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Vegan Diet: What do Vegans Eat?

Published In: 30 Jun 2017

Today we try to better understand the principles, opportunities and risks of following a vegan diet. What are the foods you can and can’t eat? Those that eat vegan have to ensure that they get the right amount of nutrients from their food, but the question remains, what exactly do vegans eat?

What is the Vegan Diet?

The vegan diet is identified as a diet in which one eats exclusively plant-based foods. The vegan diet any food that contains any presence of any animal meat, as well as any product of animal origin. This means foods such as milk, cheese, eggs and honey are excluded. The classic vegan diet if based on foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and cereals. There also are also more ‘extreme’ forms of the vegan diet such as raw veganism or fruitarian.

The main reason most people turn to the vegan diet is because of animal cruelty, however this may not be the only reason. Many people that start a vegan diet do so because they believe that the vegan lifestyle is the healthiest lifestyle they can choose. Many doctors and nutritionists, including the well-known American Dr McDougall, the creator of the homonymous diet, suggest that following a vegan diet can be the best form of treatment for many common diseases and ailments. It is believed that a vegan diet is very effective in preventing cardiac and cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

What does the Vegan Diet

The vegan diet is not necessarily believed to be a balanced diet regime. Because of this, following this diet for the long term does require certain precautions to be followed so as to not create any health imbalances. In fact, not properly taking care on the vegan diet and not receiving all the necessary nutrients can lead to the body being unable to produce all the necessary elements it needs to survive. In some cases it may be best to take supplements to ensure that there are not deficiencies caused by the failure to receive all the necessary nutrients in the diet.

On a vegan diet it is necessary to replace all of the nutrients from meat with other foods. The most difficult part to replace is protein, the most basic building block necessary for the proper functioning of the body. In fact, protein cannot be produced by the body in any other way except for through the diet. Since the vegan diet is free of animal meat, vegans make up for this by eating:

Cereals

These are excellent sources of macronutrients: containing vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. All of these are essential for the body's health.

Legumes

These are an excellent alternative source of protein. Legumes are very useful for making up for the lack of protein that may come with a vegan diet.

Seeds

Even seeds provide good sources of protein and minerals that can provide great support to those following a vegan diet.

The recommended foods for ensuring the right amount of nutrients are:

  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Spirulina Algae
  • Sprouts
  • Soy
  • Apricots

The Risks of a Vegan Diet

As we have mentioned before, the vegan diet is not a balanced diet. Firstly, you run the risk of not receiving the right amount of nutrients that the body needs. This diet also contains high levels of tannins, phytates and oxalic acids that further reduce the absorption of essential nutrients. The consumption of excess fibre can also cause digestive problems in the gut.