Veganism – When food trends meet healthy lifestyle!!

What is a Veganism or Vegan?

Many of us do not eat fish, meat or poultry and are termed as vegetarians. Vegans are a set of people who have taken this practice a step further and do not use any animal products or its by-products such as dairy products, eggs, honey, silk, wool, leather, fur, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.

Veganism is a way of living that seeks to eliminate all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

Many people who follow veganism came together and formed a registered charity – The Vegan Society – in 1979 and coined the term ‘Veganism’ as:

“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Then What Do Vegans Eat?

Don’t be under the wrong impression that vegans who follow a strictly plant-based diet don’t have much to eat. You’ll soon see below there is a whole world of exciting flavors and foods that you can munch on. Open up to variety and start combining diverse veggies, we bet you won’t get bored! From curries to pizzas and cakes to halwa’s (puddings) every cuisine can be swapped to a bespoke vegan dish!

Various Aspects Of Vegan Living

Vegan living is not just limited to diet. Vegans avoid the use of animals or its products for any purpose. From food products to cosmetics to accessories and clothing you might find animal products in more places than you have ever dreamt of. There are many medicines being tested on animals – that doesn’t mean you stop taking them when ill. A dead vegan is no good to anyone! What you may do is trying as far as possible to take alternatives devoid of gelatin and lactose. To further support non-exploitation of animals, avoid visiting the zoos, aquariums and don’t take part in animal races too. Adopt animals and provide secured homes to the rescued animals.

Vegetarians vs Vegans

Why Go Vegan?

Did you know?

A vegan saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life daily!!

You might have probably heard of many arguments and debates over the benefits of veganism or plant-based diet. While the researches show many positive health benefits for the followers of veganism, it takes many different reasons for people to get inspired and transform to a vegan. A vegan diet provides key nutrients for better health and eliminates the risk of various diseases caused by potentially harmful animal fats.

Here are 18 reasons to think about going vegan:

1. Controls Obesity

Researchers have proven that vegans have the lowest body mass index (BMI) and are less prone to obesity as compared to the non-vegan counterparts. The reason behind this is the high fiber content and no animal protein and fat intake in the diet. A vegan diet includes consuming wholesome foods like grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and other plant-based products.

2. Lose Weight And Stay Slim

Staying focused on a plant-based diet helps you in many ways. They are high in fiber and carbs which help weight loss unlike the animal products which are abundant in saturated (bad) fats that convert easily into body fat. Load your plates with veggies if you want to skip starvation and counting calories every time you eat.

3. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Vegan diet helps reducing fats levels in the body, thereby regulating blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. All these factors lead to a healthy cardiac system. The goodness of antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber present in the plant diet aids in maintaining a healthy heart.

4. Lowers Hypertension

Adopting veganism helps you lower your blood pressure to a great extent. Many people on vegan food have observed changes in their BP and cholesterol levels and are able to eliminate the requirement of medicines for such ailments.

5. Better Skin And Digestion

Believe it or not, as your digestion improves it gives you clear glowing skin. For those acne-prone skins doctors might provide many ineffective medicines and harsh chemical-based beauty products. In fact, the secret lies in what we eat! Get rid of fatty animal food and start munching on water-rich fruits and veggies. They will boost your metabolism and give you radiant looking skin.

6. Anti-Aging Properties

The activity of Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) plays an important role in human aging process. A healthy vegan diet along with exercise, low fat intake and high fiber intake may help deregulate IGF-1 and thereby reduce the risk of age-related disorders.

7. Fewer Migraines

The vegan diet also helps reducing the frequency of migraine attacks. Foods like cheese and chocolates are common triggers of migraines. Pure vegan diet is dairy-free (mainly organic products), thus much less likely to trigger an attack.

8. Controls Diabetes

Plant-derived foods are mostly high in complex carbs, fiber and low in saturated fats. These two factors considerably help control diabetes. The vegan diet also aids in minimizing the need of insulin for the insulin-dependent patients. In addition, vegans have showed increased hemoglobin levels and weight loss as a bonus!

9. Treats Bronchial Asthma

Studies have shown promising results in treating bronchial asthma through a strict vegan diet. There is reduction in asthma symptoms to a considerable extent.

10. Prevents Cancer

The vegan proteins contains high amounts of non-essential amino acids and phytochemicals that help preventing a number of cancers like lung, colon, esophagus, breast, prostate colorectal cancer. Inclusion of soy products in your diet since childhood also prevents development of breast cancer at later stages.

11. Improves Your Fitness

Most people have misconceptions about a plant-based diet. Abstaining from animal products do not hinder your fitness goals but instead will give you boost of strength and energy. You can definitely build muscles on a vegan diet. If you are having a diverse plant-based diet each day along with proper supplements you don’t need to watch your protein intake. It’s the best course of diet to build up lean muscles.

12. Rheumatoid Arthritis

The goodness of fiber, vitamin C and E, and carotenoids in the vegan foods can effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis. The natural antibodies induced in the body have super anti-inflammatory and athero-protective powers.

13. Treats Parkinson’s Disease

Studies suggest that high fat and cholesterol-packed meat diet increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Thus, one must consider switching to veganism (healthy fat-free plant-based meals) which does not pose such threats.

14. Boost Your Mood

While you slaughter animals many stress hormones are released in their body which goes intact in ours through diet. Eliminating animal meat from your diet will cut of these hormones from your body. This in turn improves your mood status. The high levels of antioxidants present in plant diet have beneficial effects on psychological wellbeing.

15. Protecting The Environment

To raise animals for meat production and other animal products it takes a lot of energy and land posing a heavy burden on the environment. From crops to feed animals to bring them to your plate there are many processes involved that harm our planet. So go vegan! Save the planet!

16. For The Animals

Apart from the many health benefits of being a vegan, preventing animal exploitation is one key cause for people turning vegan. If you believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life then stand to oppose animal cruelty. Be kind and compassionate for these animals by not using animals and their by-products as far as practicable.

17. Save Lots Of Money

You can cut your monthly food expense to half if you’re following a vegan diet. There are great healthy vegan options when you want to eat on a budget. This plant-based diet is beneficial to prevent and reverse many chronic ailments you’ll save money on doctors and medicines too. Isn’t it a bonus?

18. It’s Never Been So Easy

Now-a-days most supermarket foods like dark chocolate, milk-alternatives, Oreos, Kraft Taco Bell Taco Dinner, Twizzlers, mock meats, and much more are vegan products. More restaurants and cafes choose to offer vegan options. You’ll be positively surprised by the accessibility of vegan food options available around you.

Vegan Nutrition

The key to a nutritionally adequate vegan diet is variety. Include wholesome foods like leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet.

Protein: Almost every plant-based food has some amount of protein. Consuming a variety of vegan sources like chickpeas, tofu, peas, peanut butter, lentils, almonds, spinach, soy milk, rice, kale etc. is adequate.

Also Read: Vegan Paradise – Top 5 Plant Based Proteins to Add to Your Diet

Fat: Vegan diets are generally low-fat diets that prevent chronic diseases like cancer and cardiac diseases. High-fat foods like oils, nuts, avocado, coconut, nut and seed butters should be taken sparsely.

Vitamin D: Expose yourself to early morning sun to fulfill body’s vitamin D requirement. Fortified-Vitamin D foods products are good dietary sources of vitamin D.

Calcium: To have stronger bones and teeth calcium is the basic requirement. While on vegan diet eat dark greens, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, turnips, soybeans, tempeh, broccoli, soy yogurt, bok choy, etc. You may take calcium supplements too.

Zinc: Vegan diets are quite high in zinc levels. It’s found in all grains, fruits, nuts and legumes.

Iron: Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, beet greens, prune juice, peas, bulghur, bok choy, kale) and dried beans (kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas) are very good sources of iron. Consuming vitamin C rich foods along with these will enhance the absorption of iron in body.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Tofu, soybeans, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, etc. should be included in your diet.

Vitamin B12: It is very important for to-be-moms, lactating mothers and children to have reliable sources of vitamin B12 in their diet. Ask for fortified foods and always read labels. Take supplements regularly.

Egg and Dairy Replacers:

Substitutes for egg (binder)

  • Blended tofu
  • Mashed bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • Commercial Ener-G Egg Replacer

Substitutes for dairy products

  • Soy milk, potato milk, rice milk, nut milk, or water
  • Soured soy or rice milk for buttermilk
  • Soy cheese
  • Crumbled tofu for paneer

Types Of Vegans

Some common types of vegans are listed below:

Dietary Vegans: These are people who are on a plant-based diet (ones who choose to avoid animal foods) but continue to use other animal products like cosmetics, clothing, etc.

Whole-Food Vegans: These are vegans who favor eating a whole food diet like veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes only.

Junk-Food Vegans: Vegans who heavily rely on vegan processed foodstuff are termed as Junk-food vegans.

Raw-Food Vegans: Vegans who consume uncooked or raw food fall under this type. The mostly eat raw fruits and veggies and food which is cooked under 118°F (48°C).

Low-Fat, Raw-Food Vegans (Fruitarians): This is a subset of raw vegans who limit high-fat foods like avocados, coconuts, seeds and nuts and mainly rely on fruits for diet. They do eat other plants in smaller mounts.

Vegan Celebrities

Here is a list of some famous celebs who keep animal and their products off their plate to stay fit, show love for animals and become eco-friendly.

  • Sonam Kapoor
  • Neha Dhupia
  • Richa Chadha
  • Kangana Ranaut
  • Amitabh Bachchan
  • Anil Ambani

  • Ellen Page
  • James Cromwell
  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Ariana Grande
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Bryan Adams
  • Bill Clinton and many more.

Foods That Vegans Avoid

Vegans avoid any type of animal meat or foods derived from animals. These include:

  • Meat, poultry, fish and seafood
  • Milk and all dairy products
  • Eggs from chicken, ducks, fish, quails, etc.
  • Bee products like honey, bee pollen, etc.
  • Animal by-products like whey, lactose, gelatin, carmine or cochineal, isinglass, shellac, fish oil, etc.

Foods That They Eat

Vegans use plant-based substitutes instead of animal products, like:

  • Soy proteins like tofu, tempeh, and seitan
  • Legumes, seeds, nuts and nut butters
  • Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts like almond milk, soy milk, etc.
  • Nutritional yeast and algae
  • Whole grains and cereals
  • Sprouted and fermented plant foods like miso, natto, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Fruits and veggies

Tips For A First-Time Vegan (Easy Transition!)

Here are a few amazing tips to start on a vegan diet that will make the transition smooth and easier. Take a look.

1. Prepare Yourself

Planning to go plant-based?? Doing research and preparing yourself with facts and figures about veganism will come handy. Expand your knowledge on this exciting journey ahead.

2. Don’t Rush

Going vegan overnight would not be an easy task. Seek for a gradual and open-minded transition. Eliminate one product at a time and proceed week by week.

3. Feast On Simple And Diverse Meals

Don’t overcomplicate things while on a vegan diet. Avoid jumping to fancy and expensive foodstuff. Try to keep your meals simple, plant-based but consider adding diverse veggies, legumes and fruits in your meal plan. Learn and cook simple vegan recipes. This will encourage you.

4. Take A Look At Your Pantry

Make sure you stock your pantry with plenty of whole foods, whole grains and legumes, fresh leafy veggies and some delicious vegan spreads and sauces. This will help you have fun time while cooking. Stay away from processed foods.

6. Read Labels Carefully

Processed foods contain animal-based ingredients that you may not know about. Keep an eye out for gelatin, tallow or lard, casein, carmine, confectioner’s glaze, etc.

7. Swap With Healthy Vegan Alternatives

While transitioning to a vegan diet ‘Swap’ is the key word. Replace meat products with tofu and seitan or loads of veggies and fruits, dairy items can be substituted with non-dairy, plant-based substitutes and so on. Fortunately these days market is flooded with healthier vegan alternatives that you may use to add flavors to your vegan food.

Also Read: Did You Know About These 16 Amazing Health Benefits Of Almond Milk?

8. Load On Healthy Snacks

Practicing veganism?? Be careful not to starve yourself. Plant-based foods are low in calorie so you’ll need fueling more often. Prepare some healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, etc. and keep them handy. They will calm down your cravings. If you are going out of house or on a trip pack yourself some peanut butter cookies, granola bars, dates and nuts bites, fresh fruits, dry fruits and much more.

9. Don’t Panic If You’ve Messed Up

Humans make mistakes! Don’t get hyped you just tasted some curry with fish sauce in it or if you munched on some non-vegan stuff while out of home. A dead vegan can be no good so forget about starving. Be practical and do the best you can.

10. Join A Vegan Community

Staying amongst like-minded people can be of great help and motivation. Follow celebs and vegans on social media. Look out for yummylicious recipes on youtube and keep experimenting with food. Remember you’re not alone on this veganism journey.

Vegan Guide To Eating Out

How to eat vegan while dining or eating out is the most frequent question that people ask. The answer is quite simple. It’s definitely possible to enjoy vegan food almost anywhere you go. Here are some tips for veganism followers:

  • Investigate about restaurants and cafes that offer vegan menu; check online menu if available.
  • Adapt dishes as per your choice. Remember ‘Swap’ is the key word!
  • Choose to have more side dishes than a complete meal. Tasty appetizers can make a complete filling meal.
  • Keep an eye for symbols indicating vegan foods and dishes.
  • International restaurants give you better vegan options.
  • Seek out for Mexican, Indian or Thai cuisines because they have more vegan options than other cuisines.

Vegan Recipes

Vegans, it’s time to rejoice! Here are some great vegan recipes for you to try right now. From a yummylicious breakfast to healthy soups and salads, all vegan foods can tantalize your taste buds. Kudos to veganism!

1. Vegan Pancakes

Try this super fluffy pancake without adding any eggs or dairy. Surprised! Yes you can make vegan pancakes using extra baking powder.

2. Peanut Butter Banana Bread Granola

Make this super delicious granola recipe with creamy peanut butter and mashed bananas.

3. Smoky Vegan Black Bean Soup

The perfect dinner vegan recipe is this healthy bowl loaded with veggies and black beans.

4. Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

Can you imagine a delectable no bake desert which is vegan? This cheesecake is absolutely refined sugar-free, raw, paleo, and delicious. The fresh raspberry topping takes the dish to the next level.

5. Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites

Kitty party at home? Impress your guests with these buttery tofu bites. Pair the crunchy munchies with a tangy, garlicky yogurt sauce for an added extravaganza.

6. Vegan Garlic Bread

Garlic bread in this low-fat vegan version is so easy to make. It works well as a great appetizer. Delicious and healthy!

7. Asian Sesame Zucchini Noodles

Are you a noodle fan? Then try these crispy stir-fried zucchini noodles. They have a boost of refreshing flavor and are gluten-free. These are way lower in calories and carbohydrates than the regular pastas.

8. Quick Chana Masala

Looking for an Indian meal that’s vegan, gluten-free, quick and easy to prepare? Here is an ideal recipe. Chana masala is a delicacy served with Indian breads (rotis or puris).

9. Instant Pot Vegan Saag Soy Curls

Have you abstained from meat lately and are looking for some chicken substituted vegan recipe. This is the right place. The instant pot vegan saag with soy curls is the best idea. Use may use seitan, tempeh, baked tofu, chickpeas for variation.

10. Vegan Sweet Potato Ras Malai

Ras Malai, that too dairy-free, sugar-free, and calorie-free! This sweet potato variation is a real vegan dish. It would have been tough to veganize this one!

11. Vegan Black Plum Popsicle

Quench your desire for an icy treat with these amazing jamun popsicles. These fruits give a refreshing bite and healthy treat.

Some Best Places To Try Vegan Food In Pune

  • Urbounce Café, Baner
  • Yogi Tree open-air café, Koregaon Park
  • Minus 18 Degrees, Baner
  • Marz-O-Rin, Camp
  • Pagdandi Books Chai Café, Baner
  • The Real Green Café, Phoenix mall
  • Café Coffee Day
  • Kompassion, Camp
  • Granny’s Bowl, Dhole Patil Road
  • Dario’s, Koregaon Park
  • Sante Spa Café, Koregaon Park
  • One O Eight Café, Koregaon Park

Recommended Books

  • Vegans Know How to Party by Chef Nancy Berkoff

https://www.amazon.com/Vegans-Know-How-Party-Appetizers/dp/0931411335

  • Simply Vegan: Quick Vegetarian Meals by Debra Wasserman

https://www.amazon.com/Simply-Vegan-Quick-Vegetarian-Meals/dp/0931411343

  • Vegan for Life by Jack Norris

https://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Life-Everything-Healthy-Plant-Based/dp/0738214930

  • Vegan Cookbook for Beginners by Rockridge Press

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1623152305

  • Modern Vegan Baking by Gretchen Price

https://www.amazon.com/dp/162315961X