Veganism is a new age dietary approach that has been very popular with millennials and celebrities (Bill Clinton, Carrie Underwood, Natalie Portman, and Ellen Degeneres to name a few). Vegans often get a bad wrap for their diet because of associations with hyper-political animal rights organizations like PETA and NRDC, but inherently the diet is a sound approach to eating non-processed foods, so put down the Snickers bar and “vegan” twinkies.
What is Veganism?
The vegan diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. People become vegan for various reasons which can include, but are not limited to; environmental implications, animal rights, health issues relating to meat digestion, religious or spiritual beliefs, taste or simple personal preference.
What Veganism Is Not
Veganism is not a diet that lacks flavor and diversity. There are many ways vegans mix and match ingredient pairings with simple cooking methods to keep their food clean and bodies fueled. Veganism also does not automatically equate health. Health requires a holistic approach to food and exercise and simply eliminating some foods doesn’t solve all chronic or acute health issues. However, with a whole food approach to veganism, there is no shortage of vital nutrients, such as protein, calcium, and vitamins to maintain good health.
How We Define Veganism
A Vegan diet contains zero animal flesh or animal bi-products, including eggs, dairy or products like fish sauce (unlike vegetarianism). Tasteful emphasizes quality over anything else, so a great restaurant will serve higher quality (organic, local, seasonal) and minimally processed food.
Do’s and Dont’s of Veganism
Do gradually work your way into veganism. Allow your body to adjust to the dietary changes gradually. Do take a Vitamin B12 supplement as the body gains most B12 from meat. Do hydrate because increased fiber and whole grain intake requires more water to digest these foods. Do source quality, organic, non-gmo ingredients. Do incorporate protein (nuts, soy, peas, etc.) to each meal.
Don’t forget protein all together. Protein is needed to maintain body tissue, muscle, and hormones, while also providing energy. Don’t fill up on vegan junk food. It exists and it is highly processed with added sugar, chemicals and preservatives. Don’t avoid dining out all together. Many restaurants cater specifically to vegan diets or a willing to make vegan substitutions to seemingly otherwise non-vegan options.