The vegan diet is light, healthy, tasty and remarkable. It attracts more and more people interested in a healthy lifestyle. For some, it is a temporary escape from the monotonous classical cuisine, for others it becomes a permanent style of nutrition. More and more often, the vegan diet is also used as a way to lose weight.
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Vegan diet – the rules
In the vegan diet there are no animal products. It is a 100% plant-based diet, consisting of vegetables, grains and fruits. In this respect, it is stricter than a vegetarian diet, in which only meat is excluded, while eggs, dairy products, and in some cases fish and seafood are allowed.
If you decide to follow a vegan diet, your fridge should be empty:
- meats and cold cuts;
- yogurt, kefir, buttermilk;
What is more, when following a vegan diet, one must give up many other products that seemingly have nothing to do with meat or dairy products, such as most sweets (their ingredients often contain milk, honey, eggs, i.e. ingredients not allowed in a vegan diet), jellies and other products with gelatin; some pasta (containing eggs).
When composing a menu on a vegan diet, we reach for cereal products, vegetables and fruits, trying to create complete meals from them. Legumes and grains play an important role in the daily menu, because they contain large amounts of the key nutrient, protein. In a standard diet, protein is provided with meat, fish and dairy products. The vegan diet lacks these components, so you need to meet the demand for protein in other ways.
Plant products rich in protein include: soy, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, groats.
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The vegan kitchen can certainly not be accused of monotony or lack of taste. Vegetables offer a wealth of culinary possibilities. A simple celery or carrot can be used to make several or more different dishes, from bread spreads to aromatic chops.
If you add a variety of spices and ready-made meat and dairy substitutes to vegetables, fruits, groats, nuts and cereals, you will get a very varied, appetizing cuisine.
Common products used in the vegan diet as substitutes for meat and dairy are:
- tempeh, seitan;
- Soy pellets, chops and cubes;
- Soy meats, pates made from legumes and vegetables;
- Vegetable broths;
- Soy, rice, oat, buckwheat, coconut drinks (milk substitutes);
- coconut cream, rice cream;
- vegan cheeses based on coconut oil;
- yogurts based on coconut and soy milk.
Important components of a vegan diet are whole-grain cereal products – wholemeal bread, groats, rice, flakes, bran and germ; vegetables in various forms – from spinach and salads, through zucchini, peppers and tomatoes, to beets, carrots, cabbage and broccoli; and fruits (apples, pears, citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, etc.).
Grain products should be present in at least 3 out of 5 meals, vegetables should be included in most meals, and it is best to consume fruit about 2-3 times a day.
A sample menu for a vegan diet:
- Breakfast: rice pudding (on almond or rice milk) with berries and nuts
- 2 breakfast: wholemeal bread sandwich with pâté of white vegetables, tomato
- Dinner: tempeh curry with barley pearl barley, green salad
- Tea time: fruit mousse with amaranth
- Dinner: vegetable salad, pumpernickel slice
- Breakfast: graham with avocado paste, parsley and roasted sunflower seeds
- 2nd breakfast: grapefruit
- Dinner: broccoli cream soup, lentil meatballs in tomato sauce served with rice
- Tea time: vegan carrot cake
- Dinner: wholemeal toast, hot soy sausages with horseradish, cucumber, salad
- Breakfast: cottage cheese (made from tofu) with chives, radishes and pumpkin seeds, wholemeal bread
- 2nd breakfast: carrots, cucumber and bell pepper cut into sticks, garlic dip (made with vegan yoghurt)
- Lunch: wholemeal pasta casserole (e.g. penne) with vegetables, Italian herbs and vegan a’la mozzarella cheese
- Afternoon snack: chocolate dessert (made with vegan yogurt and cocoa)
- Dinner: graham cracker with hummus, salad of fresh spinach leaves and tomatoes
Vegan diet and weight loss
The vegan diet is a very strong ally of weight loss. It is less caloric than the standard diet, and most importantly, it is free from all processed foods, which, due to the huge amount of carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, strongly contributes to weight gain.
The menu of a vegan diet is based on vegetables, grains and fruits, i.e. fibre products, which, as we know, are excellent for a slim figure. The dietary fiber stimulates the intestines to work, helps in sweeping out food debris and harmful substances from the digestive tract, supports our battle for weight loss, slim waist and flat stomach. It also increases the feeling of satiety, preventing snacking and counteracting sugar spikes in the blood, which protects us from attacks of ravenous hunger.
A plant-based diet is one of the most effective diets in the fight against excess weight. But remember, that this is a diet, in which you have to “watch” the menu. Meals should provide us with appropriate amounts of all important nutrients. If you stop eating meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, you may suffer from deficiencies of protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. To avoid them, you should bet on a rich, varied, balanced menu.
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