Vegan Diet For Beginners
Being a vegan is a conscious, ethical choice that encompasses animals, plants, the planet and us non-human animals as well. A decision to go vegan can stem from being exposed to the glaring ill-treatment of animals in slaughterhouses, the treatment of the planet for the continuity of animal agriculture, or the treatments meted out to humans working in these industries. That decision can also be taken due to one's own deterioration in health, that arises out of unhealthy food and lifestyle habits, along with being completely out of touch with the planet.
If you're looking for reasons to go vegan, check out our blog - Why Go Vegan? – Vegan Dukan.
If you’d like to give veganism a go, please consider the following steps:
Taking that first thought-out step
Veganism has to be a well-thought, carefully planned, decision. In general parlance, a plant-based diet is referred to as the “vegan diet” and henceforth, we shall be referring to it using the same term. However, being vegan means not using animals in any way whatsoever.
In this blog, we will be talking only about the diet aspect of veganism:
Take it step by step
In this blog, we have listed out a couple of ways of how one can transition to a vegan lifestyle. Whether it is finding out your new source of protein, or new probiotics, we will talk about these sources and how you can obtain them. The best way to transition to a vegan diet is slowly, day by day, week after week or month after month. You must allow yourself indulgences during this period while trying out vegan versions too.
Figure out your replacements
If you are someone who is a heavy meat eater, that is, someone who used to eat meat(or an animal product for that matter) most days of the week, becoming vegan is going to be a bit challenging at first. Talking about replacements, you may be looking to figure out what vegan replacements for dairy and meat products actually are. You can do so in the following blogs -
Vegan Meat: Types, Benefits, and Brands – Vegan Dukan
Vegan Milk: Types, Benefits, and Brands – Vegan Dukan
Vegan Cheese: Ingredients, Types, Recipe, and Brands – Vegan Dukan
Vegan Egg: Benefits, Drawbacks & Brands – Vegan Dukan
Vegan Curd: Benefits, Types & How to make at Home – Vegan Dukan
You’re going to be craving calorie-dense, high carb food, which is essentially what meat is composed of. If you are not a meat eater, then going vegan shouldn’t be that difficult considering that all you’d have to change out are the dairy, egg, or seafood products. So with that being said, find out all your meat replacements, whether it is mock meat, seitan, tofu, jackfruit, or anything that will give you that same mouthfeel of meat. Incorporate it into your diet the same way you did for meat products. Vezlay and Gooddot, both, have a wide range of mock meat products that you can take advantage of. Each of them has been tuned specifically to cater to its usage in some particular dish. These are not just satiating in terms of texture and taste, but will fulfill the need for protein as well.
Cheese, butter, milk, curd ,eggs and chicken:
Do you consume dairy products a lot, in the form of milk, cheese, curds, yoghurt, and/ or butter? If you are someone who is habituated to consuming any of these, then it would be wise to replace them on a plant-based diet as well.
Cheese: Vegan cheese can be made out of a variety of plants such as nutritional yeast, nuts like cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, and Almonds, and seeds like Sunflower and Sesame. Vegan cheese is also a great source of probiotics since it is fermented. Our Live Yum Cheddar Cheese Shreds are bound to tickle your taste buds, while satisfying your cheese cravings at the same time. It even contains Folic Acid, which is a crucial nutrient that must be replaced on a vegan diet.
Butter: Butter is generally used to add smoothness, and to also balance out any pungent flavours in certain dishes. It is used in different cuisines in different ways. There is absolutely no dearth of plant-based butter on a vegan diet. Vegan butter is generally made out of a combination or either of the following ingredients: nutritional yeast, nut milks, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, lemon juice and a few other ingredients depending on the type of use. Goodmylk vegan butter is versatile, healthy, nutritious, and can be used in almost all the traditional uses of butter whether it is in your sandwiches, salads, pastas, veggies or even as a garnishing for your favourite dishes.
Milk: Milk is one of the most ubiquitous items consumed on a non-vegan diet. The consumption pattern may vary but a majority of people on a non-vegan diet have an affinity for milk and milk products. Do check out our blog on plant milks, where we talk about various aspects like taste, nutrition and usability.
Curd: Curd is predominantly consumed as a body coolant in hot places, and generally as a probiotic. Plant based curd offers you not only body cooling effects and probiotics, but also the Phytonutrient and antioxidant benefits of plants.
Eggs: Ground up Flax or Chia seeds are great replacements for eggs in baking. For cooking there are a couple of combinations of ingredients that you can use to replace eggs. However, we will be talking mainly about replacing nutrition here. Eggs are primarily consumed for their protein content, so you will need to replace eggs with a credible source of protein on the vegan diet. We have listed them out categorically in the “Figure out your protein” section below.
Chicken: Chicken is again, mainly consumed for its protein along with a few other nutrients. We have listed out vegan sources of protein in the “figure out your protein section” below. Along with protein chicken also has small amounts of Vitamin B6 and Iron. These can be obtained from Sunflower seeds, oranges, sesame seeds, and a wide variety of other nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Some good sources of Iron include certain pulses, nuts, seeds, dry fruits and nuts.
Figure out your micronutrients
Micronutrients comprise the entire range of B vitamins, Vitamins A, D, E, K, C, and Calcium potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, and folic acid.
Micronutrients can be obtained from a wide range of sources in a vegan diet, and they are available in plenty. Fruits, vegetables, vegan milk, vegan replacements, vegan chocolate, superfoods, dry fruits, soybeans, tofu, mock meats, grains, millets, nuts and seeds, all contain good amounts of micronutrients.
Also, do not forget that a healthy and fit lifestyle is needed to complement the absorption of micronutrients by your body.
Figure out your macronutrients
Figure out your Fats:
A well-balanced vegan diet, must contain a healthy amount of good fats, and a minimal amount of trans fats. There are a plethora of good fats on the vegan diet. They are called Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats. Avocados, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed organic oils, coconuts, certain vegan milk like rice, and oat milk are sources of good fats on the vegan diet.
Figure out your Protein:
Vegetables: Peas, Sweet corn, Broccoli, Lentils, Beans, Cabbage, Beetroot, and Spinach are vegetables that contain decent levels of protein.
Fruits: Some fruits high in protein are Avocados, Guavas, Apricots, Bananas, Oranges, Melons, etc.
Nuts: Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, and Pine Nuts contain lots of protein.
Seeds: Chia seeds, Sesame seeds, Flax and Sunflower seeds contain good amounts of protein and these can be incorporated into almost any diet quite effortlessly.
For those who are into fitness and healthy living, a great many options are available in vegan protein powders, vegan protein shakes, vegan protein bars, etc. For more information on Vegan protein sources, please go through our blog on the same where we list out 21 sources of vegan protein.
Figure out your carbs:
Carbohydrates are a critical component of health, and all plant food on the planet contains carbs. They help in breaking down food into glucose where it is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver, ready for use whenever required. They provide the body with energy. Plant-based carbs consist of some of the following:
Fruits: Bananas, apples, mangoes, dates, and raisins are good sources of carbs.
Vegetables: Corn, Sweet potatoes, green peas, potatoes, squash, soybeans, and carrots.
Grains: Grains like Oats, brown rice, white rice, Amaranth and Quinoa have a good amount of carbs.
Millets: Foxtail millet, finger millet, pearl millet, Kodo millet, and Barnyard millet.
Figure out your sugar
Sugar, or glucose to be exact, is a crucial and essential nutrient to the functioning of a human body. Humans need a certain amount of sugar to be able to move about and to facilitate proper bodily functions. Generally, or historically speaking, we have always been able to obtain these directly from nature. However, after years and years of evolution, we have lost touch with nature, which is the original source of natural plant sugars, and have started depending on processed glucose like refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and such.
Here we speak about where to obtain your daily dose of sweet because whether you have a sweet tooth or not, you need it. Our brains run exclusively on the sugar made by our bodies. The best source of dense and readily available glucose in nature is of course, from natural fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. There are quick release and slow-release sugars. And there are fruits that are high and low in fiber.
You must make the decision on what to consume based on your lifestyle, eating and sleeping habits, workout regime, work schedule, and daily energy requirements.
We shall list out the natural sugars available in nature in terms of where they stand of the Glycemic Index. The glycemic index helps measure how carbohydrates in food impact blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are a good indicator of your fitness level.
1. Fruits: A few examples of high-glycemic fruits are Pineapple and Watermelon.
Some examples of medium-glycemic fruits are Grapes, raisins and bananas.
Some low glycemic fruits are dates, Grapefruit, Apples, Oranges, and plums.
2. Vegetables: Vegetables are an excellent source of sugar, along with being a source of dietary fiber and nutrients as well. Some vegetables high in sugar are Peas, Sweet Corn, Beetroot, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Capsicums, and tomatoes.
3. Dried fruit: Dried fruit is another great sugar source, one that will give you instant energy when you need it on-the-go. Some examples are Raisins, Apricots, Dates, Prunes, Berries, and Figs.
4. Nuts and seeds: Some nuts containing a good amount of fruit sugar are Pistachios, Almonds, and Brazil Nuts. Seeds would include Pumpkin seeds, Flax, and Chia seeds.
- Figure out your fibre
Fibre is one of the least important aspects of veganism, as it is abundantly available in each and every single fruit, vegetable, or plant. Some of them might have low amounts, and others may have higher amounts, but basically fibre is the one aspect you will never need to worry about on a plant-based diet. Fibre is very important for gut and intestinal health but more so for the health of the colon and excretory system.
Plant food is fibrous by nature. Nature has perfectly balanced the nutrients of each and every single plant.
Some of the most fibrous foods found in nature are:
Fruits: Guavas, bananas, Pomegranates, Oranges, Strawberries, and Apples.
Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Flax seeds, Chia seeds, and Sunflower seeds.
Vegetables: Pears, Carrots, Spinach, Ladies finger, Sweet corn, and Mushrooms.
Nuts are a powerhouse of nutrition that form a staple part of a healthy well-balanced diet.
Some nuts high in fiber are: Pine nuts, Almonds, Hazelnut, Pistachios, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts.
Figure out your probiotics
Probiotics are very essential for gut and intestinal health in a long term perspective. It is very important to consume probiotics every now and then, even if it isn’t habitual. The gut flora in our stomachs thrive on these microbiota, helping relieve the stomach of excess of either acidic or fibrous food. It helps in regulating the alkalinity of the body, thereby saving the body from being overloaded by excess acid inducing foods.
Probiotics on a vegan diet could include any fermented food such as vegan curds, vegan buttermilk, Kombucha, Water kefir, etc. You can even ferment and pickle your own vegetables and consume them as probiotics.
You will find a wide range of vegan probiotics on our platform.
While this blog kept a greater focus on the nutrition side of making the switch to veganism, we've also covered some of the other aspects and things that you should keep in mind before you make the switch. You could check those out in this blog - Things you should know before turning Vegan – Vegan Dukan.
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