Increasing numbers of people are deciding to follow a vegan, or a plant-based, diet. The reasons for choosing to eat vegan may be ethical, ecological or health-related, among other things. The growth in the supply of products supporting a vegan lifestyle has also increased interest. The continuously expanding selection of vegan alternatives in shops provides tasty ways of cutting back red meat for omnivores, too.
A vegan is a vegetarian who doesn’t use any ingredients of animal origin in their diet, such as chicken or other birds, fish, crustaceans or shellfish. In addition to forgoing meat, vegans don’t eat milk products, honey or eggs.
Towards a vegan lifestyle — at your own pace
When a vegan diet is planned well, it is very healthy and nutritious. However, you should pay attention to the composition of your diet when becoming a vegan.
You don’t have to switch from eating both meat and veggies to veganism overnight; instead, you can take your time changing your diet into a more plant-based one. That way, you will also have time to find necessary information and let your body adjust to your new lifestyle. When you are a vegan, you must know what you can eat and what kinds of vegan products are available. You can start your journey towards veganism with a daily vegan breakfast or by eating only plant-based food one day a week.
When your diet is thoroughly planned, you don’t even have to pay too much attention to amounts of individual nutrients. A well-executed vegan diet is safe, healthy and suitable for people of all ages and in all stages of life.
Nutritional supplements supporting a vegan lifestyle
As with all diets, the most important things about a vegan diet are versatility and nutrition sufficiently rich in energy.
It’s not as easy to get all the nutrients we humans need from a plant-based diet as it is from an omnivorous diet. That is why it’s important to remember that you cannot necessarily have a healthy vegan diet completely without nutritional supplements.
For instance, getting sufficient vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, calcium, iron and zinc from a plant-based diet may be difficult, or their absorption from plant-based sources is weaker than from animal-based sources.
To ensure that your intake corresponds to dietary guidelines, you may have to take multivitamins, for instance, that include iodine in addition to vitamin B12 as the vegan diet is also low in iodine.
In addition to vitamin supplements, you should eat products with added vitamin B12 and calcium. Products supplemented with nutrients include many plant-based drinks and yogurts, for instance.
Vegan lunch, more please!
When you don’t eat animal-based products, you have to rethink how to construct your meals. Cooking nutritious vegan food doesn’t mean that you just leave out meat and other animal-based products from your favourite dishes. When establishing new ways of eating, it’s good to think how you can ensure that you will receive all the same nutrients from plant-based food that you used to get from animal-based sources.
You should also pay attention to getting enough energy because typically vegetarian food is lighter than mixed food. Getting enough protein is especially important for overall wellbeing and coping, which is why you should make sure you use sufficient plant-based sources of protein. Keep in mind to have sources of protein, such as cooked beans and lentils, in every meal. This way, you will get enough protein even for an active and sporty lifestyle.
Vegan food is also an option in busy daily life
Not so long ago, the only option for eating vegan food was to cook it yourself, following a recipe from a cookbook. But nowadays, the idea that you should make an extra effort or be a better-than-usual cook to eat vegan no longer holds true. You don’t have to cook everything yourself, which makes life easier, especially on busy days. Now, meat substitutes have entered the market and offer new alternatives for both cooking and getting protein.
The continuously expanding selection and improved quality have also raised standards, and many omnivores also love vegan dishes. A good example of this is the highly popular Pulled Oats® that you can read more about on the Gold&Green website. You can also find a collection of versatile Pulled Oats® recipes from the same address. They make starting vegan cooking easy!
And what about vegan treats?
Vegans don’t have to step away from the table when it’s time to splurge, either. Vegans can eat pizza, hamburgers, cake, ice cream, candy and many other familiar dishes and delicacies.
The selection of ingredients is now more versatile than ever, which means that vegan versions of almost all dishes can be prepared. In vegan cooking, animal-based ingredients are replaced with alternatives that suit the vegan diet.
Today, a vegan diet can be more of a creative enabler than a restriction limiting your cooking.