This online Vegan Diet Guide has Tips And Resources for new Vegans & Vegetarians just learning how to transition their nutrition habits to become free from animal products.
It can be very confusing to a new vegan to know what to listen to.
There are so many different types of vegan diets and vegetarian opinions.
The best places to find the right information often depends on the type of diet you want to be on, and there is a lot of good information to check out online and in books so its worth doing the research.
The basic definition of vegan is someone who neither eats or uses animal-based products in their lives at least within the realm of reality.
Vegans usually want to stop the slaughter of and mistreatment of animals, eliminate the health risks associated with eating animal products, and they want to reduce their environmental footprint.
It all boils down to doing the least amount of harm that you can do to animals and the environment.
When given the choice to starve and die or eat an animal a vegetarian may choose the least harmful way such as eating eggs over the chicken.
For some people being a fully committed vegan also means a strict adherence to not using any type of animal product at all in terms of clothing, furniture, or makeup.
Some new vegans will even get rid of all the clothing and or furniture they already have that is animal derived.
Some vegans claim keeping those items is better because just throwing them away adds to the landfill and dishonors the life given up.
You’ll find pretty much all sorts of definitions of vegan from the strictly food-based idea of not using any animal products in food, to the not using any animal products in clothing, furniture, household appliances, medicine and more.
The truth is Vegan does have a specific political meaning.
It was started by Donald Watson the founder of The Vegan Society because vegetarian was already taken, and vegetarians often eat dairy products and eggs.
He wanted to coin a term that meant that adherents did not consume or use any type of animal products if it could be prevented.
He used it in a paper he wrote against vegetarians due to their consumption of dairy.
For others, it’s just about food.
They just don’t eat animal-based foods such as meat, dairy and other additives that are derived from animals such as some flavorings and spices.
For this reason, a lot of people that consider themselves vegan choose to say they are plant-based instead because they don’t want to be associated with the politics and responsibility of being vegan which can be radical when it gets down to the nuts and bolts.
The following resources will give you good information and keep you on the right track.
Forks Over Knives – This is a great website but it’s also a Movie that you can watch on Netflix and possibly Amazon that helps you understand a healthy vegan plant-based diet that will work for most people. Plus, they don’t use processed food and all the recipes are super simple and tasty.
Dr. McDougall – This site has a variety of great information, including even some free downloads and menus that you can follow. Since he is a Doctor he also has a Health & Medical center and many programs you can sign up to be part of to help you on your vegan journey.
Tryveg.com – this is a great site that has recipes, and a free starter guide for new vegans too. This site has everything you need to begin a plant-based diet off right. Starting off healthy with the right information can make all the difference in your success.
The Plant-Based Dietitian – If you want some one-on-one help the plant-based dietitian is a great place to get information find out about books she’s written, and to even sign up for coaching with Julieanna Hever.
Thrive Magazine – This online magazine has everything you’d expect from a magazine, but it’s all dedicated to veganism. They’ll help you with health and wellness, culture, recipes, shopping and so much more.
USDA Farmer’s Market Directory – This is a directory kept up to date by the US Government. If you want to find a farmer’s market in your area this is the place to go. Shopping at your local farmers market is better for the environment and for you too.
Food Blogs – There are so many amazing food blogs you must check out as a new or even an old vegan. Try FatFreeVeganblog.com, OhSheGlows.com, and GreenKitchenStories.com and more. There are so many there is no way to list them all but if you do a search on Google you’re sure to find them.
Today there is barely any excuse not to be vegan. It’s healthy for you, healthy for the environment, and simple too.
You don’t need fancy ingredients or special vitamins, and there is no such thing as carb combing to create complete proteins which have been debunked for some time.
Just eat plants, and you’ll be fine.
Eating a vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets you can go on.
You can eat a high volume of nutrient-rich food if you avoid packaged junk food, and never feel hungry.
Plus, it’s the original fast food since you can easily grab fruit and veggies and eat them just as they are.
But, if you are eating food how can you be sure it really is vegan?
Ask the Cook – If you know the person who cooked it, or you’re at a restaurant that has a good chef, you can ask.
Usually, people are happy to tell you the ingredients in the food that they cook.
The best time to ask is before you order it or accept a dinner invitation if this is important to you. It’s rude to spit food out at the table.
Read the Labels – When you buy any type of prepared food, even if it was vegan the last time you checked, if the front label doesn’t point out that it’s vegan, assume that it’s not and read the label.
When you read labels it’s important for you to not make assumptions about what something means if it’s a word you don’t know. Look it up.
Cook it Yourself – This is truly the very best way to be sure that your food is vegan.
If you buy it, prepare and cook it yourself, you can’t go wrong with that.
Of course, sometimes you don’t want to cook and that is understandable. But this is the top way to ensure your food is not only vegan but healthy too.
Get an App – There are apps that can help you find out if something you want to eat is vegan too.
Check out your app store for “Is it Vegan?” and the Happy Cow Find Vegan Food apps.
You can look them up in your app store and download them on your phone and then look up the food you want to eat to be sure.
Check Online – The website Peta.org offers a list of accidentally vegan food that they keep updated.
You can look at that site to find out if what you want to buy is vegan. You can also look up any food item on Google.
Just type in “Is package food name, vegan?” and you are likely to find where someone else has asked the same question and get your answer.
If you really want to be sure what you’re eating is vegan it’s imperative to get to know the words on the labels and what they mean.
It’s also important to realize the easiest way to ensure something is vegan is to buy the food yourself from the produce department and avoid packaged food.Buying your products online here on these links will usually save you on retail prices and may even include free shipping to your door sometimes.
Often when one embarks on a vegan diet they tend to try to recreate the food that they’re used to eating.
Often that includes using meat and dairy substitutes.
While sometimes it’s nice to eat something that looks like what others eat the truth is, meat and dairy substitutes aren’t needed for a healthy vegan diet.
But, is there an argument to be made that they might be worth it?
To Help with Transition
For some people transitioning to a vegan diet is something that is very strange and hard. For people who had a high meat and dairy-based diet using these substitutes might help them get through it.
Mostly because today, there are some very good substitutes such as those that come from the Beyond Meat brand, ad many nut milk, and nut milk-based yogurts.
The problem is, they are expensive and like their meat counterparts aren’t better for you than eating an unprocessed plant-based diet.
Fat salt and sugar can be just as bad for you in vegan form as in its animal form. But, if you’re doing it for the animals more than your health they can be wonderful substitutes.
To Trick Non-Vegan Friends
Some of the substitutes today are so good that when used in a recipe most people, if not told, don't know nor will they even notice. If you tell them they’ll claim to know and notice.
But, if you cook a Beyond Meat Beyond Burger “hamburger” to your friends and family they really will not be able to tell.
There are also some wonderful Italian “sausages” too that when cooked in a recipe no one can tell including the die-hard meat eater.
To Add Variety of Flavor to Your Diet
When someone goes vegan sometimes they miss the special flavors that come with meat and dairy.
Using the substitutes can add variety into your diet that you are missing. But it doesn’t take much.
A little bit of vegan bacon on your salad may make the difference between truly enjoying it and dreading it for some people especially those who are in transition.
To Recreate an Old Family Favorite
Since most people don’t start life as a vegan, if you’re one of those, you may really miss a family favorite.
Today, there are so many clever cooks who are creating and recreating family favorites that people really love due to their knowledge of flavor and how to trick the taste buds into thinking it’s their old treat.
This is more than worth it when you succeed.
As a Treat
Sometimes it’s fun to just have a treat. Maybe processed food isn’t really that good for you but sometimes you just want the flavor that only processed food provides.
That’s okay on special days such as birthdays and holidays. If you really want some butter flavor popped corn what’s the big deal? And yes, it’s worth it.
Most substitutes aren’t healthy, and while many are starting to taste like the real thing they are still processed and packaged.
You’re better off making your own tofu-based meal, your own nut or soy-based milk, and your own soy or almond milk-based yogurts, so that you can control the ingredients and make it healthier.
It’s not even that hard to do. But for occasional use, meat and dairy substitutes are more than worth it today due to the good taste and the quickness of creating a great meal.
There is a myriad of reasons that people decide to become vegan.
But, most of the time people decide to become vegan for either health reasons, or because they want to stop the promotion of factory farms which are harming animals and ruining our environment.
You’ll hear a lot of reasons, but the good thing is, it doesn’t even matter why.
All that matters is that people who eat a vegan diet often feel healthier, and they are creating a smaller footprint on the earth at the same time.
Woody Harrelson – Probably not someone you’d expect to be vegan and often seen with his shirt off in his movie roles, he’s been a vegan since he was 24 years old.
He says he does it for his health because any other diet makes him feel lack of energy and a lot of brain fog.
He said it was hard to do and he started with dairy first.
Mayim Bialik – The neuroscientist who also stars as a brain scientist on the hit series The Big Bang Theory credits veganism for keeping her healthy, her kids healthy, and the earth healthy.
She has a book out called Mayim’s Vegan Table, you can get it from Amazon.
Venus Williams – So much for believing that someone who is athletic and muscular can’t be vegan.
Venus went vegan when she realized she had an autoimmune illness and wanted to keep playing tennis.
She eats a raw vegan diet and feels amazing and credits it to her being able to continue being active.
Alicia Silverstone – Author of The Kind Diet, Alicia is vegan for the animals but has found that it’s also good for her health.
She feels better, can eat more, keeps a steadier weight range, and is also helping to save the earth by being a conservationist.
But she gives a lot of credit to the diet for keeping her youthful, and her skin clears too and reports that she doesn’t have to use her asthma inhaler anymore either.
Gisele Bundchen – This is a supermodel who has gone vegan because she wants to help protect the environment.
The waste from factory farms really bothers her and she wants to do her part to help as well as teach her children healthy practices for themselves and the entire earth.
Now that you’ve seen their stories. What’s yours? Why do you want to become vegan? Why are you vegan?
There is no right or wrong way to become vegan. There is no reason you have to go cold turkey either.
For some people it’s a gradual transition, for others it’s a sometimes thing to get into shape, for even more others it’s a thing they do because they feel it’s right for the animals and the earth.Buying your products online here on these links will usually save you on retail prices and may even include free shipping to your door sometimes.
There is no such thing as a diet always being healthy.
Some vegan diets are very unhealthy just as is some keto diets.
Whether you’re eating vegan or otherwise if you’re not getting a wide variety of amino acids, minerals and nutrients you may not be eating a truly healthy diet.
There are vegan junk food diets, just like there are traditional diets that are junk food based and all of these are unhealthy.
To ensure you’re eating a healthy vegan diet try to get in all the following nutrients:
While you don’t need as much protein as some people think, at least five to 8 percent of your daily caloric needs should be in the form of protein.
Thankfully, plant food has a lot of protein in it already so if you’re eating enough calories you should be getting plenty of protein without doing anything extra.
But, you if you’re concerned you can add in some protein-rich food like pumpkin seeds, lentils, and quinoa.
Regardless of popular diets, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet and are abundant in plants.
They are the main component of fruit, vegetables, and starches like potatoes and corn.
The type of carbohydrate you want to avoid is simple carbs which are found in white rice, chips, table sugar, and other packaged foods.
Everyone needs some fat in their diet because healthy fat enables your body to absorb and process vitamins and minerals. But, you don’t need much fat.
Most people only need about 10 percent healthy fats in their diets to maintain a healthy weight, soft skin, and hair.
Most food has fat in it naturally. If you add any fat you want it to come from natural sources like olives, avocados, coconuts, and bananas.
You don’t even need to add any processed fat if you don’t want to.
There is no reason to drizzle olive oil on anything or cook with coconut oil to get enough fat in your diet.
To get enough minerals in your diet it’s imperative that you simply eat enough calories and a variety of plant food on a vegan diet.
Everyone needs to get enough calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
The good news is for most people you don’t have to do anything extra over eating a variety of plant food to get the right minerals in their body.
There are also at least 13 essential vitamins that everyone needs and for the most part, you can get them from your diet when you’re eating enough calories for your body type, height, and weight as well as activity level.
Ensure that you are getting enough of each of the 13 essential vitamins paying special attention to B12 and D3.
Everyone needs to drink enough water. The guideline of 64 ounces per day is a good rule of thumb but if you weigh more than 150 lbs. you may want to add a half an ounce to an ounce per pound of weight to your water regimen.
If you’re drinking enough water, you should pee seven to eight times per day and it should be almost clear to very light yellow and not have a bad odor.
Once your body is used to getting enough water you can also follow your thirst cues. Note: Some B supplements can make your urine dayglo.
Everyone needs to eat enough fiber. The good thing is that if you’re eating a plant-based diet, a healthy vegan diet, you’re getting enough fiber.
Eating enough fiber helps prevent strokes, keeps your weight down, and helps you eliminate regularly.
You should get a minimum of 25 grams a day of soluble fiber and 47 grams a day of insoluble fiber. This may seem like a lot but if you’re eating a healthy vegan diet it’s a snap.
Additionally, whether vegan or not most people should supplement with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3.
Get your blood tested to be sure but note that most B12 deficiencies don’t show up for a long time so it’s better to just go ahead and supplement to be on the safe side.
No diet is healthy regardless of the type if it’s filled with packaged food and lacking in any of the components mentioned above.
It can be difficult for you if you’re the only vegan in the family.
This is especially true if you’re the cooker or if you’re the child.
Many parents don’t understand and if you’re the parent cooking meat might make you feel emotionally bad.
But, you can get through this if you plan it right and are open.
Educate Yourself & Them – Provide written education to your family from reliable sources such as doctors, nutritionists, and not groups like Peta.
They’ll immediately be turned off by that. A good show to watch together is on Netflix called Forks Over Knives.
Explain you want to eat this way because of health and put no judgment on them that makes them feel guilty about the animals.
Be Patient – Remember that you probably didn’t decide this overnight. Don’t expect your family to follow you just because you want to.
Granted if you’re the mother you do have some power over your kids when you feed them.
You can choose not to cook animal-based meals as the person who cooks. No one is forcing you.
But if your spouse cooks themselves animal meals you should refrain from being judgmental.
Be Prepared – If you have a plan you can make sure you always have something to eat.
But do remember that most family functions aren’t about eating.
Even though we make so much that we do about the food you can always eat later. You won’t go hungry.
But don’t make a big deal over it if there isn’t anything. If you make it a habit to bring food with you it’ll be okay.
Stay Flexible – Always be ready to make a new plan.
If your diet is extra strict such as only eating raw or something like that it will be really hard for you to be around your family sometimes so it’s better to stay flexible and be willing to just not eat without calling attention to it sometimes.
Connect More – Remember to pay attention to the conversation and talk to your family and worry less about the food and more about the togetherness at events.
Laugh A Lot – Remember to laugh.
Some of your family members will suddenly act like they are nutrition experts when they live off fast food when you become a vegan. You have to laugh about it.
Make Friendly Dishes – There are dishes that make themselves easy for both vegans and meat eaters alike.
Pizza, lots of Italian meals, Mexican meals and the like often can be made totally vegan with the meat on the side for those who like meat to add.
You can be vegan even if no one else is. If worse comes to worse just declare the topic off limits and do your best to stick to your diet and let everyone else stick to what they’ve chosen.
Sometimes just being a happy example works better than trying to be too much of an activist with your family.Buying your products online here on these links will usually save you on retail prices and may even include free shipping to your door sometimes.
Sometimes eating away from home happens.
But depending on where you’re going it can be hard.
The main thing is to have a plan for when this happens.
Your friends and family will want to accommodate you and if they don’t, you can always bring your own food.
Bring Your Own Food – Sometimes if it’s convenient and you’re not too far from home you can simply bring your own food with you in a lunch box or bag.
This is often the easiest way to deal with food issues.
Even in a restaurant or party, you can tell them you have a lot of allergies and no one will say one word about it.
Eat Before You Go – You can also eat before going to social events. If a lot of people are there, it’s likely no one will even notice it if you don’t eat.
Order a side and spend your time conversing with your friends and family instead.
Read the Menu – Once you get to a restaurant you can read the menu and descriptions of each entree carefully.
Typically, they do list ingredients that anyone might have an issue with and if you’re not sure you can always ask.
Ask Questions – At a lot of places you can ask them to leave certain ingredients out of food that you don’t want in it.
Especially if it’s a from scratch kitchen. Often chefs will actually prepare something just for you to accommodate your needs
Call in Advance – One way to not be in the spotlight as you order your food is to call ahead.
Talk to someone who knows you’re coming so that they can help you create or pick something that fits your dietary needs.
Order Sides – One way to avoid problems is to order one ingredient sides of veggies.
Always ask about the beans though because they often add bacon or other pork ingredients to green beans and other types of beans.
Go Where There is a Salad Bar – Many places have salad bars today. This is an excellent place for you to find plenty of food to eat.
If you eat a giant salad at dinner, not one person is going to say a word to you about your food choices and you won’t draw attention to yourself.
When people do accommodate you, thank them.
So many people won’t accommodate someone’s dietary preferences and even will take offense.
Everyone needs some go-to recipe choices that are quick and easy to create when they want to stick to any diet, including a vegan diet.
Planning goes a long way when it comes to being healthy on any diet.
Thankfully, today there are many places you can find recipes that are quick, easy, and vegan.
Fatfreeveganblog.com – Don’t be fooled by the name, this site has tons of healthy, easy and more importantly flavorful recipes that you can cook for the entire family.
If you like southern flavors this is your place to find them.
Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Any Day of The Week – This book has some great tips and strategies for any cook whether you’re a beginner or not to start cooking amazing recipes, as they say, any day of the week.
Vegan Heaven – This site has amazing roundups for all sorts of vegan recipes. This Weeknight vegan dinner roundup is a great example of that.
The recipes are all easy to make and utilize normal ingredients you can find anywhere.
Hurry Up Food – This site has some vegetarian recipes but many of them are also vegan such as these easy to make Burrito Bowls. Eating your meals in a bowl is a great way to cut down on cleaning too.
You can make any kind of bowl from a smoothie bowl to a salad bowl, to more hearty ingredients in a bowl with ingredients on hand and make it a meal.
Super Easy Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook – This cookbook is currently on Kindle Unlimited as well as in paperback.
If you like cooking with your slow cooker so that your meals are ready when you get home from work this is a great cookbook packed with 100 easy to create meals.
One Green Planet – This website is packed with information for vegans including amazing recipe roundups for all sorts of food types.
The link leads you to their round of ten types of food you should be able to make as a vegan that’s fast and easy.
You don’t have to work hard to cook delicious meals every single night for yourself and your family.
This is a lot of recipes to get you started on your journey cooking the easy way.
Seriously, cooking vegan food is a lot easier than cooking with meat.
You will find you don’t need as many pans or have as much clean up when you cook with plants.
Speaking of that there is a wonderful YouTube Channel with demonstrations of Cooking with Plans too that you should check out that shows you how easy it is to make amazing food with plants.
When deciding to be vegan it’s interesting but everyone around you will quickly become nutrition scientists.
They’ll worry about your iron, your vitamin B and your vitamin D.
But, eat a 12 pack of donuts, or a whole package of bacon and no one will say one word to you. In fact, they’ll celebrate it.
The best defense is a good offense.
Therefore, it is important if you want to be healthy no matter your diet to understand the nutrients you need and what and why you may need supplementation.
The fact of the matter is, every single diet, to be healthy needs all the following:
Protein – From 5 to 8 percent of calories should be protein, with up to 10 percent being fine.
Some people who are pregnant, healing from illness, or are bodybuilders may need to put this figure to 20 percent.
But more than that tends to start causing health problems.
Carbs – If you’re eating a healthy vegan diet most of your calories will come from whole carbohydrate.
This does not include carbs from things like processed food, cakes, cookies, white bread and table sugar of course.
Fats – A low-fat diet is good for you. You need some natural fat that’s already in your food to help process vitamins.
Natural fat found in bananas, avocados, nuts, and seeds is all your body needs.
You should try to keep this number lower than 20 percent, with an ideal rate of about 10 percent of total calories.
Minerals & Vitamins – Everyone needs to ensure that they’re getting most of their vitamin and mineral needs through their food.
There is virtually no research that shows most supplementation even works except for vitamin B12 and D3.
Check with your healthcare provider but supplementing with normal amounts of B12 and D3 can’t hurt you.
Fiber – This is what helps your body eliminate toxins in the form of bowel movements.
If you’re not eating enough that can be a serious problem and cause constipation.
You need a lot more of this than typical guidelines say but lucky for you, if you’re eating a plant-based, unprocessed, vegan diet you’re getting enough.
Water – This is something that most people aren’t getting enough of.
You should strive for one half to one ounce of water per body weight to ensure that your vitamins and minerals can dissolve and process in your body and that you are sufficiently hydrated to keep your kidney’s healthy.
The very best way to know for sure is to get regular blood tests and take the right type of vitamins and minerals for support.
Another nutrient that you need that is often not mentioned is selenium.
Thankfully nature gives us the brazil nut of which you can eat one a day and get plenty of this vital nutrient that helps protect thyroid function.
If your doctor determines that you do need any type of vitamin or mineral supplementation after a blood test take the type, they tell you to take to ensure best results.
A lot of times finding it difficult to transition to a vegan diet is the result of a lack of knowledge or understanding about all the foods still available to you, as well as the huge range of substitution food and ingredients that you can track down.
A bit of thought about vegetarian recipes and vegan ingredients and snacks will give you tons of thoughtful ideas for preparing your vegan diet meals and still have fun eating.
In fact, there are so many vegan substitutions available for you to use, you may even go vegetarian without your family realizing they are as well!
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