Are you new to a vegan diet? or perhaps you just want to know what a vegan diet consists of?
Well do not worry because this is a complete guideline of what a vegan diet for beginners entails.
Deciding to embark on a vegan diet can be very confusing for many people who are just starting out. This is because of the lack of proper information when it comes to dietary requirements for this diet
This article will be comprehensive as it will talk about why people choose to follow a vegan diet and what they stand to benefit from this.
It will also talk about the nutrition that you should never neglect on a vegan diet.
This article will also give you the types of vegan diets that exist so you will never go wrong when it comes to being well-informed about the vegan diet.
Vegan diet definition- What is it really all about?
Since this is a vegan diet for beginners guideline I will try to use very basic language to help you understand what this diet is all about.
Basically a vegan diet is a diet which focuses on eliminating any animal products from its plates ( like red meat and white meat).
When I say any animal product I also mean even the elimination of animal by-products that we get from animals (like eggs, milk and cheese).
Now, you may be thinking to yourself “what in the world would I be eating?”
Well do not worry I will guide you through.
The vegan diet focuses mainly on fruits and vegetables in the broader aspect of things.
Before you start thinking to yourself “how is it possible to live only on vegetables and fruits?” I just want to let you know that a vegan diet is very sustainable if you have the right information.
..And the right information is what I will provide you with here .
The foods you will be consuming are not just green leaves and fruits, but there are huge amounts of products made from plants like the soy beans.
These products taste similar to normal foods that you consume on a normal diet.
These foods include vegan polony, sausages, burgers etc and there are plenty of food brands catering for these foods so you will have endless options. The key is just to be creative in this diet.
Vegan diet types- The diversity of foods
Although the vegans hardly talk about the segregation of the vegan diet since it is not really important,but it is worth mentioning,I think, especially if you are going vegan for certain reasons.
For an example you may need to focus on more raw (unprocessed) foods of the vegan diet when you are trying to lose weight.
These foods will also differ to those you will focus on when you are trying to build muscles for a vegan diet.
But just know that the vegans hardly use this segregation category. This is for your information should you need to refer to it in the future.
Just before we start let me mention that there are about 15 vegan types that exist and as the years go more and more types are arriving.
So without further ado let’s get started on the types.
- Detox vegan diet
- Raw till 4 diet
- Low carb vegan diet
- Whole foods Plant based diet
- SOS-free diet
- Engine 2 diet
- Junk food vegan diet
- The starch solution
- The 8/10/10
- Low fat raw vegan diet (the fruitarian diet)
- Esselstyn heart healthy diet
- Wholestarch low fat
- The Nutritarian diet
- High carb low fat diet
- Just vegan diet
Let me do a quick summary of each one in a short paragraph.
- Detox vegan diet
As the name says this vegan diet is the most raw of the vegan diet.
There is normally no rule of what a detox vegan diet should consist of but in its entirety it focuses on about 80-90% of food eaten raw.
The diet excludes drinks like coffee, soft drinks and alcohol and focuses on super foods like smoothies and many green vegetables.
- Raw till 4
You are only allowed to eat raw food until 4pm. Afterward you can cook.
The diet is very low in fats and protein.
- Low carb vegan diet
This low carb vegan is the only one in the vegan diet with no carbs and it is considered the hardest to comply with.
- Whole foods plant based diet
This vegan diet focuses mainly on unprocessed plants.
- SOS-free diet
The SOS on this diet stands for Sugar, Oil, Salt. This means this vegan diet focuses on eliminating these ingredients and has been said to be best for weight loss programs.
- Engine-2 diet
This another weight loss diet which focuses mainly on whole plant-based foods.
This diet is considered to be super effective in reducing cholesterol levels.
- Junk food vegan diet
This diet is for people who are focused on eating anything except if it comes from animals.
- Starch solution
This vegan diet focuses mainly on starch with the focus on fruits and veggies.
- 80/10/10 diet
This vegan diet focus on low fat plant foods and eliminates foods such as nuts and avocado in all aspects.
- Low fat raw vegan diet
This vegan diet is a bit similar to the 80/10/10 diet as it is known as fruitarian diet with the focus on only fruits.
- Esselstyn heart healthy diet
This is a heart reversing diet which eliminates the fat rich plants like nuts and avocado.
This is mainly the diet which helped me unclog my heart arteries when I started the vegan diet.
At the time I did not know what it was called as I was eating anything that could unclog my heart arteries.
- Whole starch low fat
The diet focuses on the consumption of starch from breakfast until lunch.
It eliminates all refined foods and sugar.
- The nutritarian diet
This diet should not be used by people with weak digestive system.
This is because you reduce your intake of starch and opt for nuts and seeds instead.
- High carb low fat diet
This diet is similar to the esselstyn diet since it is good for reversing heart disease.
The diet focuses on eliminating your fats such as nuts and avocados just like the esselstyn diet with the exception that this high carb low fat diet allows for processed food to be consumed.
- Just Vegan diet
This vegan diet is a broader diet as it incorporates all the vegan diet types, whether high or low fat or high carb and low carb.
This is what most people generally follow in the mainstream.
Why the vegan diet- Reasons why people are going vegan
As I had mentioned before that this vegan diet for beginners article would not be complete without me mentioning the different reasons why people choose to covert to a vegan diet.
- Health reasons
This one is the reason that lead me to stick to a vegan diet when I had to unclog my heart arteries. You can read my story here.
Medical reasons are one of the major aspects for people deciding to becoming vegan.
Many people choose this diet either voluntary or involuntary (through their doctors) when they want to take care of their chronic illness.
The major Chronic conditions which are common are heart disease, diabetes, acne etc.
Most of the people end up improving their overall health since this diet focuses on the right oils which improve health.
According to Havard Medical School adopting a plant based diet can drastically reduce heart diseases.
Please note: that while you may be embarking on going on the vegan diet for health reasons make sure you know the right minerals as this can ruin your body. We will discuss this later.
The other reasons people choose this diet is because it helps the lose weight and this is a growing trend.
- Environmental issues
I am sure you are know all about the green movement which is aiming to decrease global warming.
The huge contributor this global warming is said to be the Industrialized animal farming.
The horrific conditions these animals are being put in the industrialized farming is really disgusting.
As more people see the fact that if they continue to eat animal food the more they indirectly contribute to the industrialized farming effects the more they choose to go full vegan.
In fact Philip Lymbery the Chief executive of compassion in World Farming told the theguardian that if the world does not wake up and realize the cruelty of Industrial farming to animals the world will be doomed.
Most of these people end up upon knowing this find it a “no-brainer” to turn to a vegan diet.
Morality of animal killing has always been there ever since people started using animals as their pets.
Most people end up questioning the sanity of eating the same kind of foods which is their pets.
While most people tend to justify the killing of animals by saying it is not the same kind of animals than their pets but most people who go vegan see this as an invalid excuse.
This is the reason why the majority of vegan end up not even using any animals for anything even for clothing.
This is all a matter of perspective for the people who go vegan than those who do not.
- Social justice
If you are one of those people who believes and have a strong emotion about everyone being equal there are high chances you can end up being vegan.
This is because you will feel everything and everyone should be equal.
This is the reason why some culture are vegan like the Rastafarian culture.
The Rastafarian culture is very strict on this ideology and as some people move to a Rastafarian culture it becomes obvious why they should not eat meat.
- Personal reasons
Other people may also just prefer to follow the diet due to them just preferring a green diet and there is nothing wrong with this.
Just like there are people who are atheists , there are also some people who choose a vegan diet for their inner convicted reasons.
- Good odor (You smell good)
Trust me when I say that a plant based diet, especially a vegan diet, can leave you smelling good in terms of your body odor and breathe.
I am speaking of experience here as it was one of the aspects I loved about the vegan diet.
My breathe and body odor is so fresh now that even my girl friend says to me “you never have bad odor even in the morning upon waking up”
Well you know how that can boost a guy’s self-esteem..Thanx to the vegan diet (wink).
Anyway the reason this is the case is because when you consume a vegan diet you eat a lot of greens and fruits.
The greens and fruits are known to have high amount of fiber which makes your breathe and body odor smell fresh.
A study was also done where it showed that men who ate meat had a body odor which is bad when compared to men who ate a vegetarian or vegan diet.
The major reason some people decide to follow this diet is because they either are seeing their friends do it or perhaps some celebrity that they like.
The trend part can really influence peoples decision as most people end up feeling that they are left behind.
So what is your reason for wanting to go vegan?
Vegan dietary and health- what to minerals to never forget
The major aspect people tend to neglect is the fact that when they go on a vegan diet is to make sure they get all the minerals needed by the body.
This was one of my weaknesses when I started the vegan diet back in 2010.
When you are deciding to go vegan it is vital to know that you will need to supplement to ensure you get all the minerals which you would normally get in meat.
I will list the major minerals you will need to supplement on as they tend to be not enough for a vegan diet:
- Vitamin B-12
Vitamin which is good for your nervous system health is the major risk for vegans and vegetarians.
Although this vitamin can be obtained from foods such as mushrooms and chlorella it is normally the main deficiency since it needs to be taken in high quantities.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another mineral that is not sufficient to eat in a vegan diet and this vitamin is vital for helping with calcium absorption and muscle recovery.
- Omega 3 fatty acid
We all need this vitamin to keep our brain and eyes.
Plant foods with omega 3 can be found in Flaxseed, nuts and seeds but are not enough as the full package is found in animal foods like fish.
So you will need to supplement for this one too.
Iron is also vital for your blood as it is used to carry oxygen in the blood and to make red blood cells and DNA.
Iodine is need for thyroid function which regulates metabolism.
According to a study Vegans are at huge risk of Iodine deficiency.
The major portion of our calcium comes from milk and by being a vegan you are at risk of damaging your bones should you not supplement.
Although not enough, here are some plant foods to help increase calcium intake: watercress, choy, kale and mustard greens.
Scared of hair loss as a vegan? if yes than make sure you watch your intake of zinc as this will reduce it.
Make sure to supplement this too.
Final verdict message
Now that you know the guidelines of the vegan diet for beginners and are aware of what to focus on to have all the nutrition you need you are good to go.
Most new and old vegans do not know the vegan types that exist and also the nutrition which vegans tend to miss such as the Iron and zinc which than leads to many problems down the road for them.
Knowing this has given you an edge even before you start your vegan diet or if you are educating someone who wants to go vegan..so well done…
The reasons people go vegan can vary from environment to health and this can dictate how strict of a vegan diet they follow.
My reason was to regain my health and it has been the best decision of my life because I was able to live my life fully and feel more energized daily.
I hope this article was helpful in making you know what a vegan diet for beginners involves.
If you have any questions or comments please do leave them below I will be more than happy to engage with you as I am an enthusiastic vegan who loves seeing people get healthy.