Today is National Vegan Day so in celebration, I thought I’d write a blog telling you all about this specific lifestyle:
What is a Vegan Diet?
Veganism is a way of life which excludes all products which come from animals. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey. As well as food, vegans will also exclude clothing which comes from animals such as leather and wool.
So What Do Vegans Eat?
Alternatives to animal products include:
- Tofu/soya meat alternatives
- Quorn meat alternatives
- Dairy alternatives (soya, almond, cashew, coconut, rice, hemp)
- Nuts and seeds
Can you Suffer with Nutritional Deficiencies on a Vegan Diet?
The Vegan diet can give you a boost of many nutrients such as Vitamin C and fibre because you are eating a predominantly plant-based diet. However, you could be at risk of being deficient in some nutrients which you would mainly get from animal alternatives such as:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3 fatty Acids
To ensure you are getting all of these vitamins and minerals in your diet, include:
- fortified cereals (fortified means they have added vitamins and minerals)
- fortified milk alternatives
- yeast extracts such as Marmite (which contains B12)
- pulses (which contains iron and calcium)
- leafy green veg (which contains iron)
- nuts (which contains iron)
- flaxseeds (which contain Omega 3s)
- chia seeds (which contains Omega 3s)
You may need to supplement vitamins and minerals if you struggle to get sufficient amounts in your diet but I would always advise visiting a nutritionist or dietician to get advise about this.
As long as you plan it, you can live a healthy life on a vegan diet. It would be difficult to turn vegan overnight so I suggest you look into all the alternatives, try out some meals and seek advise from a practitioner to help you create a balanced plan. If you worry you’re going to miss some of your favourite meaty dinners, don’t be. There are lots of great meat-free alternatives to your favourite dishes. I personally love my lentil cottage pie.