What is a Vegan diet?
Magdanatka/Shutterstock A vegan diet is one that avoids all animal products, including animal flesh (meat, poultry, and fish), dairy products (milk, cream, butter, yogurt, and cheese), eggs, and honey. This means zero ingredients of any kind from animal products, such as gelatin (often used in vitamin capsules as a thickening agent), whey, and dairy fat ingredients. People are attracted to the vegan lifestyle out of concern for animal welfare, because of health issues (check out what happens to your body when you go vegan), for weight loss, or to be kinder to the environment. (It’s also a money-saver, among other compelling reasons to go vegan.)
Vegans range in their degree of strictness with the diet. “Some will not eat at restaurants that prepare meat, while others don’t mind if the same grill used to cook meat is used to prepare their food,” says Sharon Palmer, aka the Plant Powered Dietitian. “Some vegans do not worry about trace ingredients (like eggs or dairy products) found in food products, while others scour food labels carefully.” Many vegans also don’t buy products made from animals, including leather, silk, or wool. They may also avoid household and cosmetic products that were tested on animals (here’s a guide to vegan skin care).
How do vegans get protein?
Magdanatka/Shutterstock Most of us equate protein with meat, but there’s plenty of protein in plant-based foods. (Here are the best plant-based protein sources, ranked.) Vegans tend to get their daily dose of protein mostly from soy (tofu, edamame, tempeh), pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas), nuts, seeds, peanuts, plus a bit from whole grains and vegetables. (And here’s an egg substitute vegans are loving now.) It is completely possible to consume adequate protein from plant sources. What do vegans eat? Read on for examples of delicious plant-based meals.