With so much information out there about vegan diets it can be a little tough knowing where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a handy list of frequently asked questions and answers to get you up to speed so you’re ready for your new vegan challenge!
What’s the difference between a vegan and vegetarian?
The most significant difference between the two would be that veganism is a lifestyle, whilst vegetarianism is more a dietary preference – why? Many vegetarians still choose to eat dairy products like milk, cheese and eggs, whereas a vegan will avoid eating any product which has been made from an animal. It’s not just food items made from animals either; many types of leather, wool and silk also come from animals and therefore vegans will avoid them.
Is the vegan diet healthy?A plant-based diet is definitely healthy! There’s an abundance on offer to vegans, from fresh fruits and vegetables right through to legumes, nuts and seeds, all of which are packed with natural fiber, antioxidants and low in saturated fats. The key to eating healthy on a vegan diet is eating a variety of foods; apples might be good for you but if you eat them alone you lose on a wealth of other vitamins and minerals found in everything else!
How do you know if a food is vegan?The general rule of thumb is that anything from the ground or from a tree is vegan friendly! However we understand when it comes to grocery shopping, it can be a little more difficult to fully analyze food packaging. Luckily most pre-packed food products will clearly state on the packet if they’re vegan or vegetarian, however if you’re unsure about anything do always check the individual ingredient list to spot any trace of dairy, eggs or fish.
What about eating out at restaurants?Fear not, you won’t be restricted to vegan only restaurants! If you want to eat out normally with family and friends then no problem, you just have to be a bit more vigilant. If you’ve decided on a place you’re going then check the menu beforehand; that way if you’re unsure about anything you can ask a member of staff upon arrival. Even if several ingredients are listed under your order it’s probably best to check at the restaurant that it doesn’t include any animal products - you never know what can find its way in!
Can I still get enough protein and calcium in a vegan diet?
The short answer – yes you can! You may have associated animal products with protein and calcium your whole life, but there really are so many other healthier readily available foods packed full with everything you need. When it comes to protein, beans, avocados and soya are all excellent sources, as well as being extremely versatile too! Calcium can be found readily in crunchy nuts such as almonds, iron-rich spinach, curly kale and many more tasty places! Find more great sources of calcium and protein.
Are there any common substitutes?
Just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you have to go without! There are a number of delicious vegan substitutes for some of the most popular food products, all of which pack both nutritional and practical needs.
- Keep your coffee – Rice, almond and soymilk are all fantastic vegan choices when it comes to replacing milk.
- Protein fillers – Animal products aren’t everything, with tofu and soy you can find all the essential protein you need. Why not try a vegan burger or a delicious vegan sausage sandwich!
- Sweet treats – Desserts and chocolate are still firmly on the menu; non-dairy milk is the perfect substitute and allows you to still indulge from time to time.
- Check out our dairy food favorites for more.
I’m a serial snacker – what if I get hungry?Of course Eat Nakd bars might well be the perfect vegan snack you’ll find around, but just in case you’re not quite in the mood (which is never!) then there is a wide-variety of brilliant handy foods to keep you ticking over.
- Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, pistachio, cashews – the opportunities are endless! Packed full of protein and essential fats, nuts are the perfect snack. Keep a bag everywhere you go!
- Seeds – From pumpkin to sunflower, seeds are full of fiber and other natural goodies! Grab a handful and get munching or sprinkle them on some oatmeal for an added crunchy texture. Find out more about super seeds.
- Fruits – Hopefully fruits are already one of your go-to snacks, but if not, it’s about time you got them into your diet! Quick, delicious and full of nutrition – what’s not to like?
Will a vegan diet cost me more money?
Any diet can be expensive if you make it so! Alternatives to meat can be cheaper in some cases, just remember to keep your eye on deals and shop consciously. You can save a lot by buying in bulk; products like beans and rice come in very large quantities and can usually be picked up for a cheap price. When it comes to vegetables try and buy in season and also shop around different grocery stores for the best deals.