What Is The Vegan Lifestyle & The Benefits Of Being Vegan … and MORE!

What Is The Vegan Lifestyle & The Benefits Of Being Vegan … and MORE!

Everyone wants to be healthy, and everyone wants to be comfortable and content in their choice to create that healthy lifestyle, right?

So, what is the vegan lifestyle, and what are some of the benefits you could get that make you more comfortable and content taking on this new way of life?

Well, I am going to explain to you what being vegan is first, then I will share with you the lifestyle and  benefits to being vegan, and finally, offer you some ways to substitute specific nutrients, as well as healthy food substitutes that actually work for the palate!

Let’s start with trying to understand what the vegan lifestyle actually is.

 

So you think you want to be vegan, right?

 

Think Vegan LifestyleA vegan lifestyle or diet is similar to that of a vegetarian diet. The big difference is that people who choose a vegan way of life do not partake in the consumption of anything derived from animals, including the animal itself.

For a dietary vegan this means, no meat – beef, pork, poultry, fowl, game, seafood, dairy products, and no eggs. But, don’t fret – these items, for the most part, can easily be replaced.

Even though there are differences in opinions about the consumption of honey, it truly comes down to each individuals choice since insects aren’t considered animals.

The ethical vegan, however, goes a bit further than just a diet. They completely reject the commodification of animals.

They do not wear or use anything that has been derived from an animal such as wool, and leather, and they reject the use of insect products as well. So, if you’re going to be an ethical vegan – no honey!

At this point, you might be thinking, “hmm..”.

Let’s look at some of the benefits that may make it worth your while.

 

Understanding the benefits and deciding if it’s right for you…

Green Vegan Pregnant Woman w Umbrella

 

The most important thing to understand about the vegan diet, is that it must be well planned so that you get all the nutrients your body needs! This is what makes it so successful.

If the diet is properly planned, it can be appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.

When we are getting everything our bodies needs in the vegan diet, we begin to discover some of the benefits ourselves. Starting with the fact that we feel better in general!

Lots of health benefits have been linked to the vegan diet due to higher amounts of nutrients such as fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, as well as containing more unsaturated fats.

Some of the big benefits are better gut health, cancer risk reduction, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and the reduction in the risk of heart disease.

It may also be helpful in treating obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

There is also evidence that the vegan diet aids in weight loss more effectively than other vegetarian like diets.

Even with such great benefits, there are a few possible problems that could be real issues that you’ll see in the next segment.

 

 

Monster In The Closet Right Hand Monster In The Closet Left Hand There’s always a monster in the closet…

 

Nutrients seem to be the largest concern that many folks have. I’m betting this is yours too!

This concern is very legitimate if you are not researching and planning ahead what to replace foods with, and where to get the nutrients that are difficult to achieve from plants!

Here, I will give you a list with a quick run down of what those troublesome nutrients are, and show you ways to substitute them.

 

 

 

 

VITAMIN D

Get out in that beautiful, natural sunshine! This is the BEST way to get your vitamin D if possible. Depending on the weather, season, or location, you might not have a lot of sun. In this case, a sun therapy lamp would be a good option. These lamps can be purchased inexpensively and they produce results.

 shiitake mushrooms, and some of the vitamin D fortified foods.

 

CALCIUMNutrients Broccoli Calcium Iron Supplement 2

This is needed to help absorb the vitamin D.

Plant sources containing calcium include broccoli, turnips, bok choy, and kale!

Using products that have been fortified with calcium consists of the different plant based milks, fortified tofu, almonds or hazlenuts, and the use of a quality calcium supplement.

 

VITAMIN B-12

Dried purple nori (edible seaweed) alone, has the full recommended daily allowance needed for a vegan diet.

Other options include using one tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and consuming Tempeh – a fermented soybean food.

 

VeganSafe™ B-12 is a blend of the two most bioactive forms of vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient for normal energy levels and the cardiovascular system.
 

IRON

Lots of foods to choose from when seeking iron.

Soybeans, black-strap molasses, lentils (beans), chick peas, spinach, tempeh, tofu, and lima beans are all great sources of iron.

Tip: Taking vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron.

 

IODINE

Eating kelp (seaweed) is a natural way to achieving normal levels of iodine to keep your thyroid in good working order.

If you do not use iodized salts, or the salts are iodized too low, you may need an iodine supplement.

 

Detoxadine® is a premium, deep-earth sourced nascent iodine supplement that was created to help support thyroid health, the immune system, and more.

OMEGA 3’s

The omega’s consist of ALA, EPA, and DHA.Green Olives

ALA is found in leafy green vegetables, avocadoes, hemp, chia seeds, flaxseeds and nuts, as well as flaxseed oil, and olive oil, among other things.

EPA and DHA are not considered essential, because our bodies create them from the ALA.

So, enough ALA should maintain adequate levels of the EPA and DHA as long as you have a well planned diet in place.

 

 

 

Healthy food substitutes – Some are actually palatable!

 

Substitutes are a very important part of choosing a diet. They can even determine, for some, whether or not you will accept and stick with the vegan lifestyle.Plant Based Foods List Badge

 

MEATS

Mock meats, like veggie burgers (wheat based), and tofu (soy) are a common source of plant protein.

  • Soybeans are a staple to most vegan dieters and are a complete protein.
  • Soy milk and tofu (bean curd) are the most common way to consume soybeans.

 

MILK

Plant based milk options are soy, almond, coconut, hemp, oat, and rice, and they are all great options. Some are better for cooking, and others are better for eating cereal and things like that.

  • My family’s favorite is the unsweetened almond milk. It has the consistency of  1% to 2% cows milk and is lower in dietary energy, carbohydrates and protein. We use this for cooking, as well as for our cereals.
  • Coconut milk is an awesome option when creating fruit smoothies – aka ice cream.
  • Soy offers large amounts of protein, which is about 7 g per cup.

 

BUTTER

Vegan Butter Substitute Replacement Almond Almond butter has also been a good replacer for my family. It can even be used when making cupcakes :o).

Butter can also be replaced with alternative vegan products such as Earth’s Balance’s.

 

 

 

 

MAYONNAISE

For homemade mayo, you simply soak raw cashews in boiling water, puree them with lemon juice, sea salt and cider vinegar. This can also be used to make vegan sour cream.

Processed vegan mayo substitutes include commercial brands such as Vegenaise, Nayonaise, Mindful Mayo and Plamil’s Egg Free Mayo.

 

SOURCREAM

Sour cream replacements are fairly simple to find as well.Vegan Milk Replacer Coconut Substitute

  • Unsweetened soy yogurt can replace sour cream by itself.
  • For baking cakes and bread you can use 3/4 cup of coconut milk mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice as a replacement for 1 cup of sour cream.
  • soaking raw cashews in boiling water, then pureeing them with lemon juice, sea salt and cider vinegar makes a great tasting sour cream. This can also be used to make vegan mayo.

 

CHEESE

Vegan cheese is typically made from soy, nuts and tapioca, and it melts like regular cheese. You can also find it as a processed vegan alternative in brands like Chreese and Daiya.

  • If you’re looking for the “taste” of cheese for a vegan recipe, nutritional yeast is a common ingredient replacement.
  • Cheese substitutes can also be created at home!

 

EGGS

Eggs are probably the easiest I have found to replace.

For ONE egg, any of the following makes a good replacement:

1 tbs of flaxseed meal with 3 tbs of water

¼ cup of prunes, mashed bananas, or applesauce

1 tbs soy flour and 1 tbs water

Other options include, chia seeds and peanut butter. Check out my article, “Do vegans eat eggs” for more egg replacement ideas!

 

Let’s reiterate what we’ve learned…

 

For a dietary vegan, the plant based foods list consists of grains, seeds, legumes (beans), fruits, vegetables, edible mushrooms, and nuts.

All meats, dairy, and eggs will need to be replaced.

There are many health benefits associated with the vegan diet, and is a suitable diet for any stage of life – including pregnancy and lactation.

Some nutrients may be difficult to achieve through the vegan diet and fortified foods, and may need to be supplemented.

There are lots of good options to use for nutrient replacements and healthy food substitutes.

With a well planned vegan diet and the appropriate attention being applied to specific nutrients, this can provide a healthy alternative lifestyle for anyone.

I hope this has been helpful to you in making your choice of lifestyle. If you feel it can help someone else, please make sure to send it on to them as well.

Share Thoughts Comments QuestionsIf you’d like to leave your comment below, sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences, I would truly enjoy reading about them as well as answer any questions you might have the best that I can.

Always be kind and SHARE with people you know and love.

YOU are much appreciated :o) !!!

– Paula

 

 

VeganZyme® is a full-spectrum blend of twenty powerful digestive and systemic enzymes that supports digestion, boosts the immune system, and more.
 



18 thoughts on “What Is The Vegan Lifestyle & The Benefits Of Being Vegan … and MORE!”

  • Very good and helpful information here. I had no idea how extreme the Vegan lifestyle was. I have a distant friend who is Vegan and is pretty strict in her practice of it.
    I love the fact that you have covered the specifics of nutrition and the things (foods) available to substitute and still have the proper health. I can understand how there are a lot of people considering the change based on all the bad health things that come from eating animal products
    Great site! Great info!
    Thanks

    • Thank you Mark! So glad you found the article helpful. Also, thank you for the great compliments. They are much appreciated. I know that pretty much everyone wants to be healthy, and lifestyles play a large role on that particular part of our lives. The vegan lifestyle is getting more and more popular as more information is being discovered and distributed. The evidence that food, when chosen wisely, truly is medicine offers us much hope in eliminating sickness. Thanks for coming by the garden and sharing your comment. I hope to see you again soon! :o) – Paula

  • Thank you for your article. Me and my wife have been vegan for about 8 years now, after being vegetarian for about 10 years. I found this article is very informative, this will leave our worry behind, especially we have two kids, they are vegan from birth.
    I surely will give my wife this link so that she will prepare good food for me lol

    Love your post and thank you for sharing this.

    • Hi Agus! So exciting to know you and your family have reached the most strict of the vegetarian diets! Its quite an accomplishment that many do not see. It’s truly awesome that you’ve spent so long working on this! I was just telling my family that I wish I’d have learned all this information long ago so that I could have put it in place at an earlier point in life. But, it’s never to late!! I am so glad you came to the garden today and shared your experiences on the vegan lifestyle! It’s much appreciated. :o) – Paula

  • I’ve thought about being vegan for a while now. However, I didn’t really ever understand what it meant to be vegan… until now. I am so glad I came across your site, because I think I’ve finally made the decision to turn myself vegan 🙂 Thank you so much for the thorough explanations you give here in your article! I truly appreciate your work!!

    • Thank you Jillian for leaving your comment and sharing your thoughts about taking on the vegan lifestyle! Very exciting news and an adventurous journey ahead! I am so happy that the article was helpful in making your decision for a more healthy life!!! Please let us know in the future how it is going. I would truly enjoy hearing about your journey!! :o) – Paula

  • I do not see how there could be anything wrong with replacing half of our Standard American Diet with fresh and vibrant foods that contain better nutrition!

    I love reading your posts because I always learn so much about things that I do need to know about. I have yet to find a way to take flax seed oil and make it taste palatable; do you have any recommendations?

    • Hi Irma! So happy to see how much you’re enjoying the articles here at the garden. Means a lot! I completely agree that no matter where in the world you may be, you should always try to eat fruits and veggies first! There is nothing like having good nutrition. You have asked a great question Irma. However, I don’t have any recommendations for using flax seed oil. At least not for consuming purposes. According to what I have learned, flax seed oil is the same as Linseed oil, which is used to protect and nourish hardwood flooring, wooden outdoor furniture, etc.!! So, that gives you something to dig around about. Thanks for such a great comment and question Irma! :o) – Paula

  • PAULA!! Thank you so much!! I’ve been looking for a good mayo alternative for our son, because he LOVES ranch dressing, and I like to make it myself to cut out the unnecessary additives like MSG and things he can’t eat, like eggs. But I never quite knew the right way to go about it.

    Also, my son LOVE LOVE LOVES to eat seaweed. We buy the organic kind (SeaSnax brand, maybe? And another brand, I’m having a mom-brain moment) that is harvested in Korea. I trust Korean products a lot more than Chinese products, since the land in China is so poor and full of pesticides that even “organic” products that come from there may still have residues in them. Very sad, since I can always find the best deals through Chinese sellers 🙁

    Glad to know he’s getting enough iodine from seaweed, cause we try not to over salt any of his foods. Thanks again for this information, I’ll be bookmarking this site for future use!

    Best wishes,
    Heather Montgomery

    • Hi Heather and thank you for visiting! So glad the article on the vegan lifestyle was so helpful. There are lots of great ideas out there and yes, I too like to replace some things just because of chemicals like MSG as well. These kinds of things are taking their toll on us, as well as our beautiful children! I haven’t really tried seaweed. I hear it is very salty, and I’m sure due to its source of nature, that would be the reason. I have purchased my neighbor boy some, as he enjoys it a lot. Even then though I just ordered through an online giant warehouse system that gets products from all over the world. Also Heather, I’m excited that you have bookmarked the garden for future information. I will look forward to it! Thanks for the comment and I’ll see you soon :o) – Paula

  • This is an awesome post! even though a lot of people say it is impossible to become a vegan I can say it is possible. I became a vegetarian 3 years ago. I have not take the step to become a vegan YET! but your post is really worth it to read. Thank you so much for the information!

    • Thank you Javiera for stopping by to visit the garden! Its good of you to share your experience about the vegetarian lifestyle! Many people take small steps if they were not raised to be vegan from infancy or childhood. And that’s OK! :o) The good news is that it’s available and we can choose whether we want to do it or not. I’m like you! Even though the vegetarian lifestyle refers to many different diets, vegan is one of them and is the most strict vegetarian diet there is. When you get a chance, read here – it will explain everything! Thanks lots once again Javiera, for visiting and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I enjoyed reading your comment! :o) – Paula

  • This was very helpful. My daughter doesn’t like to eat meat products and it has been a challenge to figure out what healthy foods she can eat. Research and planning is definitely important if you want to make sure you have plenty of food to eat that will provide you with the nutrients you need.

    • Hi Marsha! Thanks so much for sharing you and your daughters experience on the vegan lifestyle!! You are absolutely right. Sometimes finding the right foods on a vegetarian kind of diet can be a challenge at times! It truly is about what is palatable according to each individual. Kudos to your daughter, and to you for being such a great support system for her!! Thanks for your comment Marsha and I look forward to another visit. :o) -Paula

  • Great post on the vegan diet, I did and article on this diet sometime back. It is a good and healthy lifestyle but this is a lifestyle that requires commitment and really staying with the decision you make to become a vegan. Your post is well detailed and very informative. Your readers will find this post to be of great help.

    • Thank you Norman! I agree that the vegan lifestyle is THE most strict of the vegetarian diets. Because this is indeed a lifestyle itself, it can be difficult for those who are not brought up from childhood to make the decision to commit. However, with everything in place – planning, getting replacement ideas in place, and doing one’s own research – it will make this transition 100% easier, and give a more positive outlook during the process of change and throughout one’s life. It’s truly awesome to know that you’ve wrote a piece about this lifestyle!!! Kudos to you! More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits that healthy and healing foods can bring to the table. Glad you chose to take the time to share your story. :o) Thanks much. – Paula

  • Thanks for your interesting article. For those who are starting a vegan diet, it can seem overwhelming at first. However, as with all things, you soon learn how to make things, where to buy things, and get into a good routine. The health benefits are huge, and the benefits for the environment are surprisingly great, not to mention the issues surrounding ethical treatment of animals. For those considering a vegan diet but concerned about how to do it properly, your website is a great resource. Your articles are packed with helpful ideas. A couple of additional things I have used for cheese substitutes – for things that you want “cheesy” flavor for, like sauce for mac&cheese, you can add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast. It has a cheese flavor and has nutritional benefits of its own. Also, soaking raw cashews, draining them and pureeing can also make a cheese substitute. In fact, that is what I do, with some dates thrown in before pureeing, to make a vegan “cream cheese” frosting for carrot cake.

    • Hi Anika! Thanks so much for sharing such great ideas as well as for visiting and leaving your comment!! The vegan lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, you are right…once you become familiar with what to fix, how to fix it, and where to get supplies, you’re in it for the long haul because it is so much more flavorful! Not to forget mentioning, super healthy. I appreciate you sharing the new ideas for substituting cheese! I am already looking forward, myself, to having some of that “cream cheese” frosting, because I do enjoy carrot cake, haha. Thanks so much once again Anika, and I look forward to you visiting the site again. :o) Paula

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