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 Diet & Nutrition

September 2011
All About Veganism
Sunita Pant Bansal
Being a vegan is fast becoming popular. But people often get confused between veganism and vegetarianism. Here’s a look at what veganism is, and how it is different from vegetarianism.

Vegan Food
Vegan food essentially consists of a vegetarian diet. However, it excludes food that is processed from animal products. This essentially includes:
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Certain varieties of wines
  • Refined white sugar
  • Caffeine
Many vegans even avoid using products tested on or derived from animals such as leather, fur and wool. Animal-derived non-food products are also excluded from use.

Kinds of Veganism
  • Dietary veganism : in which people eliminate animal products only from their diet
  • Environmental veganism :in which people do not use animal products for anything on the premise that the industrial practice to do so is environmentally damaging
A vegan diet includes
  • All sorts of grains
  • Different varieties of beans and legumes
  • All kinds of vegetables and fruits
  • Almond milk, grain milk, or soy milk
  • Vegan versions of hot dogs, ice cream, cheese and so on
Common vegan dishes prepared from plant products without any animal ingredients are:
  • Ratatouille, falafel, hummus
  • Vegetarian burrito
  • Rice and beans
  • Pasta primavera
Ingredients such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan are extensively used in vegan cuisine. Vegan recipes also use apple sauce, ground flax seeds, mashed potato, and/or commercial starch-based egg-substitute products.

Advantages of Veganism

Weight loss:
A vegan diet has very little calorie content and is fat-free since it primarily consists of organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, sugar and artificial sweeteners, refined flour and diet sodas, on the other hand, are high-calorie food items with moderate to high fat levels.

Although a vegan diet does not guarantee weight loss, vegans tend to have lower body weights than non-vegetarians because their calorie intake is much lower.

Veganism makes skin glow: When you drink unprocessed fruit juices or coconut milk coupled with plenty of water (all components of a vegan diet), your body and skin gets the hydration it needs.

Also, eliminating caffeine intake by avoiding coffee and soda helps retain body moisture and prevent wrinkles. Caffeine dehydrates the body and skin.Therefore, the idea is to replace colas, coffee and teas with water, fruit juices and coconut milk.

This will also help you sleep better, and your skin will reflect the well-being of a relaxed body.

Vegans are advised to eat three servings of a high-calcium food per day. Such food may include fortified soy milk, almonds, hazelnuts, and take a calcium supplement if necessary.

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