What is the Vegan Diet?

What is the Vegan Diet?

Greetings! Beyond being a dietary preference, adopting a vegan lifestyle signifies a commitment to compassion, sustainability, and the holistic well-being of both individuals and our planet. In this extensive article, we invite you to immerse yourself in the world of the vegan diet.

  1. Let's begin with an overview of the Vegan diet, elucidating its features and advantages.
  2. Following that, we will discuss the eligibility criteria for participating in the challenge.
  3. Subsequently, we will provide recommendations, outlining what is permissible and what is not.
  4. Finally, we will examine potential side effects and strategies for their mitigation.


Introduction to the Vegan Diet

The vegan diet is distinguished by its complete avoidance of animal products and it revolves around plant-based foods, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. To commence, the Vegan Diet diet comprises 55% carbohydrate,16% protein and 29% fat.


Benefits of the Vegan Diet:

This dietary choice not only aligns with ethical considerations related to animal welfare but also offers numerous health and environmental benefits. A well-balanced vegan diet is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, promoting heart health, weight management, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, by choosing plant-based foods, individuals contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, decreased deforestation, and the conservation of water resources.


Eligibility criteria for the Vegan diet:

  1. Ethical advocates: Individuals who are ethically motivated to reduce their impact on animal welfare and seek cruelty-free dietary choices..
  2. Environmental advocates: People who are environmentally conscious and wish to contribute to sustainability by choosing a diet associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced deforestation, and water conservation.
  3. Weight management seekers: Individuals looking to manage or lose weight, as a well-balanced vegan diet can support weight management goals.
  4. Heart health conscious: Those aiming to enhance heart health by adopting a diet that is naturally low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  5. Chronic disease prevention: Individuals interested in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular conditions.
  6. All age groups: Veganism can be suitable for people of all ages, including children, teens, adults, and seniors, with proper attention to meeting nutritional needs at each life stage.


In terms of nutrition:

 If you can manage with only eating our meals, that's perfect! (Request information regarding the weekly menu via email or WhatsApp). However, if you feel the need for more energy, you can include:

  1. 4 handfuls of vegetables, with an emphasis on leafy greens like cabbage, kale, lettuce, arugula, purslane, and thyme. Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, palm hearts, corn, artichokes, green beans, and peas.
  2. 1 handful of low-sugar fruits, with the exception of dried fruits, figs, raisins, pomegranates, avocados, dates, papayas, bananas, mangoes, cactus fruit (prickly pear), kaki, and custard apples (ashta).
  3. If hunger persists, you can add to your salad ½ cup of cooked whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats, and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. The consumption of all animal products, including meat, chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs, is forbidden.
  4. Plant-based milk alternatives like sugar-free natural almond or coconut milk are allowed.
  5. Proper hydration is of paramount importance. Your initial weight will determine the recommended daily water intake.
  6. Sweets and desserts represent 10% of the diet. So adding a light vegan snack between 100-150 calories once every other day is not a big deal!
  7. When it comes to coffee, you can indulge in freshly brewed coffee, 1 to 5 servings (such as Turkish coffee, French press, espresso, or Americano). However, coffee mate, 2in1, and 3in1 are not permitted.
  8. Tea is permitted, and you can enhance it with sucralose, erythritol, monk fruit, or stevia in small quantities.
  9. Attention is needed when reading nutrition facts: many processed foods have hidden animal-derived ingredients, and certain additives and preservatives are also non-vegan products.

When it comes to lifestyle:

  1. Prioritize physical activity: Maintaining a regular exercise routine is crucial. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes per week, engaging in activities such as walking, swimming, cycling, running, or gym workouts. Ideally, target an enjoyable hour of daily activity, splitting it into 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon.
  2. Social dining balance: In harmony with your social lifestyle, indulge in dining out with friends. Treat yourself once or twice a week, and stay tuned for an upcoming article detailing optimal restaurant choices for a Vegan diet.
  3. Moderate alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol intake is acceptable, with a recommendation of 1 to 2 drinks per week. Opt for light beer or wine! Gin, Whisky, Vodka, Arak, and Tequila are not permitted.
  4. Quit smoking for health: Taking the crucial step to quit smoking is fundamental for a healthier lifestyle.
  5. Stress management strategies: Equip yourself with strategies to navigate or alleviate stress, given its substantial impact on our eating habits. A detailed exploration of this topic will be presented in an upcoming article.
  6. Prioritize quality sleep: Aim for a restful 8-hour sleep each night, a golden rule for curbing calorie intake. The duration and quality of your sleep can significantly influence your eating patterns.


Potential Side Effects and Mitigation Strategies:

  1. It is crucial for individuals transitioning to a vegan diet to pay attention to their macronutrient intake, with a specific emphasis on carbohydrates. Balancing macronutrients becomes essential, especially for those dealing with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, or diabetes. Managing the proportion of carbohydrates in the diet and aiming to stay below 50% can be beneficial for overall health and weight management. Understanding carbohydrate exchanges and incorporating nutrient-rich, low-glycemic index sources of carbohydrates is valuable in maintaining stable blood sugar levels. It is recommended to seek education on these aspects and always consult with a Nutritas dietitian if you observe weight gain or encounter challenges in achieving successful weight loss.
  2. If you find yourself experiencing physical or mental discomfort when transitioning suddenly to a vegan diet, we recommend a gradual approach to allow your body to adapt to the changes. Begin with being a Flexitarian, primarily following a vegetarian diet but occasionally incorporating meat or fish. Once you feel mentally and physically prepared, transition to a Vegetarian diet, excluding meat and fish but potentially including dairy products and eggs. Progress further to a Lacto-vegetarian diet, excluding meat, fish, and eggs but including dairy products, as your body signals readiness. Following this progression, your body will be better prepared to embrace the rules and recommendations of a vegan lifestyle.
  3. Feelings of boredom and a lack of motivation can be experienced in any diet, including a vegan one. This might happen if someone feels limited in their food choices, particularly when not exploring a variety of plant-based foods. To enrich the experience and boost motivation, individuals can seek guidance from Nutritas dietitians to discover new recipes and creative snacks that can be added from home, expanding options beyond fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
  4. Before embarking on a vegan diet, it's crucial to consider potential nutrition deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals that many people may have. Therefore, we strongly recommend undergoing a blood test before starting this type of diet. Individuals embracing the vegan lifestyle should be well-informed about nutrient-rich choices, especially focusing on vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. While some nutrients like iron and calcium are readily available in plant-based foods, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids might require supplementation or careful planning in a vegan diet.  Here are examples of vegan foods rich in various nutrients: 
    • Vitamin B12, fortified plant-based milk (soy, almond, or rice milk), Fortified breakfast cereals, Nutritional yeast, Fortified vegan spreads, and Fortified plant-based yogurt.
    • Iron: Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, soybeans), Dark greens (spinach, kale,  swiss chard, romaine lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, red cabbage or brussels sprouts), Whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice), Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews), Dried fruits (apricots, raisins)
      • Note: Adding vitamin C (like lemon) to these foods increases iron absorption.
    • Calcium: Fortified plant-based milk (almond, soy, rice), Fortified plant-based yogurt, Fortified plant-based juice (such as orange juice), Tofu made with calcium sulfate, Leafy greens (kale)
      • Note: Should be taken separately from iron-rich food to improve iron absorption.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Chia seeds, Flaxseeds (ground or flaxseed oil), Walnuts, Hemp seeds, seaweed, spirulina, brussel sprouts and Algal oil.


This concludes our overview of the Vegan Diet challenge, and I trust that this information provides a comprehensive understanding of its fundamental aspects. Should you have any questions or require further details, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.