If it is something that you’re interested in dipping your foot into, then as with any diet that removes complete food groups, it would be wise to look at the professional research to gain more information on how to follow this diet in a safe and healthy way.
As I’m sure you’re aware, following a vegan dietary style excludes all animal-based products, from meat through to eggs or animal’s milk for example, and focuses on plant-based products such as vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits. Recent research provides us with data which confirms some beneficial effects of this dietary option. It has been shown that following a vegan diet can help to stabilise body weight and aid in the prevention of obesity. Moreover, it can help to reduce cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and can increase your body’s ability to absorb magnesium, potassium and certain antioxidants (Di Daniele et al., 2021).
Furthermore, it was found that this dietary style can have a general positive influence on mental health and reduce anxiety levels (Gutkowska et al., 2021; Huybrechts et al., 2021). Nevertheless, as with any other diet type it is relevant that there are certain rules we should aim to obtain in order to stay healthy and not restrictive.
Firstly, it is crucial to base our meals on carbohydrates such as oats, pasta, rice or potatoes. These whole foods are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet. As well as starch, they contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.
Secondly, be sure to include proteins in your meals such as beans, lentils, nuts or soy.
Thirdly, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, for your fix of vitamins and nutrients. For example, you can find calcium, which is relevant for healthy bones and teeth, in green, leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, cabbage and okra. For your dose of iron, reach for foods such as wholemeal bread and flour, nuts or dried fruits.
With the growth of people looking for plant-based alternatives there is plenty of options to replace your cow’s milk, cheese and even meat!
Example of a vegan day of eating to try out:
Breakfast: Overnight oats made with fruit, fortified plant milk, chia seeds and nuts
Lunch: Zucchini and quinoa salad with peanut dressing
Snack: Banana, Carrot & Chocolate Muffin – https://deliciouslyella.com/recipes/banana-carrot-chocolate-muffins/
Dinner: Sesame & Broccoli Noodle Salad – https://deliciouslyella.com/recipes/sesame-broccoli-noodle-salad/
As well, as the two recipes above, there is a great podcast by Deliciously Ella to listen to if this is a topic you are interested in!