What is the difference between vegetarian and vegan?
A vegetarian diet omits meat, but includes animal products like dairy and eggs, while a vegan diet includes only plant based foods.
Initially, it may seem difficult to imagine life without animal products, but with an array of widely available vegan counterparts to common dairy staples the transition to a vegan diet is seamless. Instead of cow’s milk, a vegan may choose soy, rice or nut milk for their morning cereal, and heart healthy vegan buttery spread on their toast. When baking, eggs are easily replaced without notice, and there exists a world of vegan cheese at supermarkets.
What does a typical vegan diet look like?
Just as every snowflake is unique, there are as many vegan diets as there are vegans.
Every individual literally comes to the table with unique preferences, dietary needs, and lifestyle choices, therefore no two vegan diets will look the same.
The following menus are a glimpse into a day in the life of a vegan:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with soy milk, topped with toasted sunflower seeds, and caramelized bananas. Coffee with coconut milk creamer
Snack: An orange
Lunch: Mixed green salad, vegetarian chili ,and crusty french bread. Herbal tea
Dinner: Asian style tofu & mixed veggie stir fry over brown rice
Dessert: chocolate mousse (Yes, vegan’s enjoy dessert too!)
Breakfast: Super smoothie made with frozen berries, frozen banana, rice milk & almond butter
Snack: Dates stuffed with vegan cream cheese
Lunch: Roasted vegetables over quinoa pilaf with balsamic vinaigrette. Sparkling water
Snack: Red pepper strips dipped in hummus
Dinner: Whole wheat fettuccine with marinara with a side of steamed spinach. a glass of red wine
Can a vegan diet be followed throughout life?
Yes, a vegan diet is appropriate and beneficial for all ages and stages of life including childhood, adolescence, and elder years. For pregnant women, a vegan diet is both nourishing for mother and growing baby. In addition to providing all essential nutrients, a well balanced vegan diet includes more antioxidant rich foods and eliminates those foods that compromise the body’s natural ability to feel vibrant, light and youthful. In short, a vegan diet will keep you looking and feeling your absolute best irrespective of age, gender, or circumstance.
Where do vegans get their protein?
Everywhere! In fact all foods contains some protein. It is easy to get more than enough protein from everyday foods such as as peanut butter, kale, black beans, and a variety of whole grains, notably quinoa. No need to be concerned that that a vegan diet does not offer “complete protein”, or that you’ll have to combine certain foods to get what you need. Rest assured, that combing business is outdated science; your body is intelligent and it will utilize what you need when you need it.
What about calcium?
Vegans get calcium the same place the cows get theirs...greens. Cut out the middle man, or in this case cow, and go strait to the source for your calcium needs, to green leafy vegetables. Other concentrated protein sources include broccoli, tofu, commercially prepared non-dairy milk, tahini (sesame seed) butter and almonds. Additionally, 8 oz. of fortified orange juice has the same amount of calcium as 8 oz. cows milk.
I’m an athlete, can I build muscle on a vegan diet?
Unequivocally, yes. A vegan diet provides abundant protein,complex carbohydrates and good fats without the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fats found in meat, eggs, and dairy products. Take inspiration from elite vegan athletes, Sports Illustrated "Olympian of the Century" Carl Lewis, top ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, tennis legend Chris Evert, football star Ricky Williams, Ultimate Fighting champ Mac Danzig, NBA stars Raja Bell and Salim Stoudamire, and boxing champ Keith Holmes.
Still need convincing? Imagine the strongest animal, the gorilla, with an upper body strength about 4-6 times more powerful than that of an adult human giving them enough power to bench press a couple of cars. You guessed it, she’s our vegan cousin.
Will I loose weight on a vegan diet?
If you need to lose weight, then a vegan diet will allow you to do so without deprivation. Unlike fad diets, a vegan diet is nutrient dense while low in calories, offering more nutritional bang for your buck and allowing you to maintain long-term weight loss with ease.
According to Journal of the American Dietetics Association, a comprehensive study on vegans compared over a thousand vegans in Europe to tens of thousands of meat eaters and vegetarians. The meat eaters, on average, were significantly heavier than the vegetarians, who were significantly heavier than the vegans. Even after controlling for exercise and smoking and other non dietary factors, vegans came out slimmest in every age group. Less than 2% of vegans were obese.
Do I have to be 100% vegan to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
No. There is a place for everyone on the vegan continuum; Meat eaters looking to adopt “meatless Mondays”, those excited about become as vegan as they can be, and everyone in between. Our bodies will reward us with health, vitality and youth for every effort made. Even seemingly small changes, sustained over time will inevitable lead to the results we desire.