THE VEGAN DIET AT A GLANCE
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A VEGETARIAN AND A VEGAN DIET?
The main difference is while vegetarians enjoy eggs, dairy and sometimes even seafood (if they are pescitarians), vegans do not consume any animal products whatsoever. Vegans shun animal products of any kind, including honey.
VEGAN DIET: WHAT IS NOT ON THE MENU?
The vegan diet is completely devoid of animal products. Specifically, this means that vegans do not eat fish, poultry or any products from dead animals, such as meat and bone (including gelatine, and broth or stock made from meat bones). Vegans are also forbidden from eating:
- Milk and all dairy products (including cream, yogurt, ice cream, butter, etc.)
This also applies to all products where the above mentioned products are included as ingredients, for example, egg noodles or milk chocolate. Some of our best vegan recipes can be found here.
WHY CHOOSE A VEGAN DIET?
There are several reasons why people opt for a vegan lifestyle.
Ethical reasons are one of the biggest pulls toward a vegan lifestyle. People living the full vegan lifestyle reject the way in which people use and treat animals in today’s world. They have compassion for animals used as test subjects and regard the line between what is labelled “human” and what is labelled “animal” as arbitrary. Many people also call for more rights for animals and a fair balance between the interests of humans and those of animals.
Another reason to go vegan is concern for the environment, especially the drawbacks and consequences of “factory” farming. Valuable forest areas are cleared to create pastures for cattle farms and a significant amount of water is used to maintain these farms.
HOW CAN VEGANS GET THE NUTRIENTS THEY NEED?
Vegans need to ensure that their diet is varied and that they get enough of the essential nutrients found primarily in animal products, especially calcium, iron, B group vitamins and protein.
Vegans can acquire their calcium from calcium-rich mineral water, vegetables such as broccoli, as well as tofu and various nuts (for example, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios).
Iron from plant sources is found mainly in legumes, nuts, dried fruits, and whole grains. It is more readily absorbed when vitamin C is consumed at the same time.
The B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, are more difficult to come by. Vegans should have their levels regularly checked and, if necessary, take a supplement. Further details on vegan foods.
WHO SHOULD AVOID A VEGAN DIET?
Nutritionists suggest that a vegan diet is not ideal for pregnant women, infants and children because of the increased risk of nutrient deficiencies. If in doubt, ask your doctor whether a vegan diet is right for you.