Vegan 101: The Vegan Diet Guide for Beginners
It isn’t too late to set your goals for the New Year.
Tons of you have asked what a vegan diet is and how you can make the lifestyle change. Well, we’re here to give you the rundown of the vegan diet! Plus, we will provide you with three tips on how you can transition.
Vegan Diet 101
A vegan diet is one that consists of only plant-derived foods. Following a vegan diet means that you do not consume any animal products or by-products. However, this lifestyle is more than just abstaining from meat products. Eating any food that was produced by an animal is prohibited.
Forbidden foods include but not limited to: Eggs, dairy, honey, seafood, some sugar, Jell-O, marshmallow, gummy bears, some candies, red foods (they get their coloring from insects), various soy cheeses, salad dressings, packaged peanuts (some brands use gelatin) and more.
Looking at that list, you can see why there is a common misconception that labels vegan eaters as people that live off of bananas, salad, and soybeans.
While we do eat a lot of these foods, vegans can eat a lot of the same foods that non-vegans eat. The only difference is that our dishes are made without animal products.
To help you see that vegan food isn’t dull, check out some of the recipes we published on the blog! We love to make Cauliflower Wings and Cinnamon Rolls. We promise that these recipes will have you eating delicious meals without compromising your health values.
Before you look at the linked meals, please understand that eating vegan is not a lifestyle that is expensive and solely for the elite. To your surprise, the most nutritious and inexpensive vegan foods can be found in any supermarket! Leafy greens, fresh fruits, organic grains, legumes and nuts/seeds can be found on the perimeter of your local grocery store. As a rule of thumb, it is best to shop at the boundary of the grocery store because foods that are fresh and low in sodium are located here.
Vegan processed foods like tofu, soy meat, cheeses, desserts, and pizza should rarely be eaten.
Why? Not all vegan foods are healthy.
Shockingly, some are filled and processed with preservatives and “bad” fats. For example, Veggie Patties use heavily processed fats (corn oil and canola oil), artificial ingredients (MSG and flavoring) and thickeners (tapioca starch). Corn oil, MSG and Tapioca Starch are used to make vegan food look, taste and smell like the real thing. If you do eat processed goods that are soy based, try to minimize your intake or eat organic.
The key takeaway here is that a healthy vegan diet relies on a vast variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains (limited), nuts, seeds, and legumes. Imagine that food is medicine. Thinking of it as such by making good food choices in your everyday life will directly affect your skin, weight, nutrition and more.
Congrats – You made it this far in the post! Below we listed some tips that can help you get started on your journey.
Tips for First-Time Vegans
Commit - Having success with any goal begins with having the right mindset. To start eating vegan, you must decide that nothing will stand in the way of your goal. My mom likes to say, “If you are going to do something, do it right. Don’t do things half-assed!”
Discard – Go through your kitchen and toss out any food that is not vegan. If you clear out the junk first, then you will be less tempted stray off course later. Say your goodbyes to your cookie dough and box of cheesy snacks now!
Plan – It is essential to meal plan a week ahead of time. Visualize your week and the obligations you have for each day. If you have to travel, go to a team meeting or eat out, think about the food options available to you. Try cooking your own meals and locating vegan-friendly restaurants in your area.
Would you try eating a vegan diet? Let us know in the comments below!
Until Next Time,
“Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!”