Well most of us are aware of the obvious fact that a vegan diet excludes meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy. However, there are some myths and misconceptions if a few foods are a part of a vegan diet or not. Let’s bust these myths about what does a vegan diet consist of and gain clarity once and for all. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the foods that you can corporate into your vegan diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, fruits and vegetables are the go-to foods for vegans, vegetarians and non-vegeterians to support their daily nutritional requirements. Considering the wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables to us in the grocery stores, you can pack up as many of them as you would like to without any guilt of extra calories.
The best advice one can ever follow is listening to mother Nature. It provides us with various types of fruits depending on the season and that’s the nature’s way of saying, “This is what I’ve got for you for this season.” So there’s nothing as good as consuming seasonal fruits. Check out this article to get a complete list of seasonal fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget to pack up a good amount of the seasonal fruits on your next visit to the grocery store.
One of the main factors that prevents many meat-eaters from practicing a vegan diet is the myth of lack of protein. I’ll be honest with you. They do not contain as much protein as a chicken breast or other meat-based protein sources. However, there are a lot of alternatives that most of the people are not aware of which can suffice our daily protein requirements.
Beans, lentils, peas, tempeh and tofu are excellent sources of protein, just to name a few. Not just proteins, but they are also packed with fiber and nutrients like iron, magnesium and zinc. Check out this article to understand the methods to maximize nutrient absorption from these legumes.
We need to first understand what’s the difference between whole grains and the refined grains. Whole grains contain the bran or the covering of the grain whereas in refined grains, this cover is eliminated during its processing. I’d request you to keep this in mind before purchasing refined grains. Whole grains have a higher nutrient content than the processed ones.
Brown rice, whole wheat, oats, barley, millets, quinoa, amaranth corn and spelt are some of the healthiest whole grains that are available.
They are rich in complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, fiber and other essential nutrients like iron, zinc and magnesium.
Nuts and Seeds
The importance of including nuts and seeds in your diet in order to maintain a healthy heart cannot be stressed enough. They not only have rich nutritional values but are actually quite delicious. Not just that, but they are excellent sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and a wide variety of other nutrients.
Nuts: Cashews (my absolute favorite!), almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and chest nut.
Seeds: Chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and hump.
Animals are subject to high levels of cruelty during the dairy manufacturing process. That doesn’t have to be only reason for you to consume plant-based milk. It’s a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant and even for varied nutritional requirements.
Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, peanut milk, cashew milk are some of the popular versions of plant-based milk that are consumed widely among the vegan community.
It is one of the common foods among vegans and is used mainly for its nutritional value and also for the nutty and cheesy flavor that it provides.
There are two types of nutritional yeast – fortified and unfortified.
While the fortified variant contains vitamins and minerals, the unfortified one does not. For those who are concerned about the vitamin B-12 deficiency in vegan diets, fortified nutritional yeast is a popular choice.
One of the most essential components in your cooking process are oils. There are a wide variety of vegetable oils that are available in the market to cater to your needs.
Olive oil, avocado oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil can be used in your cooking process and these are considered as some of the healthiest ones available to us.
Tofu and Tempeh
For all those meat lovers out there who are considering switching to a vegan diet or looking for occasional meat alternatives, tofu is the closest alternative that you can get. Though it is slightly processed, it can be a good start for you to get started. In fact, there are really good recipes of tofu which offer taste similar to that of chicken out there. If you’re interested in them, check this article. Let me know down in the comments if we could convince you to try plant-based alternatives, I’d really appreciate it!
Hey fish lovers! We’ve got you covered too. Tempeh is another slightly process alternative just like Tofu. And this should be your go-to food item if you’re looking to satisfy your fish cravings.
Both tofu and tempeh are derived from soybean. However, I’d suggest that you limit their consumption as they are slightly processed.
What’s not included in a vegan diet?
- Several food additives
- Breads (some breads use L-cysteine to make them softer)
- Beer and wine (the ones which use egg albumen or gelatin during manufacturing)
We’ve comprehensively covered all the food items that can be a part of your vegan diet. If there’s anything missing or if you have any feedback or queries, drop them in the comments below. If you are looking for information on something in particular, please let me know. My aim is to provide you with the highest quality, authentic and unbiased information about vegan nutrition.