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Nutrition, Education, and Motivation that remind us why Plants-Rule.  Supporting a plant-based, whole-foods diet with scientific evidence.  A chef's passion for ingredients with the realistic practicality of a home cook.  These articles offer insight into the benefits of a vegan diet with the humor to support a balanced healthy lifestyle. 

What Does a Vegan Eat? 9 Common Questions about a Plant-Based Diet Plus Healthy Vegan Recipes to Get you Started

 


1) What does a Vegan Eat?

A vegan diet, also sometimes called a plant-based diet, is a diet based around plants.  It includes all varieties of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, lentils, and more.  Vegans do not eat any animal products, and truly restrictive vegans will even forgo animal by-products like honey and leather.  A vegan diet excludes “anything with a face”, including beef, lamb, chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, and shell fish.  Vegans also exclude eggs and dairy products (like milk, cheese, butter, and cream).

 

2) What does a Vegetarian Eat?  

3) What’s the Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan?

A vegetarian diet is very similar to a vegan diet in that vegetarians do not eat any sort of meat, poultry, or seafood.  However, vegetarians will include animal by-products, which are foods that can be made without harming animals.  Milk, cheese, and eggs are part of a vegetarian diet, while vegans will opt to avoid.

 

4) Why does someone become vegan?

People choose a plant-based vegan diet for lots of reasons.  Some come from the perspective of their own health – wanting to reduce the amount of cholesterol, saturated fats, and sodium found in meat, poultry, seafood, and cheese.  Some opt for environmental reasons – they want to reduce the amount of waste and carbon emissions caused by the massive cattle and livestock industries or the destruction to the ocean from the seafood industry.  Others choose a vegan diet as a statement against animal cruelty.  Many vegans will start with one of these motivating reasons and then start to embrace the other advantages as they continue eating plant-based.

5) What does a Vegan eat for breakfast?

A typical vegan breakfast can be very similar to a traditional carnivore’s breakfast.  Plant-based almond or soy milk can replace dairy for your morning cereal.  Oatmeal can be made with water, adding a touch of cinnamon and fruit for flavor.  There are delicious recipes for vegan potato hash, pancakes, muffins, and even bread pudding.  Plus, today offers such a huge assortment of meat-substitute breakfast sausages and even seitan bacon that switching to a vegan diet is easy…it just takes a mindful change of routine.

6) What does a Vegan eat for Dinner?

A vegan’s dinner plate is often centered around grains, beans, rice, or lentils.  There are many foods that are naturally vegan-friendly, and we often don’t think of them as “vegan” when we cook them.  Pasta with marinara sauce is a quick plant-based dinner that I’m sure you’ve made more than once or twice.  Who knew you were eating vegan?  Other ideas for simple vegan dinners: Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes, Tacos, Minestrone Soup, Stir-Fry, Curry, and Flatbread Pizza.

7) What are some tasty Vegan dessert recipes?

Vegan desserts can sometimes be daunting when most traditional dessert recipes are centered around milk, cream, and eggs.  However, this is where plant-based milks can make easy swap-outs for most recipes.  My chef’s research has found that almond and soy milk tend to work the best for substituting for dairy milk, due to the fact that these two milks have protein and fat contents most similar to regular cow’s milk.  For cream, a simple swap is coconut milk, while flax “eggs” work beautifully as a substitute for chicken eggs when baking or even making granola.

8) What does a vegan eat for Protein?

Plants are actually loaded with protein!  The highest amounts of protein in the plant-based diet can be found in foods like lentils, beans, and legumes.  However, whole grains (like oats, quinoa, and brown rice) are also loaded with protein.  Even strawberries have protein!  Most Americans are over-fed on protein and reducing the amount of protein in one’s diet has often shown to help with weight-loss and prevention of diseases like diabetes and cancer.  As long as a vegan is eating a minimal amount of refined oils, sugars, and flours, he is probably getting plenty of protein.  

9) What are some Beginner Vegan Recipes?

Check out these easy, beginner recipes to help you get started.  These delicious plant-based dishes can easily be adapted to feed a crowd or for a dinner for one, and none of these should take more than 20 minutes:


More Reading and Resources:

Becoming a vegetarian from Harvard Women’s Health Watch:  Avoiding meat is only one part of the picture.A healthy vegetarian diet should be chock-full of foods with known benefits: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

7 Ways Milk and Dairy Products Are Making You Sick by Sofia Pineda Ochoa, MD.  MARCH 19, 2016: http://www.forksoverknives.com/7-ways-milk-and-dairy-products-are-making-you-sick/?mc_cid=fdd5d0e8b3&mc_eid=3d9b4a0251

Wondering About a Vegan Diet (infographic and more) from PETA: www.peta.org/features/vegan-diet-infographic/