What is a Vegan Diet? - Slender Kitchen

What is a Vegan Diet?

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.

What Does a Vegan Eat?

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.

Will I Get Enough Nutrients on a Vegan Diet?

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.

  • Vitamin B-12: Since B-12 can be difficult to find in foods, most vegans look for B-12 fortified foods like non-dairy milks, cereals, and breads. You can also take vegan B-12 pills to ensure you get the daily recommended amount.
  • Omega-3: Omega-3’s are normally found in fish oils and nuts/seeds. An easy way to get Omega 3’s daily is through flax seeds, which contain high amounts of Omega 3’s. You can also look for Vegan Omega 3 supplements if you do not consume sufficient nuts and seeds daily.
  • Vitamin D: The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sun. Between 15-30 minutes daily can provide you with all the Vitamin D you need.
  • Protein: Most vegans do not actually struggle to get enough protein daily because it is found in so many vegan foods naturally. Some great sources for protein are lentils, tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and plant based protein powders.
  • Calcium: Many people have a misconception that the best calcium sources are dairy, but there is actual lots o calcium in other plant-based sources. Some of the best places to get calcium are leafy green vegetables, broccoli, okra, figs, oranges, almonds, pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, and tempeh.
  • Iron: Iron normally comes from red meat in a typical diet, but there is a lot of iron in dark leafy greens, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, raisins, tofu, soy based products, nuts, seeds and iron fortified products.
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