You’ve probably heard of the vegan diet. It’s quite popular, especially as vegetarianism and other healthy eating habits become more and more common over time. But it can get a little confusing — what exactly do vegans eat, anyway? Read on to find out more about veganism and what kind of benefits it can offer.
What is veganism?
Veganism means that you don’t consume any meat, eggs, dairy, or animal-derived ingredients of any kind. This may include foods that are processed using animal products, like refined sugar or honey, although some vegans extend the diet to include these kinds of products and some do not.
Note that veganism often extends beyond food. A strict vegan will also avoid the use of all personal and household products that are tested on animals, and avoid animal-derived non-food products like fur and leather. It’s all about living a cruelty-free lifestyle.
What do vegans eat?
When following the vegan diet, one can eat fruits and vegetables; grains like pasta, rice, and bread; nuts and seeds; legumes like beans and peas; and dairy alternatives like soy milk or almond milk. There are also a variety of meat or dairy substitutes, made from products like soy, that are perfectly acceptable within the vegan diet.
What don’t vegans eat?
A vegan will avoid all food made from animals or animal products. That includes beef and other red meat, chicken, duck, and poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, cheese, butter, milk and other dairy products, and mayonnaise, among other foods.
What are the benefits of the vegan diet?
Overall, a vegan diet is a very healthy choice. Studies have shown that veganism may help its adherents have better heart health and a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Vegans are also less likely to get diabetes and certain cancers, including breast and gastrointestinal cancer. And the vegan diet is one that provides good nutrition — eating foods like vegetables, whole grains, and nuts is good for many body systems. As long as a vegan makes sure to get enough protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids (nutrients that are easily derived from animal sources) by taking supplements or substituting other foods rich in these nutrients, it’s a healthy diet.
Give Vegan Foods a Try
You don’t have to jump into veganism all at once. Try a few vegan meals here and there — you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to cut out all animal and animal-byproduct foods. Then, you can incorporate vegan eating into your diet as much or as little as you’d like!