vegan diet for beginners

Vegan Diet for Beginners: What You Need to Know

Are you looking into a vegan diet for beginners? Or for vegan beginner tips and tricks and a guide to what a vegan diet is exactly?

My hopes are that this article will help to answer any questions that you might have as a vegan beginner. So, that you will feel more confident in becoming vegan!

It really isn’t as hard or as intimidating as it might seem, and I hope that this article will help you to be able to see that. 

So, if you want to find out more about having a vegan diet then keep reading to find out everything that you might need to know. So that you can confidently begin a vegan diet and feel inspired to create vegan recipes for beginners!

Vegan Diet for Beginners

Probably the most important point that we must make is the definition of a vegan diet as I think it can often become muddied.

I can’t tell you how many times people have confused what eating a vegan diet means. While handing me a dish that contains eggs or dairy and saying that its vegan!

Many people don’t know exactly what a vegan diet entails they just know that it eliminates certain animal products. But it is so much more then that so let’s find out what exactly veganism is.

I have decided to compare it to a plant-based diet in this article as these two diets are often confused for one or the other.

Related: How to Start Eating Vegan for Beginners

Vegan Vs Plant-Based

Similar though these two diets might be there are a few differences that set them widely apart. I also wanted to bring up the differences as I sometimes refer to them interchangeably since they are so similar.

But just keep in mind that they are different from one another in certain ways, though they are still often used interchangeably.

Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is a lifestyle more than a diet as it completely removes all animal products from what you eat. Such as dairy products, meat, fish, honey, and eggs.

But a vegan diet isn’t just about food. To be truly vegan you must also stop buying anything taken or related to animals.

This is a broad concept but to put it simply vegans don’t buy fur, leather, wool, or products that have been tested on animals.

This would include things like fur lined coats, leather shoes or purses, wool sweaters, and skincare products that have gone through animal testing.

This is a part of veganism that can get quite complicated as most medications have gone through animal testing. And vegan replacements for things such as wool and leather can sometimes be bad for the environment.

This is a part of veganism that you will want to do your research on in order to make well educated decisions on what to buy and what not to buy.

vegan diet for beginners

Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet restricts all animal products from the diet as well, but it is often done out of health concerns. While a vegan diet is usually adopted out of a concern for animal wellbeing.

Often people will become plant-based because they are lactose intolerant, have food allergies, or want to lose weight.

Following a plant-based diet doesn’t include other lifestyle changes outside of your diet. As people on a plant-based diet can still buy leather, wool, fur, and products tested on animals.

This is the biggest difference between the two diets as one is more a lifestyle while the other is very much just a diet.

Why Should You Become Vegan?

There are several reasons why you might decide to start a vegan diet for beginners and make it part of your lifestyle.

I personally became vegan because I believe that the way that meat, egg, and dairy animals are treated is inhumane. I didn’t want to support keeping animals caged up until they die or are slaughtered.

This is a big motivation for me and has helped me to stay vegan even in times where I considered going to a vegetarian diet. I just can’t support the dairy and egg industry like I used to. Not with a clear conscience.

But there are many reasons why you might decide to become vegan so, here are just a few reasons to consider.

For the Environment

In many cases a vegan diet is more beneficial for the environment. This is not a topic that I am very well educated on so I will not dig too deep into it. Instead I will leave it up to you to research as you please.

The general concept is that veganism helps the environment as raising animals for food requires large amounts of food, water, land, and energy.

There are also several kinds of by-products from raising animals that increases pollution of our air and waterways.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that a vegan diet does not always help the environment. If you rely heavily on vegan substitutes and alternatives you might actually be further harming the environment.

One example is palm oil which is a huge environmental issue that effects many animal species. It is very often found in vegan butter substitutes as well as many other products vegan and non-vegan.

For the Animals

The most obvious reason to become a vegan beginners is because you care about animals and want to help them.

If you are considering a vegan diet there is a good chance that you are already aware of how terrible the meat, dairy, and egg industries are.

Chickens are kept in cages their whole life in terrible conditions while dairy cows are constantly impregnated in order to produce milk. Their calf’s being taken away from them and the male calf’s usually being slaughtered as they do not produce milk.

The meat industry is no better as most meat cows are kept in facilities their whole life under stressful conditions. Often being slaughtered inhumanly.

These are just a few points to consider as there are many more horrible facts about these industries that would make you want to stop supporting them.

For Your Health

Another big reason why people adopt a vegan diet for beginners is because of health-related reasons.

You might have food allergies or suffer from poor digestion. Even people with acne might consider a vegan diet as animal products can often make acne worse.

You might also want to become vegan because animal products aren’t entirely healthy due to the poor living conditions of the animals.

Stressed out animals will not produce healthy eggs, dairy, or meat. Not to mention the fact that they are usually very unhealthy themselves from the poor living conditions and quality of food.

Is a Vegan Diet for Beginners Healthy?

If you are looking into a vegan diet for beginners you are probably wondering if a vegan diet is even healthy. As many people might have a very strong belief that it is not!

Like any diet there are always going to be health benefits alongside side effects, and I am not the person to lie to you about this.

I didn’t go vegan for health benefits, so I am not going to try to convince you to go vegan because I think it is the healthiest option. Because quite frankly I don’t think it is the healthiest option for everyone.

Research has suggested that vegans have fewer heart problems from the reduction of cholesterol from meat. But they also have a higher risk of strokes probably from consuming less b12.

Vegan beginners also generally eat healthier diets with a wider variety of produce, legumes, and grains. But this is not a fact as you can still eat an unhealthy and processed diet while being vegan!

If done right a vegan diet can leave you leaner and feeling more energized. It can also help you to feel more satisfied as you are able to eat more while still consuming less fats and calories.

If you were to ask me if I thought being vegan was healthy I would say that I do believe that to be true if you take the necessary actions to eat healthy.

If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of becoming vegan check out this book on The Vegan Starter Kit by Neal D Barnard for more information. I haven’t read it for myself, but I have heard good things about it!

vegan diet for beginners

What Foods Aren’t Vegan

When people think of vegan recipes for beginners they often think of plain and boring meals with few options. But that just isn’t true as a vegan diet is still very plentiful even with its restriction!

Animal products make up such a small portion of what we can eat so don’t worry about finding foods. There are so many options to choose from! You will quickly adapt and be creating delicious and versatile meals in no time. As you discover just how much variety a vegan diet really contains.

Here are the foods that vegans do not eat:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • gelatin

Where Do You Get Protein From?

I couldn’t write a vegan diet for beginners’ article without throwing this all too common question in the mix!

If you are a vegan beginner you are most certainly going to be asked about protein at least once if not a hundred times! Believe me, that isn’t just a myth, it really does happen quite frequently!

Which when you think about it is really quite silly as protein is found in most foods that we eat not just in meat. Almost all food contains at least a small amount of protein, even vegetables.

Here are a few foods that contain generous amounts of protein. These are vegan foods that you should try to incorporate into your vegan recipes for beginners in a few meals each day.

  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Hempseed
  • Peas
  • Quinoa
  • Soy milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sweet corn

Related: Best Sources of Vegan Protein

How to Make an Easy Transition

If I were to give a vegan beginner advice it would be to become vegan in steps not leaps.

The best way to set yourself up for a smooth transition into veganism is to first go vegetarian and cut out all meats and fish. Then slowly remove other animal products from your diet. Such as dairy, eggs, and honey or gelatin.

Take it in steps over the course of a few weeks or even a few months so that you can adapt to the changes in your diet.

Doing it this way will help you to ease into eating a vegan diet without suddenly removing food items that you would normally eat.

By taking it slowly you will reduce your chances at feeling overwhelmed with the changes. It will also give you time to find new vegan favorites to replace your old ones.

Related: How to Make Vegan Meals That still Taste Good

What to Expect on a Vegan Diet?

There aren’t too many things to be concerned about when starting a vegan diet. You might not even notice any changes at all! But that being said it is always better to be prepared.

Switching to a vegan diet can be a big change for your body’s natural rhythm so here are a few things that you might initially experience. You might even experience some things that aren’t on this list which are probably normal, so try not to worry.

What to expect when you start a vegan diet is another question that The Vegan Starter Kit by Neal D Barnard answers in better detail if you are interested in a more in-depth review.

You’re Going to Get Hungry

When you first become vegan you should expect to feel really hungry. And I do mean REALLY hungry!

This is pretty normal and is easy to fix, as you will need to get used to eating larger sized portions then you normally would. Portion sizes no longer apply to you as you are easing a diet that contains much less fat and calories.

So, in order to avoid that huge change in appetite, try to immediately start to consume larger portions at meal times. This will help you to better adjust to the changes in your diet.

Your Digestion Might Change

You might also begin to notice a change in your bathroom habits. Too much information I know but this is an important side effect to be aware of!

You might get diarrhea or become constipated in the most extreme cases. More often than not you will just find yourself going to the bathroom more frequently.

A vegan diet is often higher in fiber so your bowel movements will probably change for the better! Too much information, I know! But it had to be said just in case there was someone out there worried about this.

Your Energy Levels Might Fluctuate

It is also very normal to feel either very energized or a bit sluggish when switching to a vegan diet for beginners.

I personally started to feel a bit more energetic and active, but you might feel the opposite for a while. Since everyone’s body will react a bit differently through the adjustment period.

Because vegan foods are generally easier to digest your food will become energy much faster. So even if you initially feel more tired you should begin to feel more energetic within a few weeks or a month or two.

Conclusion

In this article we covered all of the points on veganism that you might be interested in. Such as why you might want to be vegan and what being vegan means.

I hope that maybe this article helped to clarify some points that you might have otherwise been confused about. Because the most important thing you can do when going vegan is to prepare.

Being prepared can help you to easily transition into a vegan diet without hassle or stress that is unnecessary. Making going vegan that much easier since it really doesn’t need to be hard at all.

What are some of your most helpful tips for those going vegan if you have been vegan for a while? What helped you to make the dietary change easily and smoothly? Any tips on a vegan diet for beginners that you could share just might be able to help someone else!

3 thoughts on “Vegan Diet for Beginners: What You Need to Know”

  1. Pingback: Best Tips for Going Vegan That I Wish I Had Known Sooner | Oh My Vegan

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  3. Pingback: The 10 Types of Vegan Diet That You Need to Know About | Oh My Vegan

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