If you have been playing with the idea of trying out a vegan lifestyle or are already leading one but want to be inspired by the ideal diet plan, this is the article for you.
In saying that, if you are ‘v curious’ and want to understand why so many people have chosen to undertake this healthy way of life, this will also be of great interest to you.
With more and more information available these days, plenty of people have been captivated by the overall health benefits of going vegan for health and longevity, especially since it is catered for in many places around the world, unlike many years before.
With events such as Veganuary, inspiring folks to abstain from meat and dairy for January and plenty of plant-based alternatives becoming available in supermarkets, not to mention vegan cafes and restaurants multiplying by the minute on every corner, trying out veganism has never been so easy – and your body will thank you.
So, with that in mind, sit back, relax and let us give you the scoop on the advantages of going vegan for health and longevity, with some helpful information, valuable tips, and the ideal diet plan to help you on your vegan journey.
So, what is Veganism?
Firstly, before we get to our ideal diet plan, we need to talk about veganism because we cannot assume this is a term everyone knows, so let us tell you a little about what going vegan means.
Veganism is a term that relates to a person who follows a diet that abstains from any animal-related product, not just meat and dairy, but any product which is derived from animals too, such as honey, food colorings, and even foods which has an impact on the environment and animal habitats.
Veganism is a term that is sometimes wholly misunderstood, with many believing it is similar to or even the same as vegetarianism; however, the main difference is that veganism cuts out any type of food that may harm an animal, while vegetarianism involves cutting out meat only and vegetarians may continue to eat eggs and dairy products as standard.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t until the 1940s that the term ‘vegan’ even became a thing, and today it is a diet you see advertised all over the world.
There are many reasons people choose one or the other, and today we are not aiming to convince or shut down any type of diet but rather educate and inspire you to know what benefits of being vegan for health and longevity.
Many ethical vegans, as opposed to dietary vegans, live a lifestyle that follows the philosophy in many other parts of their lives and tries to avoid animal exploitation.
Veganism is a lifestyle that many have chosen for a host of reasons, and one thing is for sure, no matter why, when, or how you decide to make the switch, you will reap the benefits.
And we can’t wait to delve further into this, so stay tuned.
Vegan for Health and Longevity
Going vegan for health and longevity is just one of the main reasons people are swayed by this lifestyle, as well as doing their part for the environment, getting more energy from food, and being more conscious of what you are buying and consuming daily.
So, you could say that veganism and mindfulness go hand in hand, which can only lead to positive things.
As you can see from the map below, veganism exists worldwide but stands out in certain regions, such as the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia.
Since ancient times, abstaining of meat and dairy products has been undertaken by many cultures, especially in old India, ancient Greece, and eastern Mediterranean societies, all of which reaped the advantages of being vegan for health and longevity, and there are a lot more benefits to know about.
Here are some of the main health benefits of following a vegan diet:
- First, it can keep your weight balanced since you rely on more whole foods than a standard Western diet.
- The foods consumed will reduce inflammation in the body, which, as we all know, is a leading cause of many major diseases.
- You will benefit from long-lasting energy throughout the day by getting your protein from clean sources.
- Your sluggish days will be over, and your digestion will improve significantly – given that your body uses considerable energy to break down the meat and some dairy products.
- Multiple studies show that vegans benefit from a higher intake of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, which positively impact the body.
- A vegan diet has been linked to a decrease in the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis symptoms.
Important things to know:
- A diet plan must be followed when going vegan for longevity and health. It is not sufficient to cut out animal products without supplementing nutrient-rich foods.
- For a well-rounded, healthy vegan diet, you may need to introduce Vitamin D/B12, zinc, and Calcium supplements if your diet is lacking in these areas.
- It is worth researching which vegan meat supplements are better than others; if you choose to eat these, it is best to consume mainly fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole foods, when possible, to avoid processed meatless varieties.
- Always observe your body. What works for someone else may not work for you, so when starting as a vegan for longevity and health, follow a careful diet plan to avoid deficiencies and learn about what your body needs.
- Keep an eye on your portion sizes (see graph below).
The Ideal Diet Plan
If you plan on becoming vegan for longevity and health, then we have an ideal diet plan to use as a great guide.
On the other hand, if you are a complete novice and are worried about how to incorporate all the relevant vitamins and minerals into your diet, or are already leading a vegan lifestyle but want to switch it up a little, then be sure to take note of this diet plan.
Like any dietary lifestyle, balance is the key, so we have laid out all you need to know below to make this a sustainable one for you.
Here are the top foods which you should include in a vegan diet:
- Plenty of organic fresh fruit and vegetables (plenty of green leafy and colorful vegetables)– a minimum of five daily portions.
- Beans and legumes.
- Nuts and seeds – (many of these vary in protein amounts, see below)
- Wholegrains include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, oats, and quinoa.
- Low fat and sugar-free dairy substitutes, either cashew, coconut, almond, or soy-based.
- Tofu and meat substitutes in moderation.
- Healthy fats such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.
- Bread, rice, and pasta – wholegrain and wholewheat when possible.
Foods to avoid:
- Overly processed foods.
- Foods with a lot of sugar, starches, and sodium.
- Foods with a high saturated fat content – opt for the good fats from avocados, chia seeds, and olive oil.
- Food additives.
- Dairy supplements with excess sugar and fat.
Below is an idea of the portion sizes best suited to a vegan diet.
Here are some sample meal options:
Breakfast: Tofu scramble/ wholewheat toast/ almond latte/ vegan cereal/ vegan yogurt with fruit/ fruit smoothie/ overnight oats/ vegetable juice.
Lunch: Rice with vegetables/ vegan burrito/ baked potato/ pasta bake/ mixed salad/ tempeh taco salad/ pasta with lentil meatballs/ tofu stirfry/ vegetable paella with brown rice.
Dinner: Nut roast with vegan gravy and vegetables/ mushroom pasta dish/ vegetable rice dish/ Cauliflower chickpea tacos/ Lentil loaf/ risotto.
Snacks: Edamame/ dark chocolate/ dried fruit/ hummus/ various nut butter/ pita chips/ roasted chickpeas/ seaweed crisps/ trail mix/ vegan ice cream/ vegan candies in moderation.
Drinks: Water/ Herbal Teas/ Coffee/ Cashew Latte/ Freshly squeezed fruit juice/ Smoothie/ Vegetable juice
In moderation: Sprite/ Coke/ Energy Drinks.
Going vegan for longevity and health is undoubtedly one of the best decisions you will make (or have made), and it won’t take long to feel the benefits of this clean and wholesome diet.
While leading a vegan diet significantly impacts your body, animal welfare, and the environment, it is worth knowing that if you decide to go vegan, be sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
While a minority believe that going vegan entails merely cutting out meat and animal-derived products, you should know that this is just half of it.
You need to focus and be fully conscious of what you decide to put in your body in replacement to avoid developing deficiencies or further issues.
We hope that our guidance and our diet plan this has given you a well-rounded idea of how to take the step to become vegan for longevity and health because your body truly deserves it.
Like any diet, going vegan is all about balance, eating the correct portion sizes, and getting enough exercise, so be sure you take the time to sit down and plan your shopping list and meal plans to avail of the exciting and incredible health benefits.
You won’t regret it!