The vegan diet has been around for hundreds of years, but has recently gained popularity for health and environmental benefits. On a vegan diet, it is necessary to eliminate not only all meat and poultry products, but all products that contain any animal products at all.
Becoming a vegan or following a vegan diet means giving up all meat, poultry, seafood, and any and all animal products. This includes honey, gelatin, dairy, and eggs. Essentially all foods on a vegan diet are derived from plants and mostly include grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
While thinking about a vegan diet might seem very restrictive, there is actually an abundance of foods and vegan products available. For most vegans, the base of their diet is made up of grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, soy products, tempeh, nuts, and seeds. This includes things like pasta, beans, quinoa, barley, chickpeas, tempeh, tofu, and other plant derived products in addition to lots of fruits and veggies. Many vegans also incorporate a number of non-dairy products into their diets including almond and coconut milk, soy or coconut based yogurts and dairy products, soy or rice based ice creams, and more.
Getting enough nutrients is a concern on any diet, but many people considering a vegan lifestyle are especially concerned when cutting all animal protein and diary from their diets. Some key nutrients that vegans should focus on since they typically come form animal based products are Vitamin B-12, Omega-3, Vitamin D, protein, calcium, and iron. However all of these can be readily found in plant based food.