A vegan diet is 100% plant-based. Vegans can only eat food made from plants, which includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, bread, rice, pasta and vegetable oils.
A vegan diet no longer needs to feel restrictive. There are lots of vegan alternatives available for all your favourite food as well as thousands of delicious vegan recipes.
A vegan diet is one that does not contain anything derived from an animal or anything that has been made by exploiting animals.
Vegans cannot eat red meat such as beef, pork and lamb, poultry, fish or shellfish, eggs, or dairy products. And because bees make honey, this is generally also avoided.
Don’t worry, you do not have to miss out on sweets if you are following a plant-based diet!
Traditionally, a lot of sweets have been made using animal fats, such as glycerine or gelatine, which is collagen taken from animal body parts.
Red sweets have also been made with cochineal, which is a food colouring made from crushed beetles.
However, there are plenty of alternatives available now which do not use animal products.
Most bread is vegan as it is made with just flour, water, salt and yeast.
However, some bread may have additional ingredients such as sweeteners or fats, which may be derived from animals.
It is important that you check the ingredients in any bread that you buy, to ensure that is 100% plant-based.
Breads that are commonly vegan include sourdough, pitta, ciabatta and focaccia.
A raw vegan diet has become more popular in recent years and it combines a vegan diet with the principles of raw foodism.
Just like a vegan diet, raw veganism excludes all food which have come from animals.
On a raw vegan diet, all foods should be eaten completely raw or only heated to temperatures below 40-48 degrees Celsius.
Most people follow a raw vegan diet for health reasons, including weight loss.
Many people believe that raw and minimally heated foods contain more nutritious benefits than ones which have been cooked.
There are lots of sources of plant-based protein.
These include seitan and tofu, which can also be used in meals, as substitutes for meat, as well as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas.
Vegans may find it more of a challenge to get all the protein that they need from their diet, since protein is mainly found in meat, fish and dairy products, especially if they do a lot of exercise and therefore need additional protein.
It is therefore important to carefully plan your meals as a vegan, to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs to function.
If you feel that you need more protein than your diet provides, there are also vegan protein powders available to supplement your diet.
A vegan diet may not provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals that it needs to function healthily.
Therefore you may want to take some supplements alongside a balanced diet.
Vitamin B12 is important for lots of processes in the body, including the formation of red blood cells, supporting your immune function protein metabolism, amongst others.
Vegans can sometimes find it difficult to get the recommended daily amount of B12 as it is mainly found in meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs.
Taking an additional supplement is therefore a good way of getting more B12.
Vegans may also take supplements for vitamin D, especially during the winter months, when we spend more time indoors and therefore do not get as much sunshine.
A vegan lifestyle is not just trendy, it is ethical, in all kinds of ways. It not only considers the factor of cruelty to animals, but also damage to the environment and the impact on our own personal health. That is why more and more people are turning towards it either completely, or in as many ways as they can.
Starting off on a vegan diet is not always easy as it can initially seem very limiting, but there some great vegan foods on offer now, as well as a few easy substitutions that can be made to ensure you do not have to miss out on some of your favourites.
You can even make changes to your skin and hair care, to ensure that as many products as possible meet your ethical needs.
It is easy to assume that all of your favourite treats are off the menu once you turn vegan, especially when it comes to chocolate, but this is not always true.
The NOMO Caramel & Sea Salt Choc Bar is the perfect example. This vegan chocolate recipe is dairy, gluten, egg and nut free whilst still tasting great, meaning you do not have to miss out.
Dairy is one of the biggest things to cut out of a vegan diet, and it can leave you wondering what to put in your tea or add to your cornflakes.
Making the switch to a soya milk is easy to do, with Provamel Organic Soya Drink.
It is naturally delicious, rich in protein and ethically sourced and sustainably produced. It is CO2 neutral and unsweetened, so you can enjoy it guilt-free.
Vegan snacks can be just as much fun as the ones you are used to, and the Properchips Barbecue Lentil Chips Sharing Bag are proof of that.
They are packed with flavour, with less than 100kcals per pack and they use only natural seasonings, making them perfect for home, work or travel.
When you embark on a vegan diet, it is possible that you may miss out on some important vitamins and minerals, so it is important to give your body some supplementation.
Alternatively, you be wanting to move away from traditional vitamins to vegan supplements instead. The Holland & Barratt Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral Tablets contain folate, iron, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C & D all in a form that is suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike.
These will support your nutritional requirements to ensure your body has everything it needs.
There are even PAW Patrol Multivitamins in chewable form for the kids.
Flavoured with apple and blackcurrant, they are aimed at children aged 3-7 and are packed with 12 essential vitamins to support everyday health, growth and development.
Historically, many beauty products have been based on animal products, making it hard to live a truly vegan life. There are now an increasing number of brands moving towards vegan beauty products to help you know that everything you use is ethical.
The This Works Morning Expert Hyaluronic Serum is an example of expert quality vegan skincare.
It hydrates, plumps and moisturises the skin using slow-release vitamin C and 2% hyaluronic acid. It helps your skin to prepare for the day ahead, getting you looking brighter, firmer and smoother.
Products such as the Faith in Nature Aloe Vera with Ylang Ylang Soap are another way to make your bathroom more vegan.
It has 100% natural origin and harnesses the power of nature without harming it. It is Vegan Society approved and cruelty-free.
There are even vegan hair products available to give you a vegan glow from top to toe. The Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo is enriched with naturally derived ingredients to nourish and soften your hair.
The vegan way of life is something which everyone can adopt to some extent or another. Whether it is making a few small changes or a completely vegan existence, there are products that can benefit us, the planet and everyone else who inhabits it.
You can adapt your diet, your beauty regime and even your multivitamins to incorporate vegan ideals, and can rest in the knowledge that you are making ethical choices about so many areas of your life.