Did you know that veganism has skyrocketed over 600% from 2014 to 2017?
If you’re unfamiliar with this diet, vegan food doesn’t contain any animal products — such as meat, dairy, eggs, or gelatin. Although it sounds like a restrictive lifestyle, you’d be surprised by how many different types of foods vegans can eat.
Have you ever wondered “what do vegans eat?” Keep reading to learn about 11 tasty vegan foods that can fuel your body with loads of nutrients.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains are healthier than their processed white counterparts because they’re packed with protein and fiber. Since the typical western diet lacks fiber, eating more can help support your bowel movements and improve satiety during mealtimes. Some whole grains foods you should stock up on include whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat bread or cereal, oats, and quinoa.
Legumes may be small, but they’re nutrient powerhouses. Aside from protein and fiber, legumes can also give you a hefty dose of iron, potassium, zinc, folate, and other vital minerals.
Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are some of the most popular legumes because they can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes. If you buy them canned, you can whip up a healthy meal in a matter of minutes.
Fruits are one of the greatest sources of antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer and other illnesses. Since many fruits also boast a high water content, they can keep you refreshed and hydrated.
One of the top complaints people have after they learn about a vegan diet is that produce is too expensive. Two ways you can save on fruit are to buy seasonal and local. If you shop at a farmers’ market, you’ll be able to find incredible deals on fresh produce all year round.
The best vegan diet is full of leafy greens like lettuce, kale, arugula, and spinach. However, the stereotype that vegans only eat salad isn’t true.
The healthiest and most satisfying meals combine whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and plant-based protein. One great benefit of bulking your meals up with vegetables is that you can feel fuller for much longer. These veggie-packed recipes can help you learn how to make gourmet vegan meals that aren’t salad.
5. Tofu and Other Plant-Based Proteins
Another misconception about veganism is that you can’t get enough protein on this diet. If you cook with tofu, tempeh, and seitan, you’ll have plenty of protein to fuel your workouts. Plant-based proteins also have a similar texture to meat, which means you can easily adapt some of your favorite recipes to include these substitutes.
If you’re sensitive or allergic to soy or gluten, plenty of vegans get along just fine by focusing on eating more whole grains, legumes, and protein-packed vegetables like broccoli.
6. Plant Milk
As long as you avoid sweetened versions, plant-based milk can be a great addition to a vegan diet. Some of the most popular types of plant milk include almond, soy, cashew, oat, coconut, and rice milk. Each kind of milk comes with different benefits, so it’s important to check the labels to stay on track with your fitness goals.
If you want to tone up, soy milk offers lots of protein. If you want to slim down, almond milk is a smart choice. If you want to make a creamy meal or dessert, coconut milk is an excellent base.
Since most companies fortify their plant milks, you won’t have to worry about calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients people normally get from cow’s milk.
7. Nuts and Seeds
Small doses of healthy fats are crucial for satiety and brain health. Nuts and seeds contain plenty of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, along with other vital nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E. You can enjoy nuts and seeds plain as a snack or you can blend them to create decadent sauces.
Mushrooms are a rich source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and other valuable nutrients. If you’ve never experimented with them in the kitchen before, there are tons of ways you can use mushrooms to create hearty meals. You can transform them into meat-like substitutes like burgers or meatloaves, throw them into stir-fries, or use them as a topping on a dairy-free pizza.
9. Garlic, Onion, and Other Spices
Just because vegan food is healthy doesn’t mean it has to taste bad. By using lots of garlic, onion, and spices, vegans can create dynamic flavor profiles without relying on salt. Eating too much salt can cause a bunch of health problems like high blood pressure.
There are lots of other surprising benefits of incorporating more spices into your diet. Garlic is a superfood that is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, which means you can support your immune system. Turmeric and cinnamon are other powerful spices that have been shown to reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugar.
10. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” is a supplement made from deactivated yeast that vegans use to add lots of flavor to their meals. If you sprinkle some nutritional yeast into your food, you can enjoy a unique cheesy flavor without adding a lot of calories. Aside from tasting great, one tablespoon of nutritional yeast boasts 3 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and a hefty dose of B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, folic acid, and zinc.
11. Fermented and Sprouted Plants
Did you know that eating fermented or sprouted foods can help increase the number of nutrients your body absorbs? Another impressive bonus is that fermented and sprouted foods contain tons of probiotics, which support gut health. If you want to reap these benefits, you can start eating more kimchi, pickles, Ezekiel bread, sauerkraut, and miso.
These Vegan Foods Can Boost Your Health and Well-being
Going vegan is great for your health, the environment, and animals. Even if you’re not ready to make the full leap yet, incorporating more plant-based and vegan foods into your diet can still make you feel like a new person.
Do you want to learn more ways you can improve your health? If so, I’m Centered has everything you need to thrive. Explore our site to find online yoga classes and helpful wellness tips.