What is a Vegan?
Vegans abstain from meat, fish, fowl, eggs, and dairy products. Some vegans even avoid animal by-products like honey and leather.
Many vegan versions of familiar foods are available, like vegan hot dogs and burgers made with meat substitutes such as wheat or soy; ice cream, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise made without dairy. Many foods associated with veganism are soy and almond milks, and meat substitutes like seitan, tofu, tempeh.
Food items like a vegetarian burrito without dairy (cheese or sour cream) would be considered vegan. A vegetarian Thai curry made from coconut milk is vegan. Egg-free pasta with tomato sauce or another non-meat and non-dairy sauce is vegan. Most breads are vegan as well.
Some Science-Based Health Benefits of Vegan Diet, by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)
- It Appears to Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Kidney Function: Vegan diets may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are also particularly effective at reducing blood sugar levels and may help prevent further medical issues from developing.
- Vegan Diets May Protect Against Certain Cancers: According to the World Health Organization, about one-third of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet. For instance, eating legumes regularly may reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by about 9–18% (31). Research also suggests that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of dying from cancer by up to 15% (32).
- Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and fiber is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Vegans may also have up to a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Several randomized controlled studies report that vegan diets are much more effective at reducing blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels than diets containing animal protein.