There is more and more attention being given to vegan diets, and with good reason. Health benefits of reducing intake of animal products include reduced risk of bowel cancer, heart disease, reduced weight circumference, among others.
What is a vegan diet?
Vegan diets are diets which do not include any foods that come from animals. This means not only no meat, chicken or fish, it also means avoiding milk, yoghurt, eggs, butter and honey, and any other food that is sourced from an animal as well.
There are many healthy benefits to following a vegan diet. As mentioned, reducing intake of animal products can have positive impacts on heart health, gut health and overall well being. More focus on plant foods often means vegetable intake is increased, which means better chance of meeting daily nutrition needs. Not to mention, purchasing foods such as chickpeas and tofu as protein sources is significantly more cost effective than inclusion of most animal products.
But what are the cons?
Vegan diets can seem restrictive, as there is such a significant amount of foods not being included. This can be particularly challenging if eating away from home, so may feel harder socially. Some nutrients are harder to meet daily needs of as well, in particularly B12, iron and calcium. As such, the diet needs to be carefully planned to ensure adequate consumption. Even still, in some cases, supplementation may be required.
Who would a vegan diet suits?
People who, for ethical, health or other reasons do not want to eat animal products are most likely to follow a vegan diet. There are some reports of improvements in rheumatoid arthritis and some gut conditions when a vegan diet is followed as well. If you are considering making the switch, the first port of call should always be your GP, when it comes to health decisions, and they will be able to guide you in the right direction. If this eating plan is for you, here’s a sample of what your 7 days on a plate should look like…
Nut and seed muesli with fruit and coconut yoghurt
Chickpea and lentil salad
Black bean tacos with guacamole
Tofu scramble with roast tomato and sourdough
Roast vegetables with tempeh
Sauteed Brussels with vegan cheese and wholegrain pasta
Wholegrain toast with nut butter and banana
Tofu and sesame eggplant poke bowl
Red bean chilli with barley
Mango and Berry Smoothie
Falafal wrap with tabbouli and hommus
Bean and vegetable soup
Quinoa and oat porridge with pumpkin seeds and pear
Cabbage salad with pumpkin seeds, cashews and almonds
Tofu and vegetable stir-fry with noodles
Sweet potato with sautéed spinach, roasted veggies and cashew cream
Quinoa and brown rice salad
Buckwheat pancakes with berry compote and coconut yoghurt
Grilled tempeh with avocado, garden salad and buckwheat
Lentil burgers with sweet potato and parsnip fries
- Fruit (with or without coconut or almond yoghurt)
- Green smoothie
- Bliss balls
- Date stuffed with nut butter
- Veggie sticks with hummus or guacamole
- Almond milk hot chocolate
- Coconut milk turmeric latte
- Nut and seed slice