Vegan Diet: What is it? General Considerations, Permitted Foods, Sources of Nutrients, Meaning and Benefits

Whether by belief or following the example of many celebrities, they are not eating meat or food of animal origin is a trend has been increasing in recent years.

Vegan diets are those in which only vegetables are consumed, such as vegetables, nuts, grains, and fruits. The vegan diet does not include foods of animal origin, dairy products, or eggs.

For a vegan diet to be healthy, it must contain all the nutrients the body needs and be balanced and varied.

General considerations

  • Eat at least five servings of mixed vegetables and fruits every day.
  • Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, or other carbohydrates with starch and whole grains.
  • Dairy alternatives such as soy drinks with low fat and less sugar.
  • Grains, seeds, and other proteins.
  • Oils and unsaturated fats.
  • Eat small amounts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and more than six glasses of water a day.
  • Eat small amounts of foods and drinks rich in fat, salt, or sugar.
  • The only age group for which this diet is unsuitable is children under two years of age because they have different nutritional needs.

Foods allowed in the vegan diet

  • Fruits: Without limits, they are the source of natural sugars.
  • Grains: Wheat (bread, pasta, and rice), couscous, farro, and barley.
  • Legumes: Beans, beans, peas.
  • Nuts: Nuts, peanuts, and almonds.
  • Tofu y tempe.
  • Oils are based on plants.
  • Natural sweeteners: coconut sugar, maple syrup, and agave.

Fermented foods should be added to obtain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, mineral absorption, and intestinal health.

As are seaweed, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso paste, and a source of vitamin B12 as the nutritional yeast.

Sources of nutrients

You can make a healthy and balanced vegan diet when you eat the proper nutrients.

If not planned properly, with the vegan diet, you can lose nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.


Vegan sources of calcium and vitamin D

Calcium is necessary for the health of teeth and bones. The source of natural calcium is obtained from lactic products (cheese, yogurt, and milk) but can be obtained from other foods such as:

  • Beverages are based on soy, oats, and rice.
  • Tofu.
  • Tahini and sesame seeds.
  • White and integral bread.
  • Nuts, raisins, figs, prunes, and dried apricots.

Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These are necessary for the maintenance of bones, teeth, and muscles. The sources of vitamin D are:

  • Expose to the sun.
  • Cereals and soy drinks without sugar (with vitamin D added).
  • Vitamin D Supplements.

The reference to the product’s origin is made on the label of vitamin D supplements.

Vegan iron sources

Iron for obtaining red blood cells is essential. It can be obtained from:

  • Bread and wholemeal flour.
  • Cereal fortified with iron.
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and broccoli.
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits such as prunes, apricots, and figs.

Sources of vitamin B12

The body requires vitamin B12 to keep the nervous system and blood healthy.

Vitamin B12 can only be found naturally in foods of animal origin.

Plant-based foods are limited, and a vitamin B12 supplement is needed.

The sources include:
  • Cereals fortified with B12.
  • Sugar-free soy drinks fortified with vitamin B12.
  • Yeast extract fortified with vitamin B12.

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in bluefish, help keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Linseed oil (linseed).
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Soybean oil, soy-based foods, such as tofu.
  • Nuts

Vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids sometimes do not have the same benefits. However, it helps to eat at least five servings of varied fruits and vegetables every day, reducing the number of saturated fats and salt.

Pregnancy and lactation in the vegan diet

The vegan regimen during pregnancy and lactation should ensure enough vitamins and minerals for the baby to develop healthily.

Vegan regimens are not recommended before two years, and during growth should ensure a varied diet of foods that provide the necessary energy and vitamins.

Processed foods

There are foods that, despite being of vegetable origin, can be made with foods of animal origin, such as:

  • In certain breeds: the shiny upper crust is obtained with a mixture of eggs, and the masses can be mixed with honey, eggs, or even proteins of animal origin.
  • Condiments, dressings, sauces: They may contain anchovies such as Worcestershire sauce, eggs in mayonnaise, and dairy products in ranch sauce.
  • Sugars: honey and refined sugars.
  • Fried foods: The onion rings are made in a dough with eggs or fried in animal fat.
  • Rubber candies, gelatin, marshmallows: These sticky sweets get their chewable texture from the gelatin of animal origin.
  • Toasted Salted Manis: Gelatin is used to help salt stick to peanuts.
  • Certain alcohols: Beers and made with fish gelatin.
  • Juices: Omega-3, fortified with vitamin D, can be obtained from fish oil and lanolin derived from sheep’s wool.

Meaning of the vegan diet

A vegan diet aims to consume foods and beverages based on vegetables to eliminate the use and damage to living beings.

Vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs; vegans eliminate all animal products or byproducts.

It is thought that veganism is a complete lifestyle that goes beyond food.

They include clothes, makeup, personal care items, medications, and even entertainment options that include animals or use products of animal origin.

There is an element to being vegan linked to compassion, and the argument is that not consuming meat frees the animals from slaughter and suffering.

On the other hand, adopting diets based on the consumption of vegetables, such as veganism, has shown that they contribute to reducing water waste.

As well as deforestation, emissions of greenhouse gases and climate change, which are secondary effects of large-scale meat production.

Benefits of the vegan diet

The beneficial effects of adopting a vegan diet are:

  • Weight loss.
  • An improved blood pressure.
  • Low cholesterol levels
  • Less risk of diabetes or heart disease.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Improve sleep
  • Lighter and healthier skin.
  • A longer life