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Vegan Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide

24-June-2021 |

A vegan diet is a new trend. Many people have resorted to a vegan diet considering some health benefits. In addition, it is the most preferred option for people who consider the importance of preserving the environment.

However, although a plant-based diet provides varied health benefits, it can increase the risk of certain nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it is important to research and follow a well balanced vegan diet for the overall wellbeing of your body. So, here is a simple yet complete guide for your reference!

What is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is a meal plan that includes plant-based food items and excludes all animal products. There are different types of vegan diets:

  1. Whole food - A diet plan that includes varied whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, etc.,

  2. Raw food - The diet plan includes raw plant food items or those that are cooked below 48 degrees Celsius.

  3. Low fat - The diet plan is also a raw food vegan diet that restricts fat-rich food items such as nuts, avocadoes, etc., and relies completely on fruits and vegetables. It is also called the 80/10/10 vegan diet, which means 80% of the calories should be from carbs, 10% from fats and 10% from proteins.

  4. Starch vegan diet - It is a high carb low-fat vegan diet that predominantly includes cooked starch foods like potato, rice, corn, etc.,

  5. Raw till 4 - A vegan diet wherein people eat raw food items until 4 pm and a plant-based cooked meal for dinner. It can be an effective vegan diet plan for weight loss.

  6. Thrive diet - It is also a raw plant-based diet plan cooked minimally at low temperatures.

  7. Junk-food - A vegan diet plan that relies on fries, mock meats and cheeses, processed vegan foods and vegan desserts.

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

As we have seen the types of vegan diets, it is important to understand the different food items to eat and avoid as a vegan diet beginner. So, here is a detail about it.

List of foods to avoid List of foods to foods to eat
All types of meat Fruits
Fish and seafood Vegetables
Eggs Nuts
Dairy products Seeds
Honey Grains
Whey Protein Vegetable fats and oils

 

 

What are the Benefits of a Vegan Diet?

Going vegan based on the vegan food list has many benefits:

  1. Good for the environment - Meat has the largest carbon footprint of any food source. Therefore, going vegan reduces raising animals for mass human consumption and its impact on the environment.

  2. Improved heart health - Vegan diets are rich in antioxidants, fibre, and other nutrients that lower cholesterol, thereby improving heart health.

  3. Improved gut health - People following the vegan diet will have higher amounts of bacteria that are good for the gut. The gut microbes require fibre for their action, and the vegan diet is rich in essential fibres.

  4. Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes - Whole grains, fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols that control blood glucose levels.

  5. Reduces cancer risk - Animal foods are rich in saturated fat, increasing cancer risk. On the other hand, people going for a vegan diet naturally increase the intake of fibrous food items, which greatly contributes to decreased cancer risk.

Potential Side Effects of a Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is rich in essential nutrients that provide good health benefits, but it lacks a few nutrients. Lack of these nutrients can cause minor and major health issues in the long term. Some nutrients that are hard to find in plant-based food items include:

  1. Vitamin B12 - Essential to provide energy for the body. It is also important for nerve and blood cells.

  2. Iron - Required for oxygen transport throughout the body for increased energy levels.

  3. Zinc - Important for maintaining a good immune system.

  4. Calcium - Required for good bone health, nerve and muscle function.

  5. Omega -3 fatty acids - Important for good brain and heart health.

How to Minimise the Side Effects?

To minimise the effects of these deficiencies, you can limit the consumption of processed vegan food items and prefer nutrient-rich, balanced plant food items. You can also increase iron absorption by fermenting and sprouting food items. There are protein-rich vegan foods that can cater to a better protein intake.

Foods like soybeans, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and soy milk can be a part of your diet. In the event of a deficiency, you can always consult your medical practitioner and start taking supplements for Vitamin B12, Iron, Calcium, etc.

What Can be an Ideal Vegan Diet Plan?

A vegan diet plan can be rich in nutrients, varied and tasty. It can be a balanced diet plan for all your health needs.

For instance,

  • Breakfast can include oatmeal, vegan smoothie, pancakes or fruit salad,

  • Lunch can include quinoa, veggies, spinach, etc.,

  • Snacks can include popcorn, nuts, etc.,

  • Dinner can include a vegetable soup, mixed vegetable wrap etc.

A vegan diet is best recommended for people having a family history of heart diseases, cancer and other related illnesses. It will help you improve your mental, emotional and physical health. People have resorted to a healthy lifestyle, especially after the pandemic. It has also urged them to make better financial decisions to secure their future.

For instance, purchasing a life cover policy is considered important to secure your family's future in your absence.

You can browse through the wide range of Tata AIA Life Insurance policies such as the savings insurance plan, Unit Linked Insurance Plan, etc., with flexible options to modify the plan based on your requirements to ensure maximum protection along with savings and insurance benefits. You can also check out term plans for pure life cover at affordable prices.

In addition, you can research, compare and buy life insurance plans online at your convenience.

Conclusion

A vegan diet is entirely plant-based. There are different types of vegan diets. Going vegan can improve your heart health, decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, and increase your lifespan. However, while vegan foods offer many health benefits, they do not provide the essential nutrients and lead to deficiency.

To avoid such issues, you must include a balanced diet with all the essential nutrients or take the necessary supplements in the long term. So, if you are an environmentally-friendly person wanting to go vegan for improved health benefits, you can always plan to do so by making a proper meal plan after effective research!

L&C/Advt/2022/Mar/0656

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