is more than a diet. It is a nonviolent life philosophy that opposes the exploitation of animals for food, clothing, cosmetics, and recreational purposes, among other things.
If you're considering switching to a vegan diet
, consider that it's not just about avoiding eating meat or fish. It also includes all animal elements like milk and dairy products, eggs, honey, etc. You should also be aware when purchasing products that have been tested on animals or contain animal substances (lanolin, keratin, carmine, beeswax, propolis, whey, casein, etc.). Remember that animal-derived materials can also be found in apparel (fur, leather, wool, silk, organza, angora, cashmere, among others).
Veganism, as a philosophy of life, also focuses on ethical issues such as the environmental and social consequences of animal exploitation in the food industry:
Livestock production and related activities account for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Fifteen thousand liters of water are consumed to produce one kilo of steak.
Cattle are raised on approximately 70% of the land previously covered by Amazon forest and 91 percent of the land that has been deforested since 1970.
The production of soy implies significant deforestation and the establishment of livestock ranches.
Soybeans are utilized to feed livestock in 79 percent of the world's soybean fields.
Introduction to a vegan diet
There is no right or wrong way to go vegan. Everyone should choose the method that is most comfortable and sustainable for them. However, think about starting by gradually substituting animal-based items with familiar veggie options and slowly adding new elements to your diet.
Seeds and nuts (1-2 servings a day)
Seeds and nuts provide protein, iron, and zinc, which help keep our immune system healthy. The fatty acids (Omega-3) found in walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds help our brain function.
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
- Pumpkin seed
- Chia seeds
- Peanut butter
Vegetables (4-5 servings a day)
Vegetables are high in nutrients, including beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A (essential for vision and the immune system) and vitamin C, needed for collagen production (a protein that strengthens bones, ligaments, and skin). Also, phytochemicals found in vegetables have been shown to help fight cancer.
- Cabbage and kale are two vegetables that go well together.
- Broccoli and cauliflower are two vegetables that go well together.
- Pumpkin, eggplant, and courgette
Fruit (2-3 servings a day)
They are hydrating and high in fiber, which aids in the prevention of heart disease and digestion. Many fruits are high in potassium, which helps our organs perform better, and antioxidants.
- Citrus fruits: orange, lemon, tangerine, etc.
- Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and other red fruits
Grains or tubers (5 servings a day)
Grains are great sources of fiber and protein. They are rich in B vitamins, important for metabolism and nerve function.
- Brown rice
- Sweet potato
- Wholemeal pasta
Pulses (3 servings a day)
- Pulses and soy products are high in protein. Many of these also contain a lot of calcium and iron.
- Nutritional yeast
It may seem not easy at first to substitute some components, but here's a list of easy substitutions you could try. A good place to start is by altering your favorite meals.
Lentils - minced meat
Lentils are a low-cost and easy-to-find high-in protein alternative to mincemeat. You can prepare them in the same way as a meat bolognese with tomato sauce.
Parmesan cheese - Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is available in powdered or flakes form, has a cheese-like flavor, and is high in B12. Salads, pasta meals, and smoothies all benefit from it.
Butter olive oil
Replace butter with olive oil when cooking.
Eggs - mashed bananas
When making cakes, pancakes, and other baked goods, mashed bananas can be substituted for the egg. Vegan egg whites can also be made with aquafaba (chickpea water). Another suggestion is to mix in some hydrated flaxseed or chia seed.
Milk - Vegetable drink
Vegetable rice, hazelnut, or almond drink. Pay close attention to the sugar content while picking which one to buy. Experiment with many alternatives until you find one that you enjoy the most.
Gelatin - Agar-agar
Agar-agar is a seaweed powder that can be used as a gelatin alternative. Herbalists and health food stores sell it readily.
Ice cream – Sorbet
Choose water-based ice cream or ice cream with plant milk.