A vegan diet is healthy only if you follow a healthy diet plan. This is because the human body needs proteins, vitamins, and minerals that come in the form of non-vegan foods like milk, eggs, meat, and fish. Following a structured diet plan will ensure your body gets all the basic nutrients daily.
A healthy and nutritional vegan diet consists of plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. This diet normally contains less cholesterol and fat and is high in fiber. Researchers and scientists of State University of Arizona formulated this food pyramid that gives an insight into the quantity and types of food that is needed to be consumed daily to maintain a healthy body.
Whole grains include foods such as bread, cereals, wheat germ, pasta, and so on. Some examples of whole grains include, brown rice, oats, millet, and barley. You could have small servings of whole grain food 6-11 times a day. Whole grain forms the lowest base of the pyramid.
Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and folate. Many vegetables are rich in calcium also. You should include fresh and raw vegetables in your daily diet. Consume vegetables in form of salads or juice. In a day you could have 3 or more servings. This is the next level above the whole grain.
Fruits occupy the level just above the vegetables in a vegan pyramid. You could eat an assortment of fruits rich in vitamin C. Fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, papaya, mangoes, and citrus fruits would be a good choice. You could have one or two helpings of fruits in a day.
Legumes such as beans, peas, and so on form the next level, along with fruits and vegetables the body requires vitamin E and other essential minerals that is present in legumes. Hence, it is necessary to include them in your daily diet. You could have a meal consisting of tofu, soy milk, and cooked legumes.
Fatty Acids and Other Vitamins
Omega-3 fatty acids are a best source of fatty acids. Use canola or flax oil for stir frying your vegetables. A handful of walnuts a day would help in balancing the fatty acids of the body. You could use flax oil as a salad dressing. You should take food rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin D to complete your vegan diet.
- A vegan is classified on the basis of food that he/she consumes. A vegan consumes only plant-based food and avoids dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese.
- A lacto-vegan does not consume meat, chicken and fish. However, he/she consumes milk and milk products.
- A lacto-ovo vegan consumes eggs and milk products but avoids meat and poultry products.
- A flexitarian basically consumes mostly plant-based diet. However, they occasionally consume small amounts of meat and poultry products.