan is whether they’ll be getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and maintain optimal energy levels.
“Will I get enough protein?” is the usual question. Many people are surprised to find out the high protein content of many foods that are completely vegan. Here are a few exchanges that you may not have been aware of.
- One cup of couscous has the same amount of protein as a cheeseburger.
- A cup of barley rivals the protein levels in a three-ounce piece of cod.
- Eight ounces of white beans have about the same amount of protein as a dozen beef ribs.
- One cup of raw oat bran will give you the protein equivalent of an egg, cheese, and bacon croissant sandwich.
- A small bowl of split pea soup gives you all the protein you’d get from a tostada with beans, beef, and cheese.
The key to getting plenty of the fuel your body needs is to check labels and know what you are eating. Ask a doctor or nutritionist for help in creating a vegan diet plan until you are more comfortable with formulating your own.
What About Flavor?
Many of us just can’t get away from those familiar animal products. We love the flavor of things like bacon and hamburgers, and we are really particular about the texture of foods like chicken and fish.
Today, though, there are several companies who make meat alternatives. These faux-meats are usually made of soy, beans, wheat, seeds, and other high-protein plant-derived foods. You don’t have to compromise anything with today’s animal-protein substitutes. There are products available that so closely mimic the taste and texture of meat, you can barely tell the difference.
Ask vegan friends, or if you don’t know any vegans, ask the people in health food stores what vegan foods are the most popular and most resemble the animal products you are used to eating. They will probably be glad to share their insights about adopting a vegan lifestyle with you.