A vegan diet is a type of plant-based diet that excludes all animal products. All foods that come from animals, such as meats, eggs and dairy products, are off-limits for vegans, as are substances that contain even trace amounts of animal products, including those in packaged baking mixes, vitamins and beverages. Although a vegan approach to eating eliminates numerous culinary possibilities, vegans can still draw ...
Lacto-ovo vegetarians avoid most animal products but continue consuming eggs and dairy. For some lacto-ovo vegetarians, unwillingness to support industrial food production practices compels them toward the decision to incorporate this form of vegetarianism into their lifestyle. For others, health decisions or other matters come into play. Among the considerations lacto-ovo vegetarians must take into account is ...
Vegetarianism is a potentially healthful dietary choice at all stages of life, including childhood and adolescence, according to the American Dietetic Association. The ADA points to evidence showing that vegetarian children grow similarly to their meat-eating peers but develop healthier eating habits, fewer obesity problems and lower cholesterol. (See References 1, pages 1269-1270) Furthermore, with some creative ...
Western dietary culture has emphasized almost exclusive reliance on meat as a protein source. In fact, until 1979, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Basic 4" food guidelines included a "meat group" with only a small-print mention of other protein sources (see References 1). Where vegetarians get their protein is a frequently asked question, and new vegetarians sometimes wonder if their diets will meet this ...
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A vegan forgoes all animal products and by-products in her diet, and many vegans are interested in avoiding use of such products in other aspects of life as well. Creating a vegan lotion may sound difficult, but forgoing animal products in homemade lotion is actually a simple task. Many store-bought lotions are technically vegan because companies utilize plant products for cost-saving purposes --- and plants generally create better lotions.
Parents who have been vegetarians for years may find themselves questioning whether eliminating meat from their child's diet is a good idea. Feeding your child a vegetarian diet can have immediate and long-lasting benefits, provided you do it correctly. Understanding the advantages and potential drawbacks of a vegetarian diet is the first step in deciding whether the vegetarian choice is the right one for your child.
Vegetarian diets are healthy at all stages of the life cycle and confer several important health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, reduced incidence of heart disease and cancer, decreased risk for Type-II diabetes and lower cholesterol (see References 1, page 1266). In order to reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet, include a variety of plant-based foods when planning your meals (see References 1, page 1270).
The conclusions of an expert panel, reported in a 2009 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article, had some very good news for vegetarians. Studies show that vegetarians not only have lower body weights, greater longevity and lower rates of chronic disease, especially some cancers, diabetes and heart disease than non-vegetarians, but that vegetarian diets create less of an economic burden, too. Eating from a vegetarian menu on a budget is easy, if you use mainly simple, unprocessed ingredients. (See References 1)
People choose to "go veg" for myriad reasons related to health, animal welfare and sustainability -- but a vegetarian lifestyle poses challenges. Once you give up meat, you may realize how few options you have at restaurants or how much you miss a freshly grilled hamburger. While you need to get used to meeting your nutritional requirements with a new diet, you also need to learn how to make enjoyable, satisfying meals without meat.
A growing number of people are choosing vegan diets, refusing to eat anything that came from an animal. While this may sound extreme, vegans can still eat many of the same foods omnivores do. Because a vegan diet centers around foods derived from plants, it's generally healthier than the typical Western diet. Veganism does have its drawbacks, however. Educate yourself about the vegan diet before you try it.
When you switch to a vegan lifestyle, attending parties and other social gatherings can be tough. Many traditional foods --- like birthday cake --- become off-limits when you give up animal products. You might understandably miss partaking in such traditions and even the most conscientious host might forget when planning a party menu that you won't be able to participate. When it's your turn to host, however, with a few simple substitutions, you can make all of your favorite cake recipes with vegan ingredients.
A vegetarian diet is a healthy choice if you pay attention to nutritional requirements and follow a balanced eating plan. The Mayo Clinic created a vegetarian food pyramid that recommends daily food intake of six servings of grains, five servings of nuts, beans, legumes and other protein foods, four servings of vegetables, two of fruit and two of unsaturated fats. (See References 5) Inattention to dietary needs can create side effects that are unpleasant and unhealthy. For vegans, who avoid all animal products, countering potential dietary deficiencies is particularly important.
A vegan diet excludes foods derived from animal sources, such as meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. Some vegans also avoid honey, as well as products manufactured using animal byproducts, such as commercially bottled wine and gelatin. People may choose a vegan diet for spiritual or humane reasons, or to address health or environmental concerns. About 1 percent of the U.S. population follow a vegan diet, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group in 2006. Although a vegan diet may seen restrictive, vegans can enjoy a variety of foods.
Those fully committed to living a vegan lifestyle exclude animal products and animal byproducts from their diet. If you're a vegan and would like to take your lifestyle choices even further, avoid personal care products that are made with animal byproducts. In addition, toothpaste contains a variety of potentially harmful ingredients such as sodium fluoride, artificial dyes and sugars, and other additives identified as probable carcinogens and endocrine disrupters (see Reference 1). A safer alternative that adheres to your vegan lifestyle is to make your own toothpaste.
Making your own lip balm not only saves you money, but allows you control of the ingredients. Unfortunately, many homemade lip balm recipes require honey and beeswax, both of which are animal products and not on the vegan menu. Combining candelilla wax, derived from the candelilla plant, soy wax or carnauba wax, derived from the Brazilian carnauba palm tree, with a solid-at-room-temperature oil like coconut oil, effectively replaces the beeswax. Replace the honey with essential oils or flavor oils according to your preferences for your own personal flavor of lip balm.
The idea of excluding meat from the diet isn’t a new one, but vegetarian perspectives and the degree to which dieters exclude animal products varies. Religious belief systems like Hinduism and Jainism discourage the consumption of animal products, but non-affiliated vegetarians may adopt the lifestyle as an expression of environmentalism or animal rights. The practice of being a strict vegetarian, or a vegan, can be difficult for some, but more lenient forms of vegetarianism allow dieters to eat some types of animal products while restricting others.
Adapting to a vegan diet, free of meats and any animal products, represents a major adjustment from the standard Western fare. However, it doesn't mean turning your back on every familiar and comforting food. Most pasta is innately vegan-friendly, with good brands containing nothing but durum semolina flour and water. High-fiber multigrain and whole-wheat pasta is also available and cooks in much the same way as traditional varieties. Pair your favorite pasta shape with a fresh primavera sauce, and even nonvegans will be happy to accept your dinner invitation.
Ham hocks, the lower portion of a pork leg, are used in many traditional bean and vegetable dishes from Europe and the American South. They add richness, savor and a smoky flavor that complements legumes and greens especially well. Vegans and vegetarians, whose diets are high in both beans and greens, can enjoy those greens in a number of vegetarian substitutes that can replicate the effect of ham hocks in a dish.
For a hearty, comforting meal with a minimum of fuss, few alternatives can compare with a casserole. This is especially true of layered casseroles that lean heavily on pantry items or leftovers from your fridge. Conventional casseroles are based on meats and dairy products, but you can find updated alternatives. For vegans, a Mexican-influenced tortilla casserole provides an opportunity to use bold flavors, beans and vegetables to create a healthful and satisfying meal.
Flourless chocolate cakes are one of the few desserts that can match a well-made truffle for intense chocolate flavor. Dense and extremely rich, they're perfect with a cup of strong coffee and are gluten-free, a bonus in many households. However, making a vegan-friendly flourless cake can be problematic. Most recipes contain large quantities of butter for richness along with eggs to provide structure in the absence of flour. Inventive bakers have found ways to work around these obstacles, using ingredients such as pureed squash to create rich and flavorful cakes.
Vegan baking requires a few basic substitutions. Replacing animal fats such as butter with vegetable oil or other vegan-friendly fats is usually straightforward, and nondairy milks work surprisingly well in place of the traditional variety. Eggs are more difficult to replace, and most recipes require a combination of egg replacers, starches or gum products to achieve the right consistency. Small treats such as muffins or cupcakes come out well, especially when they contain fruit for added moisture and flavor. For example, strawberries and rhubarb make an tasty cupcake.
Textured vegetable protein, or TVP, seems synonymous with the vegan diet. The main ingredient in many meat substitutes, it's generally seen as a healthier meat alternative -- but that's not necessarily the case. Made from soy flour or soy protein isolate and possibly wheat and cotton seeds, TVP is heat-processed a number of times during manufacturing. The result may be low in fat and provide some protein, but it's high in salt, usually contains MSG and, according to vegan nutritionist Mike Tubbs, has had most of its nutritional value processed right out of it. Fortunately, you can easily be a vegan without TVP: A wide variety of veggies, nuts, legumes and grains can provide adequate protein to your diet.
TVP is textured vegetable protein, a soy-based meat substitute that makes meal planning much simpler for new vegetarians. Available in solid form or in crumbles, it can be seamlessly substituted for meat in your favorite recipes, and is a major ingredient in many prepackaged meatless meals. Despite being sold in natural-foods stores, TVP is not natural -- it's the product of a long, involved production process under high heat. (See Reference 3) Nevertheless, TVP has several characteristics that make it a good choice for many.
While following a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet may be more eco-conscious and sustainable than consuming meat, according to a 2010 United Nations Environment Programme report, it can also be low in certain vitamins and nutrients. (See Reference 1) The body processes certain minerals and vitamins differently when they come from meat sources than when they come from plant sources. In some cases, vitamins and nutrients are more common in animal products than in plant products, or are only found in animal products, meaning a vegetarian may need supplements.
As a vegan, getting enough protein in your daily diet can be difficult. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 10 and 35 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from protein. (See Reference 1) Starting the day with a low-calorie, high-protein breakfast makes it easier to meet your nutritional needs.
In various cultures, comfort food involves meat and potatoes. But countless medical studies have found heavy consumption of processed animal proteins to blame for a higher risk of several troubling health ailments, including various types of cancer. With rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes at epidemic proportions, nutritional experts say reclaiming your health can be as simple as adopting a diet rich in plant-based foods (see Reference 2). Lacto-ovo vegetarian and vegan diets are both worth consideration.