It is said that “You are What You Eat” which fits very well in today’s society. This quote also defines the way each person is categorized by his/her eating habits or choices. That’s why we all have been categorized as vegetarians, non-vegetarians, and vegans. We are familiar with the terms vegetarians and non-vegetarians. In fact, many of our friends belong to these two categories. But are you aware of the ‘Vegans’ category?
Vegan – Its Meaning and Brief History
Vegans are those people who do not eat eggs, meat, honey, dairy products, and all other animal-derived ingredients. They also abstain from using any type of product which is an animal extract including wool, leather or those processed using animal products such as some wines and refined white sugar. The vegan diet holds an ancient history since the year 973 but the term ‘vegan’ came into existence in 1944 when Donald Watson, an English Animal Rights advocate founded the Vegan Society.
However, the term vegan gained popularity in 2010 when the European Parliament specified the meaning of vegan for food labels. After 2012, many vegan diet options rolled out in the supermarkets and many restaurants started offering vegan cuisines. Many prominent figures such as Ellen Page, Jessica Chastain, Peter Dinklage, Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut are vegans and inspiring others to join vegan diet. According to a 2005-06 National Health Survey, 1.6% of the total population never consumed animal products. Veganism is in practice mainly in Gujarat (4.9%) and Maharashtra (4.0%). The Vegan diet is gradually spreading its roots in the whole country.
What does a Vegan Diet include?
The vegan diet is still a topic of debate as there is always a confusion about what to include or what to not. So, let’s make it easy by discussing some food items which fall into the vegan category. The simple way to understand a vegan diet is to start from the vegetarian diet. All vegetarian food items are vegan products except dairy products, animal products such as honey, animal fats, and items processed using animal products such as refined white sugar. So, a vegan diet includes all types of grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, etc.
There are a lot of vegan fancy food items in trend such as vegan ice cream, vegan hot dog, non-dairy yogurt, tofu instead of cheese, veggie burgers, etc. There are many vegan alternatives to milk, curd, cheese in the market. You can buy non-dairy milk or soy milk instead of milk, vegan cheese or tofu, vegan butter, yogurt, veggie nuggets, cookies, chocolates, etc. Even your favorite Oreo is also a vegan product. Cheers!
So, here is a list of groceries that makes a place in the vegan shopping:
- Fruits (All – fresh, frozen and dried)
- Vegetables (All – fresh, raw, cooking, leafy, and frozen)
- Grains, legumes, and beans
- 100% whole wheat bread, muffins, buns, pasta, bagels, and pitas.
- Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and russet potatoes.
- Soy products (tofu, soy milk, and tempeh)
- Fats (avocado, coconut milk, olives, and dark chocolates)
- Oils (coconut oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, canola oil, olive oil, vegan butter)
- All nuts, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, sesame butter, chia seeds.
- Milk ( soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, coconut milk, rice milk).
- Soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, tofu desserts, vegan butter, vegan cheese.
- Sweeteners (Organic cane sugar, agave syrup, molasses, coconut sugar, dates, dark chocolate chips, dried fruits, etc)
- All spices
- Whole grain flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and yeast.
How to be a Vegan?
If you are planning to switch to a Vegan Diet, you must first ask yourself whether you are actually ready for it or not? And if you are fully determined to lead a Vegan lifestyle, then these steps can help you a lot:
- When you are about to start a Vegan diet, do not tell everyone around you. In short, the audience around you may not understand your point of view and sometimes their questions can affect your focus and determination. So, the first step is to only focus on the change you are about to adopt.
- When you have started a Vegan diet, it might be difficult for you to understand all the dos and don’ts of your new diet. It is better to get in touch with other Vegans through social media platforms and expand your knowledge so as to be perfect in what you are doing.
- Do not worry about your body protein levels and minimum protein requirements. You can opt for protein powders available for Vegans. Also, beans and other protein-rich vegetables can easily help you maintain your protein levels.
- Opt for more healthy food in order to provide your body with all the important nutrients. It is a simple fact that a healthy body can withstand more changes as compared to an unhealthy body.
So, if you are fully determined towards being a hardcore vegan, then do your own research, prepare yourself for the change, and Get Set Go!!! Happy Veganism!
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