Tag: health benefits

    What to know about lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets

    No Comments
    What to know about lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets

    A lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs and dairy but avoids other animal products. Some research associates vegetarian diets with health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure.

    However, people should try to avoid too many processed foods, which can negate these health benefits. Instead, they should focus on eating whole foods.

    This article https://thevegangarden.com/‘s defines what a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet is and looks at what the evidence says about its health benefits and potential risks. It lists what to eat and what to avoid and gives an example of a 5-day meal plan.

    What is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet?

    A lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, and fish but includes eggs and dairy products. People commonly refer to this dietary pattern simply as a vegetarian diet.

    The word “lacto” refers to milk, and “ovo” refers to eggs. Similarly, someone could choose to follow a lacto-vegetarian diet, excluding eggs but consuming milk.

    People may follow a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet for ethical reasons, such as animal rights or to help the environment. Other people choose the diet for health or religious reasons, or simply as a personal preference.

    As farmers do not slaughter animals to obtain eggs, milk, and honey, many vegetarians choose to eat these foods. However, some people who follow a vegan diet may argue that the dairy and egg industries do involve slaughter or other animal cruelty and that producing honey exploits bees.

    What to know about lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets

    Health benefits

    A vegetarian diet that includes whole foods, fruits, and vegetables can help reduce a person’s risk of some chronic diseases. The following looks at what the evidence says about potential health benefits.


    A 2019 review and meta-analysis indicated that people eating a vegetarian diet might have lower levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and fibrinogen.

    According to the authors, these inflammatory markers are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. They also suggest that lower body mass index (BMI) scores among vegetarians may, in part, account for the anti-inflammatory effects.

    Furthermore, eating a wide range of plant foods means that vegetarians may consume higher amounts of antioxidants, which are anti-inflammatory and beneficial to health.

    Lowering blood pressure

    A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that there is a link between vegetarian diets and significant reductions in blood pressure compared with omnivorous diets. This may play a key role in managing hypertension.

    The same review indicated that vegetarian diets are low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in antioxidants, and these factors can lower blood pressure.

    Preventing diabetes

    A 2017 meta-analysis of data from 14 studies indicated that a vegetarian diet could reduce the risk of diabetes.

    The authors suggest that a lower BMI may contribute to the reasons for this, which also include eating risk-reducing foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

    Managing weight

    A 2021 review suggests that vegetarians may have better control of their weight in the long term and may adhere to vegetarian diets better than people who follow other diets, such as paleo, weight loss, or gluten-free.

    However, the review pointed out that some studies have highlighted increased anxiety and eating disorders among vegetarians, raising the possibility that young people may adopt the diet to limit their food intake.


    There are potential risks of a vegetarian diet, particularly for certain groups of people. There are also some myths about the diet’s nutritional inadequacies.

    Inadequate protein myth

    Some people have concerns that vegetarian diets do not provide adequate protein or amino acids.

    However, a 2019 review indicated that vegetarians consume an average of 1.04 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight, according to two large studies. This amount is higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 g/kg body weight.

    The same review also analyzed the amino acid profile of vegetarian diets. The authors concluded that when diets are at least slightly varied, choosing plant proteins with complementary amino acid patterns is overcautious.

    Groups of people at risk

    People of certain ages should be careful to ensure that they consume enough essential nutrients on a vegetarian diet.

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise that young children and people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or chestfeeding should seek nutritional advice on following a vegetarian diet.

    Depending on how many animal products they include in the diet, there is a risk that they may not meet daily requirements for nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

    Similarly, older people who may have limited cooking resources or access to healthy food may miss essential nutrients by following a vegetarian diet.

    Groups of people who may be at risk can choose to take a vegetarian supplement. However, they should choose a product that does not contain a gelatine capsule.

    Processed foods

    Another potential risk of a vegetarian diet is that someone may choose more processed foods than whole foods.

    The recent boom in plant-based diets means that many “junk food” alternatives are available with higher sugar, fat, and salt levels than whole food ingredients.

    Eating too many processed foods can cause weight gain and feelings of lethargy and fatigue.

    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

    No Comments
    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

    The alkaline diet promotes good-for-you-foods, but its primary promise doesn’t hold up

    With all the chatter out there about the alkaline diet, it’s easy to think that maybe there’s something to it. It has a science-y name that rings of chemistry-based truth. There are easy-to-follow lists all over the internet telling you what to eat and what to avoid. Pro athletes are hyping it. Celebrity influencers are all over it. Maybe this is the real deal, right?

    Except, like so many things in life, the claims made by fans of the alkaline diet aren’t so clear cut. And its promise to “hack” your body’s functions just doesn’t stand up to scientific rigor.

    “All in all, the alkaline diet can be safe and beneficial if done right,” says registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD. “This diet can help keep you healthy, but not for the reasons you might think.”

    DiMarino breaks down the pros and cons of this trending diet in this website https://thevegangarden.com/ so you can decide if going alkaline is right for you.

    What is the alkaline diet?

    If you remember much from science class, or if you spend time maintaining a pool or garden, you might be familiar with pH — a measurement of how acidic or basic (alkaline) a solution is. It’s scored on a scale of 0 to 14.

    • A pH of 0 to 6 is acidic.
    • A pH of 7 is neutral.
    • A pH of 8 or higher is basic, or alkaline.

    The alkaline diet is based on the unproven notion that there are health benefits to be gained by moving your body chemistry to the alkaline side of the scale. Proponents of the diet say that by eating foods that are alkaline, instead of acidic or neutral, you’ll:

    • Ward off chronic conditions like osteoporosis and cancer.
    • Increase your energy.
    • Lose weight.

    Here’s the thing, though: Some parts of your body are naturally acidic. Some parts of your body are naturally alkaline. And there’s not really anything you can do to change that — nor would you really want to.

    “Your body is a smart machine. It regulates pH very well on its own,” DiMarino says. “Our stomachs are very acidic, so they can break down food. Our skin has a slightly acidic pH to protect against bacteria. Our lungs and kidneys work to remove metabolic waste and keep our body pH where it needs to be.”

    Your blood stays at an alkaline level between about 7.2 and 7.4. If the pH falls out of that range, it can be fatal. Lucky for us, though, nothing you eat will change your blood pH.

    What Is the Alkaline Diet, and Is It Safe?

    Should I try the alkaline diet?

    The alkaline diet emphasizes choosing natural foods that are generally good for you, so in some ways, it can be a benefit to your health. But it’s not without some downfalls.

    DiMarino considers the pros and cons.

    Pro: Alkaline foods are generally healthy choices

    Unlike some other fad diets (here’s looking at you, fruitarians), the alkaline diet is packed full of foods that have high nutritional value. It restricts added sugars and encourages avoiding packaged foods in favor of fresh foods that are well-known for their health value.

    “The alkaline diet encourages low-processed, whole foods, which have been shown to prevent disease in the long term, so in that respect, it can be considered a healthy eating pattern,” DiMarino notes.

    Some of the pillars of an alkaline diet are foods we know to be solid staples of a healthy diet:

    • Fruits and unsweetened fruit juice.
    • Grains like wild rice, oats and quinoa.
    • Legumes.
    • Non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage and carrots.
    • Nuts.
    • Seeds.

    These are some of the same foods that research has shown to be heart-healthy, weight loss-friendly and all-around good for you. So it stands to reason that, yes, when you make healthy, whole foods the basis of your diet, you can reap some serious health benefits.

    Con: You may miss out on protein and other nutrients

    Protein is important to help grow and repair muscle, supply nutrients to your body and much more. But if you’re adhering closely to the alkaline diet, many common sources of protein are off limits.

    The alkaline diet is a plant-based diet. Similar to a vegan diet, it doesn’t allow for any animal proteins, including meats, eggs or dairy. People who follow a vegan diet can get sufficient nutrients from plant-based proteins like:

    • Lentils.
    • Soybeans and soy milk.
    • Tempeh.
    • Tofu.

    The strictest followers of the alkaline diet, however, will say these foods are acidic or acid-forming and should be avoided. Other alkaline diet followers allow for small amounts of plant proteins, from soy or lentils for example.

    “Following a rigid alkaline diet will make it difficult to get enough nutrients like protein, iron and calcium,” DiMarino cautions. “Low protein can cause loss of muscle mass. Low iron can cause anemia. And low calcium can be a risk to your bone health.”

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

    • Adult women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) consume 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein each day.
    • Adult men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) consume 5.5. to 7 ounces of protein each day.

    Con: The alkaline diet can be intensive and costly

    If you’re committed to food sourcing and meal prep (or if you have a personal chef à la Hollywood royalty), an alkaline diet can fit into your lifestyle. But the barrier to entry may be too high for some people.

    Keeping all the right fruits, veggies and grains on hand (and fresh) requires some careful planning on your part. Whole, nutritious foods aren’t readily available to all people in all seasons, and their cost can be a barrier. There’s even alkaline water on the market, sold at a premium.

    “An alkaline diet is not inherently easy to follow,” DiMarino says. “It focuses almost exclusively on whole, unprocessed foods, which can depend on the season and may be hard to find sometimes. These foods tend to be more expensive and labor-intensive. An alkaline diet can be sustainable, but you need to be able to plan it carefully and ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.”

    When you’re following an alkaline diet, eating in restaurants, getting take-out or grabbing a convenient quick bite could prove difficult. And not everyone has time or experience in pre-planning and preparing each meal and snack to ensure optimal nutrition.

    Seeing the results

    People following the alkaline diet regularly use what they call a dipstick to analyze the pH in their urine to see if the diet is “working.” While it’s true that the pH of your pee will change from acidic to alkaline if you follow an alkaline diet (and pretty quickly, too), DiMarino says the pH of your urine doesn’t reflect anything about the current state of your health.

    “Our urine is a great way to get rid of the metabolic waste from what we eat,” he says. “Your urine pH reflects what you had to eat recently, but it doesn’t signify anything about the quality of your diet or current nutritional status.”

    Should I talk with a doctor about the alkaline diet?

    If you’re considering following the alkaline diet, talk with a doctor or a registered dietitian to see if you would benefit, and discuss ways to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

    “I would recommend to anyone trying to start a new diet, especially a trendy one, to discuss it with their healthcare provider,” DiMarino says. “They’ll be able to provide you with a thorough assessment and evidence-based strategies to meet your goals.”

    No matter what you eat, you won’t change your body’s pH — which means that at the end of the day, the primary promise of the alkaline diet isn’t based on scientific fact.

    If you’re able to put in the work and ensure you meet your nutritional needs, the alkaline diet may effectively help you lose weight and ward off some common chronic conditions. But tried-and-true methods like regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet remain the gold standard — no dipstick-pee-test required.

    The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

    No Comments
    The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

    A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may lack sufficient protein. But vegans can get protein from various plant sources, though some may be better than others.

    Many experts agree that a well-planned meatless diet can provide all the nutrients you need, including protein.

    That said, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others, and new and older studies alike suggest that higher protein diets can promote muscle strength, feelings of fullness, and weight loss.

    Here are 18 plant foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving.

    Benefits and risks of a vegan diet

    Plant-based diets have been linked to several health benefits.

    Vegan diets may support weight goals, blood pressure, heart health, and more

    For starters, vegans tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMI) than non-vegans, which may be associated with lower chronic disease risk in some populations.

    In addition, studies suggest that vegan diets are more effective at helping people lose weight than many other diets, including the Mediterranean diet.

    A vegan diet has also been linked to a lower risk of cancer. What’s more, it also appears to reduce pain from arthritis and may further reduce your likelihood of experiencing age-related cognitive decline.

    Plant-based diets are also linked to several other health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better-regulated blood sugar levels, and a healthier heart.

    Because of this, several health organizations recommend increasing the amount of plant-based protein in our diets.

    Learn more about potential benefits of plant-based diets in this websites https://thevegangarden.com/.

    Vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies without careful planning

    That said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vegan diets will be equally beneficial.

    While well-planned vegan diets made up of mostly minimally processed foods are considered beneficial for all stages of life, those including large amounts of ultra-processed plant foods are not.

    Poorly-planned or highly-processed vegan diets may also increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and long-chain omega-3s.

    Sprouting, fermenting, and cooking foods in cast-iron cookware can further enhance your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients contained in plant foods.

    Minimizing your intake of processed plant foods, while increasing your intake of whole or minimally-processed ones can help reduce the risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies.

    Using supplements and fortified foods to bridge any nutritional gaps can also minimize your risk of experiencing ill effects from a vegan diet.

    The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

    Plant versus animal protein

    Protein is made up of chains of molecules known as amino acids.

    There are 20 amino acids found in nature that your body can use to build protein. Out of these 20 amino acids, 9 are considered essential, which means that your body cannot produce them itself, so you need to get them from your diet.

    The remaining 11 are considered non-essential, as your body can produce them from the 9 essential amino acids.

    Animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Plants also contain all nine essential amino acids — however, besides a few exceptions, most typically offer a limited amount of at least one essential amino acid.

    For instance, beans, lentils, peas, and many vegetables tend to contain low amounts of cysteine and methionine. On the other hand, grains, nuts, and seeds tend to be low in lysine.

    Because of this, many people refer to plant foods as “incomplete” sources of protein.

    However, as long as you eat a variety of plant-based proteins, this shouldn’t pose a problem. You can still get sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids your body needs.

    1. Seitan

    Seitan is a popular protein source for many vegetarians and vegans.

    It’s made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many soy-based mock meats, it closely resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked.

    Also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, it contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), making it one of the richest plant protein sources available.

    Seitan is also a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

    You can find this meat alternative in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores, especially at health food stores. You can also make your own version with vital wheat gluten.

    Seitan can be pan-fried, sautéed, and even grilled, making it easy to incorporate into a variety of recipes.

    However, because it contains wheat, people with gluten-related disorders should avoid eating seitan.

    2. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame

    Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans and are especially popular in East Asian cuisine.

    Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide your body all the essential amino acids it needs.

    Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled before you eat them. Then, they can be enjoyed on their own or added to soups, salads, sushi, wraps, stir-fries, or rice rolls.

    Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Meanwhile, tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans, then pressing them into a block.

    Tofu doesn’t have much taste on its own, but it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it’s prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.

    Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups, stews, curries, and chilis.

    All three soy-based proteins contain iron, calcium, and 12–20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

    Edamame is also rich in folate, vitamin K, and fiber, which can help support digestion and regularity.

    On the other hand, tempeh contains probiotics, B vitamins, and minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus.

    3. Lentils

    With 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (198 grams), lentils are a great source of protein.

    They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dahls.

    Lentils are also a great source of fiber, providing over half of your recommended daily fiber intake in a single cup (198 grams).

    Furthermore, the type of fiber found in lentils has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your colon, which can help promote a healthy gut. Lentils may also reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, excess body weight, and certain types of cancer.

    In addition, lentils are rich in folate, manganese, and iron. They also contain a hearty dose of antioxidants and other health-promoting plant compounds.

    Lentils are popular around the globe, and they’re the basis of Indian dishes known as dal or dahl. If you eat South Asian food often, chances are you’re already a fan of lentils.

    4. Beans

    Kidney, black, pinto, and most other varieties of beans are extremely important staple foods across cultures and contain high amounts of protein per serving.

    Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another type of bean with a high protein content.

    Most types of beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (170 grams). They’re also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and several beneficial plant compounds.

    Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can help decrease cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and even reduce belly fat.

    Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas.

    5. Nutritional yeast

    Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, which is sold commercially as a yellow powder or flakes.

    It has a cheesy flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like mashed potatoes and scrambled tofu.

    Nutritional yeast can also be sprinkled on top of pasta dishes or even enjoyed as a savory topping on popcorn.

    Half an ounce (16 grams) of this complete source of plant protein provides 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

    Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including vitamin B12.

    However, keep in mind that not all types of nutritional yeast are fortified, so be sure to check the label carefully.

    6. Spelt and teff

    Spelt and teff belong to a category known as ancient grains. Other ancient grains include einkorn, barley, sorghum, and farro.

    Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, whereas teff originates from an annual grass, meaning that it’s naturally gluten-free.

    Spelt and teff provide 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (250 grams), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains.

    Both are excellent sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. They also contain B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.

    Spelt and teff are versatile alternatives to other grains, such as wheat and rice, and they can be used in many recipes ranging from baked goods to risotto.

    In fact, flour made from teff is the key ingredient in injera, a flatbread commonly eaten in East Africa, such as in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

    7. Hemp seeds

    Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is sometimes maligned for belonging to the same family as the cannabis plant.

    But hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

    Although hemp seeds aren’t as well-known as other seeds, they contain 9 grams of protein in each 3-tablespoon (30-gram) serving.

    Hemp seeds also contain high levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. What’s more, they’re a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio considered optimal for human health.

    Interestingly, some studies indicate that the type of fats found in hemp seeds may help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and certain skin conditions.

    You can add hemp seeds to your diet by sprinkling some in your smoothie or morning muesli. They can also be used in homemade salad dressings, granola, energy balls, or protein bars.

    8. Green peas

    Green peas contain nearly 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (160 grams), which is slightly more than a cup (237 mL) of dairy milk.

    What’s more, a serving of green peas covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, thiamine, folate, manganese, and vitamin A, C, and K needs.

    Green peas are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and several other B vitamins.

    You can use peas in recipes such as pea-and-basil-stuffed ravioli, Thai-inspired pea soup, or pea-and-avocado guacamole.

    9. Spirulina

    This blue-green algae is definitely a nutritional powerhouse.

    A 2-tablespoon (14-gram) serving provides 8 grams of complete protein, in addition to covering 22% of your daily requirements for iron and 95% of your daily copper needs.

    Spirulina also contains high amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium, and small amounts of most of the other nutrients your body needs, including essential fatty acids.

    According to some test-tube and animal studies, phycocyanin, a natural pigment found in spirulina, also appears to have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

    Furthermore, studies link consuming spirulina to health benefits ranging from a stronger immune system and reduced blood pressure to improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

    Still, we need more human studies before we can draw conclusions on all of spirulina’s health claims.

    10. Amaranth and quinoa

    Although amaranth and quinoa are often referred to as ancient or gluten-free grains, they don’t grow from grasses like other cereal grains do. For this reason, they’re technically considered pseudocereals.

    Nevertheless, similarly to more commonly known grains, they can be prepared or ground into flours.

    Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (185 grams) and are complete sources of protein, which is uncommon among grains and pseudocereals.

    Plus, amaranth and quinoa are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.

    11. Ezekiel bread and other breads made from sprouted grains

    Ezekiel bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include wheat, millet, barley, and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils.

    Two slices of Ezekiel bread contain approximately 8 grams of protein, which is slightly more than most other types of bread.

    Sprouting grains and legumes increases the number of healthy nutrients they contain and reduces their content of antinutrients, which are compounds that can affect your body’s absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

    In addition, studies show that sprouting increases their content of specific amino acids, such as lysine, which can help boost their overall protein quality.

    Similarly, combining grains with legumes could further improve the bread’s amino acid profile.

    Sprouting also seems to boost the content of soluble fiber, folate, vitamins C and E, and beta carotene. It may also slightly reduce gluten, which can improve digestion among people with gluten-related disorders.

    12. Soy milk

    Soy milk is made from soybeans and usually fortified with vitamins and minerals. It can be a great alternative to dairy milk for those who avoid dairy.

    Not only does it contain 6 grams of protein per cup (244 mL), it’s also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

    You can purchase soy milk in most supermarkets. It’s an incredibly versatile product that you can drink on its own or use in a variety of cooking and baking recipes.

    However, keep in mind that soy milk and soybeans do not naturally contain vitamin B12, so I recommend picking a fortified variety.

    Additionally, some types may contain added sugar, so it’s best to opt for unsweetened varieties whenever possible.

    13. Oats and oatmeal

    Eating oats is an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet.

    Half a cup (40 grams) of dry oats provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Oats also contain magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate.

    Although oats are not considered a complete protein, they do contain higher quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat.

    You can use oats in a variety of recipes ranging from oatmeal to veggie burgers. They can also be ground into flour and used for baking.

    14. Wild rice

    Wild rice contains approximately 1.5 times as much protein as other long-grain rice varieties, including brown rice and basmati.

    A cooked cup (164 grams) provides nearly 7 grams of protein, in addition to healthy amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

    Unlike white rice, wild rice is not stripped of its bran. That’s great from a nutritional perspective, as bran contains fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

    However, this causes concerns about arsenic, which can accumulate in the bran of rice crops grown in polluted areas.

    Arsenic is a toxic compound that’s associated with a variety of health problems, especially when consumed regularly over long periods of time.

    Washing wild rice before cooking it and using plenty of water to boil it can significantly reduce levels of arsenic, along with other heavy metals like lead and cadmium.

    15. Chia seeds

    Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala.

    With 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), chia seeds definitely deserve their spot on the list of top plant-based proteins.

    These little seeds contain high levels of iron, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds.

    They’re also incredibly versatile, thanks to their mild taste and ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance.

    This quality makes them an easy addition to a variety of recipes, ranging from smoothies to baked goods to chia pudding.

    16. Nuts, nut butters, and other seeds

    Nuts, seeds, and their derived products are great sources of protein.

    One ounce (28 grams) contains 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the variety.

    Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber and healthy fats, along with iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and certain B vitamins. They likewise contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.

    When choosing which nuts and seeds to buy, keep in mind that blanching and roasting may damage the nutrients in nuts. Therefore, it’s best to reach for raw, unblanched versions whenever possible.

    Also, try opting for natural nut butters to avoid the oil, sugar, and excess salt often added to many popular brands.

    17. Protein-rich fruits and vegetables

    Although all fruits and vegetables contain protein, some contain more than others.

    Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, which typically contain 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.

    Although technically a grain, sweet corn is another common food that contains about as much protein as these high protein vegetables.

    Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include guava, cherimoyas, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines, and bananas, which have about 2–4 grams of protein per cup.

    18. Mycoprotein

    Mycoprotein is a non-animal-based protein derived from Fusarium venenatum, which is a type of fungus.

    It’s often used to produce meat substitutes, including veggie burgers, patties, cutlets, and fillets.

    The nutritional value can range a bit depending on the specific product, but most contain 15–16 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, along with 5–8 grams of fiber.

    Although there are concerns about the safety of mycoprotein related to food allergies, research shows that adverse reactions are very rare.

    However, keep in mind that some products made with mycoprotein may also contain egg whites, so be sure to check the label carefully if you’re following a vegan diet or avoiding eggs for other reasons, such as food allergies.

    The bottom line

    Protein deficiencies among vegetarians and vegans are uncommon, especially for those following a healthy, well-planned diet.

    Still, some people may be interested in increasing their plant protein intake for a variety of reasons.

    This list can be used as a guide for anyone interested in incorporating more plant-based proteins into their diet.

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    Any way you look at it, veganism is growing. More and more consumers—some 20 percent now—are expressing an interest in incorporating more vegan (or “plant-based”) food into their diets. The growth in sales of plant-based food is nine times bigger than that of total food sales, which is one reason that nearly half of all major food companies today have dedicated teams working to develop plant-based products and expand into every grocery aisle. Campuses are evolving too, and by 2025, 42 percent of menus at colleges and universities across the United States will be plant-based.

    Whether you are ready for a lifelong commitment to veganism or you’re just veg-curious, figuring out how to go vegan can be a little overwhelming. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think, and the many positives of being vegan—including health benefits and a lighter carbon footprint—make it worth exploring.

    What is a vegan diet?

    Eating vegan means only consuming foods that come from plants. In other words, vegans eat fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, and they avoid all meat (including fish), dairy products, eggs, and honey. Defining veganism can get complicated, but that is dietary veganism at its core.

    How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Plant-Based

    What are the benefits of a vegan diet?

    A vegan diet feels good. You’re discovering new tastes, enjoying better health, not harming animals, and minimizing your impact on the planet. Here are some of the main benefits that https://thevegangarden.com/ collected.

    Improved health

    The list of ways that a vegan diet improves your health is practically endless: lower risk of cardiovascular disease, protection against certain cancers, reduced risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, improved gut health, lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, healthier skin, reduced arthritis symptoms, and more. Indeed, it seems that every week researchers discover new ways that plant-based eating is better for our bodies.

    Better for the environment

    Raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy takes a major toll on our planet. Not only does it use vast natural resources such as water and land, but it pollutes the air and water, leads to deforestation and biodiversity loss, and is a leading contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In contrast, a recent study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen suggests that a vegan diet is the optimal diet for the environment because its production results in the lowest level of GHG emissions.

    Helps animals

    Reducing animal consumption directly leads to fewer animals being raised and killed for food. That alone is one reason many people choose a vegan diet. But a lower demand for meat, eggs, and dairy also helps animals living in the wild since animal agriculture destroys habitats as it clears land to grow feed crops and create grazing pastures, and the industry kills predators, such as coyotes and bears, who prey on farmed animals. A vegan diet even benefits the ocean, not only because fewer fish are consumed but because runoff from factory farms ends up in waterways, leading to oceanic dead zones.

    Sounder sleep

    Research shows that diets rich in fiber and low in saturated fats, such as vegan diets, contribute to a better night’s sleep. One study examined the sleep duration and quality in 106 women ages 20 to 75 and found that those who consumed the most plant-based protein slept considerably longer and had better sleep quality than those who ate animal protein. Another study found that eating processed meat and animal-based foods can worsen sleeping conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea.

    Stronger brain

    According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegan diets can lower the risk of cognitive health conditions by up to 33 percent. One reason could be a plant-based diet’s high content of brain-protective antioxidants, which may prevent progressive damage to the brain and help slow or halt the onset of dementia. Meanwhile, micronutrients known as polyphenols, which are abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may even help reverse cognitive decline.


    Not surprisingly, a plant-centered diet is associated with a longer lifespan. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that people who ate a healthy diet rich in plant foods enjoyed an 18 to 25-percent lower risk of early death from any cause.

    Better mood

    It seems that a vegan diet really does make people feel better. A large-scale survey by Tracking Happiness found vegans in the United States to be happier than meat-eaters by 7 percent. A study conducted in the UK and published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found similar results, with participants who ate more fruits and vegetables and exercised regularly reporting more happiness overall than those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables and exercised less. Biological reasons for this could be that the arachidonic acid present in meat is associated with depression or that the complex carbohydrates so abundant in vegan diets increase the feel-good hormone serotonin.

    Elevated consciousness

    In addition, many vegans find that this compassionate diet has a spiritual benefit, even if they are not especially religious. Maybe that’s because there is a connection between the inherent nonviolence of veganism and its calming, healing effect on our spirits. Of course, the mindful consumption of plant foods can make this connection even stronger.

    Do vegans get enough protein?

    The first thing to know about protein—an important building block of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood—is that humans do not need as much of it as popular culture would have us believe. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is just 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. So, someone weighing 130 pounds, for instance, should consume 46 grams of protein every day.

    The second thing to know is that there are many, many protein-rich legumes, beans, vegetables, and grains. Eat a simple meal consisting of, say, one cup of quinoa (8 grams of protein), half a cup of cooked black beans (8 grams), and two cups of cooked broccoli (5 grams), and you’ve consumed 21 grams of protein—nearly half the daily recommendation for a 130-pound body. Adding a scoop of vegan protein powder to a smoothie is also a convenient remedy for anyone worried about their intake.

    What’s wrong with a vegetarian diet?

    For many consumers, adopting a vegetarian diet—that is, eliminating meat but not eggs, dairy foods, or honey—is a step toward a healthier lifestyle. Granted, transitioning to a vegetarian diet is widely considered a positive change for heart health and is certainly better than eating meat. But any diet that includes animal products may not offer the full suite of benefits that a well-balanced vegan diet does. Vegan diets tend to be higher in fiber, for instance, and they may be better at protecting against cardiovascular disease because they do not include eggs and dairy, which contain cholesterol. Moreover, dairy consumption has been linked to numerous health concerns, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.

    Yet many people looking to transition to a vegan diet have found success by first adopting a vegetarian diet, feeling that a sudden switch from omnivore to vegan is a bit too daunting. Going vegetarian and learning to eliminate meat products can be a winning formula for taking the next step: going vegan.

    How to go vegan one day a week

    Another approach is to set aside one day a week to be vegan. This gives you three opportunities to discover how nutritious, delicious, and satisfying plant foods can be. Of course, it would be simple to dine at a restaurant offering vegan options or to have food delivered, but an important step in going vegan is learning how to prepare plant-based foods yourself. So, find one or two vegan cookbooks with recipes that appeal to you, including comfort foods, and plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on them.

    Next, prepare your meals by buying the freshest ingredients you can find, whether it’s at your local grocery store or farmers’ market. You can even clean, cut up, and store fruits and vegetables in the fridge the night before your “vegan” day, which will save you time in the kitchen.

    Also, learn about alternatives. There is a vegan substitute for nearly every animal-based food. Try oat milk on your morning cereal, for instance, or one of the many vegan cheeses with your sandwich. Baking a dessert? Ground flax seeds make an outstanding alternative to eggs. Many vegan cookbooks will offer plenty of suggestions on vegan substitutes. Tip: As delicious as pre-packaged meat alternatives can be, they are not particularly healthy and should only be enjoyed occasionally; instead, try seitan, tempeh, or extra-firm tofu to satisfy any meat cravings.

    You will likely discover that being vegan gets easier and more rewarding with each meal.

    How to go vegan every day

    No one wants to feel like they’re missing out on something, so try not to think of veganism as a sacrifice. Instead, gradually crowd out the animal-based foods on your plate with nutritious plant foods. The idea is to fill up on healthier choices first so that by the time you’ve given your body essential nutrients from veggies, legumes, and fruits, you’ll have no appetite for animal-based foods. Here are 10 tips to make going vegan every day easier.

    1. Take it one step at a time. Make small changes and gradually replace animal-based foods in your meals with plant-based foods over time. For example, use oat milk instead of cow’s milk the first week. The next week, replace the meat on your plate with a protein alternative such as tofu, beans, or a veggie burger, or simply add more vegetables and fruit to your meal. Soon you will have crowded animals right out of your diet.
    2. Like taking on any endeavor, going vegan means learning new skills, and preparing meals may be the most fundamental. Invest in two or three vegan cookbooks that look good to you, or check some out of your local library, then try at least one new recipe every week until you’ve got a wide variety of dishes you enjoy, including comfort foods.
    3. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with essential ingredients, such as beans (dry or canned), grains (rice, flour, and quinoa), pasta, tofu, nuts, fresh produce, nutritional yeast, cooking oil, vegetable stock, oat or nut milk, agave, egg replacer, and seasonings. With these staples on hand, you’ll be prepared to make a wide assortment of meals.
    4. Eat more fruits and veggies at each meal. These are not only healthy, but they’ll make you feel fuller.
    5. Discover the wonder of shopping at Asian markets, which are filled with vegan foods and ingredients.
    6. Get involved with a local vegan group, either online or in person, where you can meet like-minded people, share recipes, and feel supported.
    7. Bring a vegan dish when going to a non-vegan gathering, such as holiday dinners. Not only will you be guaranteed to have at least one meal you can eat, but you can share it with others and impress them with how delicious veganism can be.
    8. Find one or two restaurants in your area that serve vegan-friendly dishes, so you have a place to dine on days you don’t feel like cooking. If you’re not sure what vegan entrées your favorite restaurant offers, ask them. You’ll be surprised how many non-vegan meals can be made vegan!
    9. Make sure you are getting the nutrients you need, including vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and iron. Nothing will curtail your vegan path as quickly (or permanently) as feeling tired or malnourished.
    10. Consider a subscription to VegNews Magazine, which offers motivation and mouthwatering recipes with every issue.

    What Is a Vegan Diet? Basics, Ethics, and Foods List

    What Is a Vegan Diet Basics, Ethics, and Foods List

    A vegan diet, or veganism, tends to omit animal products for ethical, health, or environmental reasons.

    Once considered a niche diet, veganism has gone mainstream — so much so that the number of people following a vegan diet has increased by 350% in the last decade, according to research from the U.K.

    By definition, veganism is a way of living in which people exclude, as much as possible, all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty.

    At first glance, a vegan diet may seem complicated or overly restrictive. Many of my clients who are considering switching over to a vegan diet are initially worried about finding suitable vegan alternatives to their favorite meals.

    Yet, most find that once they get a few basics down, the transition is less difficult than they initially expected.

    As someone enjoying a plant-based diet myself, I’ve noticed more and more vegan options appearing on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus in the past couple of years.

    I’ve even recently come across a vegan version of pastel de nata, one of my all-time favorite desserts.

    In this https://thevegangarden.com/‘s article, I’ll outline what veganism is and share a few basics about foods to eat and avoid on a vegan diet.

    What Is a Vegan Diet Basics, Ethics, and Foods List

    What is veganism?

    According to the Vegan Society, the term “vegan” was coined back in 1944 by a small group of vegetarians who broke away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England to form the Vegan Society.

    In addition to refraining from eating meat, they chose not to consume dairy, eggs, or any other products of animal origin.

    The term “vegan” was chosen from the combination of the first and last letters of “vegetarian.” By 1949, the first definition of veganism had been born. It has changed slightly over the years to become what it is known as today.

    According to the latest definition from the Vegan Society, veganism is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purposes.”

    Many people use the term “vegan” to refer exclusively to diet. However, by this latest definition, veganism extends beyond eating a plant-based diet.

    Those who identify as vegans typically aim to exclude animal exploitation or cruelty in all aspects of their lives, including the clothes they wear, the cosmetics they use, and the leisure activities they take part in.

    As a result, many vegans avoid purchasing wool coats, leather furniture, or down pillows and comforters. They may also opt to visit animal sanctuaries instead of going to zoos, the circus, or animal petting farms.

    Why do people go vegan?

    People generally choose to avoid animal products for one or more of the following reasons.


    Ethical vegans strongly believe that all creatures have a right to life and freedom.

    They view all animals as conscious beings that, just like humans, wish to avoid pain and suffering.

    Because of this, ethical vegans are opposed to killing an animal in order to eat its flesh or wear its fur or skin.

    Vegans are also opposed to the psychological and physical stress that animals may endure as a result of modern farming practices — for instance, the small pens or cages that animals typically live in and rarely leave between their birth and slaughter.

    However, for ethical vegans, this sentiment extends beyond the cruelty of modern farming practices.

    That’s because vegans are opposed to consuming products that heavily rely on the killing of other animals — especially because alternatives are available.

    This includes the slaughter of calves that are considered surplus in the dairy industry, or the culling of 1-day-old male chicks that is common in egg production.

    Moreover, ethical vegans generally believe that animals’ milk, eggs, honey, silk, and wool are not for humans to exploit, regardless of the living conditions afforded to the exploited animals.

    This is why ethical vegans remain opposed to drinking an animal’s milk, eating its eggs, or wearing its wool, even in cases where the animals are free-roaming or pasture-fed.


    Some people choose a vegan diet for its potential health benefits.

    Diets high in meat — especially red meat — have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

    On the other hand, plant-based diets have been linked to a lower risk of developing or prematurely dying from these diseases.

    Lowering your intake of animal products in favor of more plant-based options may also improve your digestion and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

    A vegan diet can also help minimize the side effects linked to the antibiotics and hormones used in modern animal agriculture.

    Finally, vegan diets appear to be especially effective at helping people lose unwanted weight. Several studies link a vegan diet to a lower likelihood of obesity.

    However, if you’re on a vegan diet, you may consume less of certain nutrients. That’s why planning is especially important.

    Consider speaking with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or registered dietitian, to plan a vegan diet that will help you get the nutrients you need.

    Vegan diets tend to be low in these nutrients:

    • vitamin B12
    • vitamin D
    • calcium
    • zinc
    • iodine
    • selenium

    People on vegan diets sometimes take supplements to provide nutrients they may not get enough of in their diet.


    People may also choose to avoid animal products in an attempt to limit their environmental impact.

    According to recent data, animal agriculture heavily contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs), which cause climate change.

    Meat eaters are thought to be responsible for 2–2.5 times more GHGEs than people following a vegan diet. This number is based on self-reported dietary patterns in the U.K.

    Ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats, appear to emit the largest amount of greenhouse gases per gram of protein they deliver. Therefore, diets that reduce or totally eliminate dairy also produce significantly fewer GHGEs.

    One study suggests that a vegetarian diet produces 33% fewer GHGEs than a meat-containing standard American diet offering the same amount of calories.

    A vegan diet has an even smaller environmental impact, producing about 53% fewer GHGEs than a calorie-matched meat-containing diet.

    A large proportion of the plant protein currently being produced is used to feed animals rather than humans. Because of this, production of an animal-heavy diet requires use of more of the earth’s resources than production of a plant-based diet.

    For instance, producing animal protein requires 6–17 times more land than the same amount of soybean protein.

    Animal protein also requires, on average, 2–3 times more water, depending on factors such as the season and annual fluctuations in rainfall.

    Because of all of these factors, experts estimate that, if nothing changes, our food system will likely exceed our planet’s resources by the year 2050. Switching over to a vegan diet may be one way to delay this outcome.

    Types of veganism

    It’s important to note that vegan doesn’t necessarily equal healthy.

    The quality of a vegan diet depends on the foods that make it up. Thus, some vegan diets can have many health benefits, while others may not be beneficial for your health.

    Here are a few subcategories of vegan diet that I’ve come across in my clinical practice over the last couple of years:

    • Dietary vegans. Often used interchangeably with “plant-based eaters,” this term refers to those who avoid animal products in their diet but continue to use them in other products, such as clothing and cosmetics.
    • Whole-food vegans. These individuals favor a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
    • Junk-food” vegans. Some people rely heavily on processed vegan foods such as vegan meats, fries, frozen dinners, and desserts, including Oreo cookies and nondairy ice cream.
    • Raw-food vegans. This group eats only foods that are raw or cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C).
    • Low fat raw-food vegans. Also known as fruitarians, this subset limits high fat foods such as nuts, avocados, and coconuts, instead relying mainly on fruit. They may occasionally eat small amounts of other plants.

    Whole-food vegan diets tend to offer excellent health benefits. If you’re interested in trying a vegan diet, consider speaking with a healthcare professional to find the right diet for you.

    What do vegans eat?

    Here are some essential foods people on a vegan diet tend to eat and avoid.

    Foods that vegans eat

    Avoiding animal products doesn’t restrict you to eating salads and tofu alone. There’s a wide variety of delicious foods you can eat on a vegan diet.

    Here are a few ideas:

    • Beans, peas, and lentils: such as red, brown, or green lentils; chickpeas; split peas; black-eyed peas; black beans; white beans; and kidney beans
    • Soy products: such as fortified soy milk, soybeans, and products made from them, such as tofu, tempeh, and natto
    • Nuts: such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, and their butters
    • Seeds: such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and their butters, as well as flaxseed, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
    • Whole grains: such as quinoa, whole wheat, whole oats, and whole grain brown or wild rice, as well as products made from these foods, such as whole grain bread, crackers, and pasta
    • Starchy vegetables: such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, beets, and turnips
    • Nonstarchy vegetables: such as broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, radishes, and leafy greens; these may be raw, frozen, canned, dried, or pureed
    • Fruit: such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, mango, pineapple, oranges, and tangerines; these may be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or pureed
    • Other plant-based foods: such as algae, nutritional yeast, fortified plant milks and yogurts, and maple syrup

    There’s a good chance that many of the dishes you currently enjoy either already are vegan or can be made vegan with a few simple adjustments.

    For instance, you can swap meat-based main dishes for meals containing beans, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, or seeds.

    What’s more, you can replace dairy products with plant milks, scrambled eggs with scrambled tofu, honey with plant-based sweeteners like molasses or maple syrup, and raw eggs with flaxseed or chia seeds.

    You can also choose from the ever-growing selection of ready-made vegan products, including vegan meats, vegan cheeses, and vegan desserts.

    Just keep in mind that these may be highly processed. So while they are fine to eat in moderation, they should not make up the bulk of a healthy vegan diet.

    Foods that vegans avoid

    Vegans avoid all foods of animal origin. These include:

    • Meat and fish: such as beef, chicken, duck, fish, and shellfish
    • Eggs: whole eggs and foods that contain them, such as bakery products
    • Dairy: milk, cheese, butter, and cream, as well as foods made using these ingredients
    • Other animal-derived ingredients: such as honey, albumin, casein, carmine, gelatin, pepsin, shellac, isinglass, and whey

    Checking food labels is generally the best way to determine whether a food contains animal-derived ingredients. Many vegan foods are now also labeled as such, making it easier to recognize them when you’re shopping.

    The bottom line

    Vegans tend to avoid animal products for ethical, health, or environmental reasons or a combination of the three.

    On a vegan diet, you’ll likely find yourself replacing meat, eggs, and dairy with an abundance of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified products made from these foods.

    Transitioning to a vegan diet is easier than most people think. That said, it does require a little additional nutrition knowledge.

    So if you’re interested in making the switch, consider seeking advice from a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based diets to make sure you’ve got your basics covered.

    Depending on your knowledge, budget, and culinary skills, you may also want to consider taking certain supplements to ensure you’re providing your body with all the nutrients it needs.