Tag: vegan diets

    6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Eating Vegan

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    6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Eating Vegan

    Vegan diets offer a range of health benefits.

    For people looking to lose weight, a vegan diet can help. Eating vegan may also help you maintain your heart health. What’s more, this diet may offer some protection against type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

    This https://thevegangarden.com/‘s article examines the science behind the potential benefits of vegan diets. We’ll highlight some recipe ideas that feature the versatility of plant-based, whole food eating. And if you’re wondering how a vegan diet differs from a vegetarian one, we’ll cover that, too.

    A vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients

    Switching to a vegan diet from a typical Western diet means you’ll eliminate meat and animal products.

    This will lead you to rely more heavily on other foods. In the case of a whole food vegan diet, replacements take the form of:

    • whole grains
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • beans
    • peas
    • nuts
    • seeds

    Since these foods make up a larger portion of a vegan diet than a typical Western diet, they can lead to a higher daily intake of certain beneficial nutrients.

    Several studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds. They also appear to be richer in potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E.

    Vegan diets even appear to be higher in iron. However, the form of iron that plants provide is not as bioavailable — meaning, your body is not as able to absorb it — as the form found in animal foods.

    Yet, not all vegan diets are created equal.

    For instance, poorly planned vegan diets may not provide sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D, calcium, iodine, selenium, or zinc.

    That’s why it’s essential to choose whole plant foods and fortified foods. You may need to consider supplements for nutrients such as vitamins B12 and D, zinc, and calcium, since these may be lacking in a vegan diet.

    Eating vegan can help you lose excess weight

    An increasing number of people are turning to plant-based diets in hopes of shedding excess weight. While there’s no guarantee that a vegan diet will lead to weight loss, there may be some good reasons to give it a try.

    Many observational studies suggest that vegans tend to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than nonvegans.

    In addition, several randomized controlled studies — the gold standard in scientific research — report that vegan diets are more effective for weight loss than the diets they are compared with.

    Findings include:

    • A small study found that people eating a low fat, high fiber vegan diet lost more weight than those eating a conventional low fat diet.
    • Participants following a vegan diet lost an average of 13 lbs (6 kg) over 16 weeks, while those following the Mediterranean diet did not see any weight loss.
    • Vegan eaters also lost more weight in a study than people who included meat or fish in their diets. Vegetarians lost just as much weight as vegans in this study.
    • When comparing a low fat, whole food vegan diet to a standard omnivorous diet over 16 weeks, the vegan diet resulted in an average of 13 lbs (6 kg) of weight loss. People eating their regular diets did not experience significant weight loss.

    What’s more, a small study comparing the weight loss effects of five different diets concluded that vegetarian and vegan diets were just as well-accepted as semi-vegetarian and standard Western diets.

    Even when study participants weren’t following the diets perfectly, the people in the vegetarian and vegan groups still lost more weight than those on a standard Western diet.

    Overall, more studies are needed to understand which aspects of a vegan diet make the biggest difference when it comes to weight loss. Whether a diet is vegan or not, many factors can affect how well a weight loss diet works, including:

    • fiber content
    • calorie levels
    • eating whole foods versus processed foods

    A vegan diet appears to lower blood sugar levels and improve kidney function

    A vegan diet may also provide benefits for type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.

    Indeed, vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels and higher insulin sensitivity and may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    Even if you don’t go fully vegan, increasing your intake of healthy plant-based foods and decreasing your intake of meat- and dairy-based foods may reduce your type 2 diabetes risk.

    A 2006 study even reported that a vegan diet lowers blood sugar levels in people with diabetes more than the recommended diet from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    In one 2009 study, 43% of participants following a vegan diet were able to reduce their dosage of blood sugar-lowering medication, compared with only 26% of participants who followed an ADA-recommended diet.

    6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Eating Vegan

    Lower risk of diabetes complications

    In general, a vegan diet is thought to lower the risk of complications for people with type 2 diabetes.

    People with diabetes who substitute plant protein for meat may reduce their risk of poor kidney function, but more research is needed on this topic.

    What’s more, several studies report that a vegan diet may help to relieve pain caused by peripheral neuropathy, a common condition in people with diabetes. But more evidence is needed before experts can confirm that this approach is effective.

    Going vegan may protect against certain cancers

    According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet.

    Benefits of eating more plant foods

    Vegans generally eat considerably more legumes, fruits, and vegetables than nonvegans. This may explain why a 2017 study found that vegans may benefit from a 15% lower risk of developing cancer.

    For instance, eating legumes regularly may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by 9–18%.

    And according to the National Cancer Institute, eating higher amounts of plant-based foods reduces your risk of several types of cancer, including stomach, lung, mouth, and throat cancers.

    It may also reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.

    What’s more, vegan diets generally contain more soy products, which may offer some protection against breast cancer.

    Benefits of avoiding meat

    Avoiding certain animal products may also help reduce the risk of prostate, breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. Red meat, smoked meat, or processed meats and meats cooked at high temperatures are thought to promote certain types of cancers.

    Because a vegan diet does not contain meat, vegans don’t consume these foods. This could lower their cancer risks.

    Effects of avoiding dairy

    Vegans also avoid dairy products, which some studies suggest may slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer.

    On the other hand, there is evidence that dairy may help reduce the risk of other cancers, such as colorectal cancer.

    So, avoiding dairy may not be the factor that lowers vegans’ overall risk of cancer.

    It’s important to note that these studies are observational. They make it impossible to pinpoint the exact reason vegans have a lower risk of cancer.

    However, until researchers know more, it seems wise to focus on increasing the amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes you eat each day while limiting your consumption of processed, smoked, and overcooked meats.

    A vegan diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease

    Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and fiber is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

    Well-planned vegan diets generally include all these foods in amounts higher than the standard Western diet.

    Observational studies comparing vegans with vegetarians and non-vegetarians report that vegans may benefit from up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

    Vegans may also have a lower risk of dying from heart disease, though more studies are needed to understand the relationship.

    What’s more, several randomized controlled studies report that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels than the diets they are compared with.

    This may be particularly beneficial to heart health, since reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels may reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 46%.

    A well-balanced vegan diet includes plenty of whole grains and nuts, both of which are good for your heart.

    The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

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    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 would happen if everyone went vegan?

    What would happen if everyone went vegan?

    The idea of everyone adopting a vegan diet might sound extreme, but in the last few years, the number of Britons following a plant-based diet has risen significantly. There are at least 600,000 vegans in the UK — although some sources put this figure nearer 2.7 million — while nearly 40 per cent of meat eaters say they’ve reduced the amount of meat they consume.

    You can see this growing interest in vegetarianism and vegan diets all around us. From the explosion of dairy-free ‘milk’ alternatives on supermarket shelves to vegan options on menus – or even entirely vegan restaurants. What was once a more niche lifestyle choice is becoming increasingly mainstream.

    For scientists, policymakers and economists, the idea of a vegan future is especially interesting – with one of the biggest drivers being the environment. Keep scrolling to get further information about vegan in https://thevegangarden.com/.

    How does food affect greenhouse gases?

    Your fridge might seem an unlikely setting for the fight against global warming, but did you know that food is responsible for a third of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions? What’s more, meat and dairy make up nearly 60 per cent of that carbon footprint.

    The UN says that global farmed livestock accounts for roughly 11 per cent of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions (with methane from cows a surprisingly big culprit). But according to new research published in the journal Climate, if we all went vegan, the world’s food-related CO2 emissions may drop by 68 per cent within 15 years, The move, which the study’s authors admit is hypothetical, would also provide the cut in emissions needed to limit global warming to 2ºC.

    However, going vegan is not the only way to reduce food-related greenhouse gasses. Regenerative farming improves soil health on a farm by diversifying the types of crops grown and integrating them with animals. For example, a farmer could graze cows or sheep on a field for one year, making use of their natural fertiliser while also giving the soil a rest.

    The Soil Association says healthy soil can capture and store more carbon than degraded soil; around two tonnes more carbon in every football pitch-sized patch of farmland. The idea is gaining popularity – in 2021, the UK government announced plans to subsidise farmers up to £70 per hectare if they adopt regenerative agriculture techniques.

    So, going vegan may be better for the planet but there are other ways to tackle carbon emissions and global warming that don’t mean cutting out meat and dairy.

    What would happen if everyone went vegan?

    Is a vegan diet healthy?

    We know Western diets are linked to many health problems including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. In 2015, the World Health Organisation even categorised processed meat such as bacon as carcinogenic, along with asbestos, alcohol and arsenic. This might suggest that switching to a more plant-focused diet may be good for you as well as the planet.

    An increasing amount of evidence shows the health benefits of eating more plant-focused foods, such as a reduced risk of dying from heart disease, fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and a lower risk of some cancers. A 2018 study by University of Oxford even concluded that switching to a plant-based diet could save up to eight million lives worldwide.

    However, being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating healthily. Some vegan products contain a lot of coconut oil, for example, which is high in saturated fat. The rise in vegan junk food, like burgers, ‘fish’ and chips, or sausage rolls, could also be fooling you into believing these foods are healthy. In fact, many are high in calories but lacking in essential nutrients, or are packed with salt and sugar.

    Vegan diets may also miss out on vital vitamins and minerals, as they’re naturally low in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are vegan, it’s important to eat plenty of plant proteins from beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and soya versions of ‘milk’ and yogurt to help boost your intake of those nutrients.

    Peanuts are also a good vegan source of protein, while other nuts and seeds can provide minerals such as zinc and selenium – cashews, pistachios, flaxseeds, chia or pumpkin seeds are particularly valuable. Quinoa and buckwheat are often called pseudo-grains but are in fact seeds; quinoa is especially useful for vegans because it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids that we need for growth and repair.

    It’s easy to follow a balanced diet as a vegan but you need to be aware of what – and how much – you’re eating: good advice for omnivores and herbivores alike.

    Can going vegan reduce food shortages?

    Would a vegan future make food poverty history? If it’s about freeing up space and resources for growing food, there is some evidence to back this up.

    A meat-eater’s diet requires 17 times more land, 14 times more water and 10 times more energy than a vegetarian’s, according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is principally because we use a large proportion of the world’s land for growing crops to feed livestock instead of humans – of the world’s approximately five billion hectares of agricultural land, 77 per cent is used for livestock.

    This squeeze on resources is only set to intensify. In 50 years, the UN predicts there will be 10.5 billion people on the planet (the current world population is around 8 billion). To feed us all, we need to grow food more sustainably.

    One of the counterarguments against this vegan solution is that some grazing land isn’t suitable for growing crops. That’s certainly true, but there’s actually a bigger problem with eradicating world hunger. Right now, we already produce enough calories to comfortably feed everyone on the planet, but more than 820 million people may still not get enough food.

    In other words, having enough to eat is as much about politics and big business as it is about dietary choices, so there’s nothing to say that hunger would be a thing of the past in a vegan world.

    Where would all the animals go?

    If we no longer bred farm animals, what would happen? Would they become extinct? Would they overrun the planet?
    Billions of farm animals would no longer be destined for our dinner plates and if we couldn’t return them to the wild, they might be slaughtered, abandoned, or taken care of in sanctuaries. Or, more realistically, farmers might slow down breeding as demand for meat falls.

    Farm animals are bred far more intensively than they reproduce in the wild. As with all wildlife, any returned animal populations would fluctuate and eventually reach a balance, depending on predators and available resources in the wild.

    It’s worth noting that not all livestock could simply ‘go free’. Some farm breeds, such as broiler chickens, are now so far removed from their ancestors that they couldn’t survive in the wild. Others, like pigs and sheep, could feasibly return to woodlands and grazing pastures, and find their own natural population levels.

    On top of that, even if we stopped eating animals, our ongoing destruction of wild habitats would still reduce their numbers. As always with nature, it’s a question of balance.