The vegan diet consists solely of plant based foods only. It excludes animal products or byproducts in all forms and fashions. Milk, eggs, and other dairy products are not allowed, and there is some medical evidence to suggest that the vegan diet is healthier than diets that include cheese and meat because it is lower in saturated fats. However, a person who follows the vegan diet does need to pay careful attention to the types of food that they eat, in order to ensure that their diet meets their body’s nutritional requirements.
An Overview of the Vegan Diet
As aforementioned, the vegan diet forbids the consumption of all food items that are derived from animals. This does include animal flesh, because this type of food requires for the animal to be killed. Dairy products, in all forms, are excluded from the vegan diet. Neither can a vegan eat foods that contain eggs in them, including many baked goods. Since honey is derived from bees, this is another food product that vegans do not eat.
Foods Derived From Plants
The vegan diet is by no means restrictive. There are vegan substitutes for ice cream, cheese, milk, and yogurt. These items are soy based in nature. Tofu serves in the stead of meat, and it is an excellent source of protein. Beans, legumes, and lentils also provide great sources of protein. The vegan diet is also going to include grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and plant oils, such as olive and canola oil. Other foods that can be consumed in the vegan diet include refined grains, palm and coconut oils, and some added sugars. However, just because a food is allowed does not necessarily mean it is healthy, so vegans must monitor their diets carefully.
Some individuals who follow the vegan diet are going to need to rely upon fortified foodstuffs and vitamin supplements to ensure that their bodies adequately receive the nutrients that it needs. For example, Vitamin B12 is a protein that is found only in animal meat, so it must be taken in supplement form for vegans. Calcium fortified foods will need to eaten regularly, and The Mayo Clinic recommends that most vegans take an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement to ensure a vegan receives the nutritional heart benefits it has to offer.