I think this speaks for most people that the majority of us could eat more plants!
In fact, at least 70% of people don’t get their recommended intake of fruits and veggies. Eating a more plant-based diet helps lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, and even some cancers.
It helps to improve our health massively for many reasons, especially gut health. It enables you to better absorb the nutrients from your food, which helps support your immune system, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels and protect your bowel.
But there’s more than one way to up your plant intake.
For some, the path to a plant-heavy eating plan is through veganism. A vegan diet is strictly against animal products, in every form. Not only do vegans not eat meat, dairy, eggs or honey; they also don’t wear animal products (think leather) or use products tested on animals.
Being a vegan is a way of life, 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 purpose.
For other veggie fans, a plant-based diet may be a better fit.
Plant-based diets are similar but not exactly the same as vegan diets. Following a plant-based diet means eating more plants and plant proteins and cutting back on animal products, but maybe not entirely.
Some people who follow a plant-based diet might decide to eat some meat still, and there are no restrictions about wearing or using animal products.
Even though a vegan diet can certainly be a healthy one, I would say a plant-based diet has one nutritional edge. It usually encourages eating more whole foods and avoiding processed picks.
Processed and packaged foods can still be vegan–and not-so-nutritious, like vegan ice cream or biscuits.
Whether you eliminate all animal products or not, you can make plant-based dishes that are totally filling and satisfying.
Can I get all the nutrients I need from a vegan diet?
Vegans select from the large variety of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds to prepare meals. Getting all the nutrients you need from those food categories however, may not be so simple. The biggest nutrient deficiency concern with veganism is vitamin B12, which is found in animal foods.
Unless you are eating fortified vegan products to meet your nutrition needs, a B12 supplement could be necessary. Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine, and iron are other nutrients to pay attention to if you’re eating a vegan diet. It’s important to eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, plant-based oils, beans and legumes in order to meet micronutrient needs.
Will being a Vegan help me lose weight?
Being a vegan began as a way of improving the environment and protecting animals and improving the health of millions of people. But you might find that you do lose weight—whether you want to or not—if you don’t keep an eye on your food intake. Rather than focus on cutting out animal foods, focus on what you will add to your diet and always keep nutrients at the forefront of your mind. Make sure to replace the animal foods with plant-based foods rather than simply eliminate them as this is a great way to ensure that calorie needs are met.
This mindset should come in handy if you’re a committed carnivore; no doubt about it, following a vegan diet is more difficult if you’re used to eating meat with every meal. But being vegan offers far more creativity, flavours, new recipes and a ton of veggies you might not even have heard of before!
Vegans don’t consume meat, fish, birds, cow’s or goat milk, eggs, honey, or foods made with any of these or other animal products such as gelatine, beef or chicken broths, lard or tallow. But you can eat all fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, for starters.
Confusion is most likely to come if you’re eating pre-packaged foods, so you have to get into the habit of checking the ingredients list to make sure there are no animal-derived ingredients, or better still, make everything from scratch!
Vegan packaged foods are labelled with a ‘suitable for vegans’ or ‘certified vegan’ logo. Plus, if the product contains dairy, eggs, or seafood, it will be listed under its allergen list. But if you are making all your dishes fresh at home there is no need to worry as you know exactly what’s going in it.