What do vegans eat is a common question that I get asked a lot.
I always say a healthy vegan diet is made up of five groups. Grains like quinoa or brown rice, legumes like lentils and beans, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Vegans do not eat meat, dairy, eggs or any animal by-products like honey.
Not long ago, a vegan diet was a rarity, and it was impossible to find vegan processed foods. That has all changed now because eating a plant-based diet is going mainstream.
According to a 2017 report, titled Top Trends in Prepared Foods, veganism has grown 500% since 2014.
So why are more people choosing a plant-based diet?
It could have something to do with the findings published by the World Health Organization in 2015, which linked processed meats such as bacon, sausage and ham to cancer. Its report said that 50 grams of processed meat a day which is less than two slices of bacon increased the chance of developing cancer by 18%.
In May 2017, another study made headline news. BMJ released a startling observational report which concluded that red meat increases the risk of dying from 8 diseases.
Researchers studied more than 536,000 men and women ages 50 to 71, tracking their diet and health for an average of 16 years. They recorded the intake of total meat, processed and unprocessed, including poultry and fish.
Compared with the one-fifth of people who ate the least amount of red meat, the one-fifth who ate the most red meat had a 26% increased risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, kidney disease and liver disease.
Another reason could be the environmental consequences of eating red meat. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and 50% or more of global greenhouse-gas emission are caused by animal agriculture.
Last but not least, younger generations are causing a major shift in the food business because they care where their ingredients come from and how they are produced. They are demanding more humane treatment of animals, accountability and transparency from companies.
What ever the reason, it is good news that people are becoming more aware and taking back their health.
But getting back to what do vegans eat for a healthy diet is very important because you can be vegan and consume an unhealthy vegan diet.
A vast number of companies are jumping on the plant-based band wagon, and it is the fastest growing food movement in the world. But we always have to remember, just because it's vegan doesn’t mean it's healthy.
Eating highly processed vegan foods can be downright as harmful as consuming red meat. Many processed vegan foods like vegan cheese contain genetically modified soy. There is a growing list of health problems associated with GMO soy.
Processed vegan foods can contain significant amounts of oil. Many vegan cheeses contain palm oil. Palm oil has become one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction by palm oil companies. Not to mention that most of the leading plant-based doctors recommend no oil.
These processed foods can also contain chemicals like hexane or hydrolyzed protein. So please don’t make vegan processed foods your new diet.
What Do Vegans Eat On A Healthy Plant-Based Diet
Keep it clean and simple and always use the power plate as a reference. Eat grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado. You can include these ingredients in a soup, or a stir-fry or a simple, beautiful plate of food like the one on top.
For more help getting started on a vegan diet, visit my vegan food pyramid.
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I hope this information helps you live a long and healthy life. A free downloadable vegan protein list is available here.