Going Vegan is a rather new trend in food consumption that has been gaining ground internationally over the past few years. Vegan food doesn’t refer to a vegetarian diet – it actually means cutting off all foods sourced from animals. So that includes milk and milk products, like cheese, curds, etc.
According to vegan.com, a website devoted to ‘making vegan easy’, many people think going vegan requires willpower and struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth, it says.
The key to going vegan is not to cut (reduce) animal products in your diet, rather cut them out totally! Hence, the main tasks involves constantly seeking out new vegan foods. As you discover one new vegan food after another, this influx will crowd the non-vegan foods out of your diet. The more vegan foods you sample, the quicker you’ll move toward eating a primarily vegan diet.
So cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Even a little effort delivers a huge payoff. Sampling just five new vegan foods each week will enable you to discover a steady stream of foods you love. Week by week, these items will increasingly crowd out whatever animal products that remain in your diet. Before long, anytime you get hungry a delicious vegan food will invariably come immediately to mind.
Most of the effort required to go vegan involves discovering new foods. The more new foods you try each week, the quicker you will progress. You certainly don’t need to go vegan all at once. While some people do it overnight, others ease into a vegan diet over months or years. How fast you go doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether the approach you take feels easy and comfortable.
Ardent vegans say, if you don’t feel ready to commit to going vegan for life., why not simply try a vegan diet for just three weeks. In no time, you’ll gain a first-hand look at how a vegan diet really feels. The experience will put you in a fantastic position to evaluate how well a plant-based lifestyle works for you, they say, adding , “It only takes a few weeks to develop the habit of eating vegan food most of the time. By the time your ‘test drive’ ends, you may well decide to turn your temporary vegan experiment into a lifetime commitment.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that an appropriately planned vegan diet is healthful for all stages of life. They further advise that plant-based diets may provide a variety of preventative health benefits. As with any diet, a poorly planned vegan diet could be dangerous or unhealthful. A balanced vegan diet is made up of four key categories of foodstuff – legumes, nuts, and seeds, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
The legume-nut-seed group includes beans, split peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products. These nutrient-dense foods are packed with protein, fiber, minerals, B vitamins, protective antioxidants, and essential fatty acids(1). Sample serving sizes from this group include: 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 4 ounces of tofu or tempeh, 1 cup of soy milk, 1 ounce of nuts or seeds, or 2 tablespoons of nut or seed butter.
Whole grains provide B vitamins, fiber, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. They are preferable to refined grains because the refining process removes the health-iest nutrients. Also, intact whole grains—such as brown rice, oats, wheat berries, millet, and quinoa—are nutritionally superior to whole grain flours and puffed or flaked whole grains(2). A serving is 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked grain, or 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal. This group is fairly flexible with regard to servings per day. Vary your intake based on your individual energy needs.
Eating a wide variety of colorful vegetables every day will ensure that you’re getting an assortment of protective nutrients in your diet(3). A vegetable serving is 1/2 cup cooked, 1 cup raw, or 1/2 cup of juice. For most vegetables, particularly calcium-rich leafy greens, it’s nearly impossible to eat too much.
Most fruits, especially citrus fruits and berries, are a great source of vitamin C. All fruits provide antioxidants. Choose whole fruits over fruit juices to get the most benefit, particularly from dietary fiber. A serving size is 1 medium piece, 1 cup sliced, 1/4 cup dried, or 1/2 cup of juice.