*This resource center is meant to be an overview and is not a comprehensive guide to implementing a Vegan diet. It is not intended for use as medical advice.
What Is It?
A vegan diet is one that places a strong emphasis on the consumption of plant sources and eliminates the consumption of any animal-derived foods including meat, dairy products, honey, and eggs.
How to Implement a Vegan Diet
A common mistake people make when adopting a vegan diet is failing to properly educate themselves. This can lead to a lack of crucial vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, it is important to take the proper preparatory steps before proclaiming yourself a vegan.
- Eat a wide variety. In order to get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, it is important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Typically, at least 5 servings are recommended each day!
Nutrition Note: For examples of foods that contain specific nutrients, keep reading here!
- Consume enough protein. In order to properly fuel your body, it’s important to consume protein-rich plant-based foods such as mushrooms, lentils, beans, tempeh, nuts, and quinoa!
- Consume complementary proteins. Many plant proteins are considered incomplete, meaning that, unlike meat, they do not contain all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. Therefore, it is important to combine protein sources that when paired together provide all essential amino acids.
- Consume whole foods. Just because something is labeled as being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nutritious. In fact, there are many processed items that are made with plant-based ingredients! As a result, as with any diet, it is important to consume real, whole food ingredients in order to fuel your body with high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Who Can Benefit from a Vegan Diet?
Although research is still being conducted, there has been evidence showing that a vegan diet can prove beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight as well as those who are at risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Foods to Avoid
Simply put, a vegan diet excludes any and all foods that are derived either directly or indirectly from animals. This includes:
- Meat: beef, lamb, pork, veal, organ meat, wild meat
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail
- Fish and Seafood: all fish, shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels, crab, lobster, fish sauce
- Dairy: milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, ice cream, etc.
- Eggs: eggs and egg whites from chicken, duck, ostrich, etc.
- Bee Products: honey, bee pollen
- Additives Derived from Animals: gelatin, omega-3 fatty acids, whey, lactose, casein
- Other Foods that Contain Animal Derived Ingredients: bread, beer and wine, deep-fried foods, pasta, roasted peanuts, etc.
Foods to Consume
- Fruit: a wide variety of all fruits
- Vegetables: a wide variety of vegetables with an emphasis on dark, leafy greens
- Beans & Lentils: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
- Whole Grains: oatmeal, rice, buckwheat, etc.
- Nuts & Seeds: cashews, almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Oils: avocado oil, coconut oil
- Vegan Alternatives: meat, dairy products, etc.
What to Eat
Find a full meal plan here!
- Mostly Vegan: The Science Behind Why You Should Eat More Veggies
- The Future of Nutrition
- Optimum Nutrition for Vegans
- Vegan Savvy