An Introduction to Vegan Diets
Veganism is an enormous topic encompassing nutrition, animal protection, food politics, and more. In this short piece I’ll introduce the concept and explain why it’s easy and sensible to embrace.
The word vegan was originally defined as a diet free of meat, dairy products, and eggs. The term now also refers to any item, from shoes to shampoo, made without animal products.
Vegan diets offer compelling advantages on several fronts. They keep farm animals out of slaughterhouses and factory farms. Choosing vegan foods can also benefit your health and protect the environment.
A careful examination of the reasons to go vegan is well worth your time. But our objective right now is to quickly cover the basics. So let’s keep moving.
Are Vegan Diets Healthy?
People of every age thrive on vegan food. The most rigorous assessment of the healthfulness of vegan diets is documented by a position paper published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The authors determined that, “Vegan and vegetarian diets can provide significant health benefits compared with non-vegetarian diets.”
Vegan diets can even support elite levels of physical fitness. In fact, some of the world’s top athletes eat vegan. If a primarily vegan diet works for Tom Brady and Serena Williams, it can work for you. Going vegan offers a marvelous opportunity to upgrade your eating habits. For expert guidance on proper diet planning see our vegan nutrition primer.
You need never fall short on any particular nutrient. If required, a few supplements can cheaply and reliably close any gaps. Our vegan vitamins guide will help you make informed purchases.
In addition to proper nutrition, good health requires sufficient physical activity. Our lazy person’s fitness guide will get you off the sofa.
How Do You Go Vegan?
Switching to a vegan diet takes remarkably little effort. Our guide to going vegan lays out how to make the transition.
Here’s its most important lesson: Don’t emphasize cutting animal-based foods out of your diet. Instead, crowd them out by constantly discovering vegan foods you prefer.
To rid your diet of animal products, focus on trying several new vegan foods each week. The more foods you try, the faster you’ll progress. So, ideally, try at least one new vegan item every day. That can be a restaurant meal, a grocery item, or a new dish you cook at home.
Vegan Foods are Everywhere
Vegans enjoy an abundance of flavorful food choices. Everywhere you look, you’ll find more vegan foods to try.
The easiest option is, of course, ready-to-eat foods. Sure, some of these foods are unhealthy indulgences. But you’ve got plenty of wonderfully healthy choices too. Please check out our long list of the world’s easiest vegan foods.
Sandwiches occupy a mid-point between convenience foods and actual cooking. You can make vegan sandwiches in thousands of healthy varieties. Buy large whole-grain tortillas and you can also turn any sandwich idea into a wrap.
Going vegan doesn’t mean giving up favorites like burgers, cream cheese, or yogurt. Dozens of companies make delicious vegan versions of these foods. The same goes for desserts. Vegan ice creams are marvelous and sold everywhere. And the best brownie and the best cookie I’ve ever eaten were both vegan.
If you enjoy alcohol, many of the world’s best wines and beers are vegan. And the vast majority of distilled spirits are vegan too.
You can master the basics of vegan cooking in no time. Just read our vegan cooking guide.
Many vegan meals take just minutes to prepare. Your first vegan cookbook should specialize in quick and easy recipes. You can later move on to more sophisticated meals.
As your cooking skills develop, your options increase. You can choose from hundreds of vegan cookbooks that collectively cover every conceivable cooking niche. Consider buying one specifically devoted to your favorite cuisine.
You can also go deep into any branch of vegan cooking that interests you. Maybe it’s desserts or Instant Pot recipes. There are even cookbooks focused entirely on vegan meats and cheeses.
Once vegan cooking becomes second nature, why not commit to going vegan at home? This move requires practically no effort, since you have total control over which foods you bring into your kitchen. Yet this simple commitment puts you a giant step closer to going entirely vegan.
Vegan Restaurant Meals
Eating out lets you discover all sorts of exciting new dishes. Vegans have countless excellent restaurant choices. No matter where you live or visit, chances are there’s impressive vegan food near you. Thousands of vegan and vegetarian restaurants exist worldwide. Dining out is a joy when the entire menu is vegan.
Many non-vegetarian restaurants work hard to please vegans, and offer superb vegan dishes. These places often label their vegan menu items, which makes ordering easy.
Lebanese and Israeli cooking is especially vegan-friendly. These restaurants serve outrageously good falafel, hummus, and salads. Italian and Ethiopian restaurants also offer a variety of enticing vegan meals. We offer helpful guides to the world’s most vegan-friendly cuisines.
If you travel abroad, you can get sensational vegan restaurant food unlike anything available at home. That’s doubly true if you seek out the country’s favorite vegan dishes.
On top of all this, vegan fast food is everywhere. That’s a big change from just a few years ago. Most of the top chains now feature delicious vegan items.
Vegan Apparel & Beauty
As you transition your diet, you may also decide to shift other lifestyle choices. Avoiding leather and wool makes great sense. Vegan clothing and apparel is easy to find. You can likewise switch to cruelty-free beauty products.
Just start with the easy stuff, and work your way forward.
Grow Your Vegan Know
That finishes this vegan introduction. You can make use of the vegan concept to eat and live more healthfully, in a way that reflects your values.
For further reading, start with our Why Go Vegan essay or our Vegan Eating Guide. After that, you can dig deeper into a vegan lifestyle by reading our FAQ and our What is a Vegan essay. Next, you may want to explore our extensive food and health coverage.
Want to go deeper still? Visit our books page for solid recommendations.
Vegan.com offers more than a hundred articles covering every vegan-related topic. Access them all through our vegan links page. And remember: every step toward a vegan diet is a good one.
Why Go Vegan?
A vegan lifestyle can support incredible health and protect huge numbers of animals, while simultaneously combating climate change. Plus, the food is insanely delicious and becomes more widely available every year.
How to Go Vegan
If you want to go vegan, you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. This guide covers every facet of what it takes to enjoyably transition to a vegan diet. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know exactly how to move forward.
What Foods are Vegan?
Read our introduction to vegan food and you’ll never again struggle to come up with something delicious to eat. Our guide covers it all: grocery shopping, convenience foods, eating out, and even travel advice.
Vegan Restaurant Guide: Find the Best Plant-Based Meals
Discover all your very best vegan dining options. Our vegan restaurant guide expertly covers everything from fine dining to fast food, while offering helpful details on a number of vegan-friendly cuisines.
Introduction to Vegan Cooking: Learn the Basics in Under an Hour
Becoming a fantastic vegan cook takes shockingly little effort, especially with the help of our vegan cooking guide. You’ll discover a half-dozen easy vegan meals that can each be prepared in hundreds of delicious ways.
Try Out a Vegan Diet
Trying out a vegan diet couldn’t be easier. Here’s all the information you need to get going. Whether you do it for a day, a week, or a month, you’ll enjoy the experience and learn a ton.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve got a burning question pertaining to veganism, you’ll find clear and accurate answers in our FAQ. Features definitive answers to 24 of the most common vegan-oriented questions.
What Does Vegan Mean?
People define the word vegan in all sorts of reasonable and unreasonable ways. Here’s our pragmatic take on how to most effectively define and use this term.
The Ultimate Vegan Guide : Compassionate Living Without Sacrifice
If you’re looking for a breezy yet authoritative introductory book on the topic, we’ve made Erik Marcus’ popular guide available here for free online reading.
The Vegan.com Store
All of the finest vegan products sold by Amazon.com gathered in one place. Whether you’re seeking a fantastic vegan cookbook, delicious vegan snack foods, or a great deal on vitamins, you’ll find the best stuff right here. We’ve selected our favorite vegan products and organized them by category.
Best-Selling Vegan Products:
Vitamin B-12 Supplement 1,000 mcg
But I Could Never Go Vegan! by Kristy Turner
Vegan Vitamin D3 Supplement 2500 IU
Vegan Comfort Cooking by Melanie
Easy Vegan Foods: The Definitive Gigantic List
Some of the healthiest and most delicious vegan foods are ready-to-eat. And many others take only a few minutes to prepare. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with these fantastic choices.
Fun & Easy Ways to Get in Shape
Don’t be a vegan couch potato! Even a little physical activity offers big payoffs. Our fitness guide will acquaint you with all sorts of fun and easy ways to get the exercise your body needs.
Vegan Vitamin Buying Guide
We have taken all the hassle and uncertainty out of shopping for vitamins. Here are great deals from Amazon.com on high-quality supplements of special interest to vegans.
Best Selling Vegan Supplements:
Vegan B-12 (2,000 mcg)
Vegan D3 (2500 IU)
Vegan Omega 3 w/DHA
Vegan Nutrition: A Comprehensive Guide
An authoritative introduction to vegan nutrition, written by top expert Virginia Messina, MPH, RD. This is a must-read article for anyone contemplating a vegan or primarily plant-based diet.
Vegan Travel Tips and Information
Travel offers unrivaled opportunities to discover new vegan foods. No matter where you’re headed, we’ve got useful advice on how to eat well and find delicious meals.
Best Selling Vegan Cookbooks:
Vegan for Everybody
The Vegan 8: 100 Simple, Delicious
The Vegan Instant Pot
Vegan.com Reference Index:
The Ultimate Vegan Directory
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Our site index is the mother lode of vegan information, featuring links to more than a hundred pages. Here you’ll find detailed information covering every imaginable vegan topic.
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