What Vegans Eat

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat wheatgrass and alfalfa sprouts. Most grocery stores carry an array of great-tasting vegan options. Many products, including fantastic faux franks, veggie burgers, chicken-free chicken patties, flavored soy milks, nondairy ice creams, and other senspyramidational soy-based snacks, are marketed to vegetarians and vegans. There’s also an abundance of chips, dips, cookies, candies, frozen pies, soups, and other mouth-watering items by mainstream food manufacturers that are also vegan.

Vegan Foods are generally all types of food that are free of animal products, like meat,milk or eggs.

Food groups

  • Algae – seaweeds such as nori or kombu
  • Cereal or grains
  • Fruits
  • Legumes, pulse (legume), or beans
  • Mushrooms, edible mushrooms, portobello
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables

Meat substitutes

  • Beans or Legumes
  • Imitation meats – popular brands include Gardenburger, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Lightlife, Morningstar Farms and Tofurkey
  • Mushrooms, edible mushrooms, portobello mushrooms (grilled or fried)
  • Seitan (Wheat gluten)
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Veggie burgers
  • Yuba (Tofu skin)

Egg substitutes

  • Applesauce egg replacer – 3 Tablespoons applesauce = 1 egg (when you don’t mind a fruit flavor)
  • Banana egg replacer – 1/2 banana blended or well mashed = 1 egg (when you don’t mind a fruit flavor)
  • Egg substitutes such as Orgran’s ‘Egg substitute mix’
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer – by Ener-G Foods; free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, egg, yeast, soy, nuts and rice, low-protein
  • Flax seed egg replacer – 2 Tablespoons flax seed powder + 3 Tablespoons water = 1 egg (let sit a few minutes before adding to baking)
  • Psyllium egg replacer – 1 Tablespoon Psyllium seed husks + 2 Tablespoons water = 1 egg (the longer they sit in water the “eggier” they become)
  • Tofu – 1/4 cup blended soft or silken tofu = 1 egg

Plant Milks

  • Almond milk
  • Banana milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Grain milks – oat milk, rice milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Oat milk
  • Peanut milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk

Delicious vegan foods

Vegans enjoy all kinds of plant foods – like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils and split peas) – and fungi (mushrooms, yeasts), and food made from these. Vegans choose not to eat any foods derived from living or dead animals – no meat of any kind (no red meat, poultry, white meat, fish etc.), no animal milks (no cow’s dairy products, nor sheep, goats etc.), no eggs, no honey, nor any other animal products (no gelatin, cochineal, shellac etc.)

Finding vegan food is easier than it’s ever been. You can now buy vegan cheese, vegan chocolate, vegan ice-cream, vegan mayonnaise, vegan sausages, vegan yoghurt, vegan haggis; the choices are endless.

If you prefer to cook your own, then we’ve got lots of delicious recipes for you to try.

Healthy choices on a vegan diet

Decades of experience, culminating in more than a million vegans today, have shown that appropriate vegan diets support good health at all stages of life and reduce the risk of heart disease. This has been confirmed by independent scientific studies.

Like any other form of diet, some vegan diets are more nutritionally complete than others. White bread, hydrogenated margarine and chips qualify as a vegan meal, but too many such meals will remove the usual benefit of a vegan diet in reducing risk of heart disease. Bananas are a healthful food in moderation, but anyone trying to live on bananas alone is headed for deficiency in about ten important nutrients.

The starting principle for health is to eat a wide variety of plant foods, including plenty of strongly coloured vegetables and fruits. Each food has different strengths, so the fewer foods you eat the less likely it is that all your needs will be met. Vegetables and fruits provide plenty of many vital vitamins and minerals along with a host of other beneficial plant chemicals. In general, the stronger the colour the better. Dark green leaves such as kale and spring greens leave white cabbage, iceberg lettuce and cucumber in the shade.

In conventional nutrition, animal products are seen as a key source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12, while dairy products are seen as a key source of calcium. However, zinc and iron are found in useful amounts in many whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes and vegans are no more likely to become anaemic than anyone else. Protein is found in adequate amounts in most plant foods: it is fairly low in fruit, potatoes and rice, but particularly high in legumes. With regard to calcium,100 grams of spring greens, kale, mustard greens or Chinese cabbage provide about the same amount of retained calcium as a cup of cow’s milk. If you eat a lot of these vegetables, you can be confident about your bone health. If you totally avoid such vegetables, two cups of fortified soya milk (about 300 milligrams calcium per cup) would be adequate. It is probably best to use both, as each has other benefits as well as calcium: the greens provide folate, vitamin K and vitamin C and the fortified soya milk provides protein in a particularly healthful form, usually together with vitamins B12 and D. One large serving of calcium-rich dark green vegetables and a cup of fortified soya milk per day is an excellent foundation. Along with plenty of other vegetables and fruits and unrefined grains, you can be confident that such a diet is providing most nutrients in abundance, including intakes of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and magnesium greatly exceeding most omnivorous diets.

A very few nutrients need more specific consideration to ensure optimal intakes. If you don’t use fortified soya milk, you should include some other food fortified with B12 each day or take a supplement. B12 is not reliably available from modern unfortified plant foods in the amounts required for optimal health, so take no chances: use fortified foods or supplements and make sure you get at least 3 micrograms per day.

Sources: Vegan Society, Peta

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