What Is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet includes only foods that come from plant sources, such as legumes, grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Vegans do not typically consume foods or ingredients from animal sources (think dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, honey and gelatin). Luckily for vegans (and non-vegans alike!) there are many delicious and nutritious plant-based options to choose from. You may already be enjoying vegan meals without knowing it, such as falafel, chana masala and bean burritos!
Why Become a Vegan?
People may choose a vegan diet for several reasons. For some, it is an empowering experience and a way to express support for more sustainable food systems. Others may choose the diet due to ethical considerations regarding the treatment of animals. The vegan diet also has many potential health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It can also be really fun to try new plant-based versions of your favourite meals (coconut curry anyone?).
Things to Be Aware Of
Vegan diets tend to be higher in fibre and heart-healthy fats compared to non-vegan diets. However, it is possible to develop nutrient deficiencies without careful planning, which can have negative consequences on your overall wellbeing and long-term health.
Remember that if you cut animal foods out of your diet, you will need to replace them with something! With planning, a vegan diet can provide all the nutrients your body needs. Sometimes vegans decide to take supplements; be sure to talk to a healthcare professional first to make sure it’s right for you. For more information on planning a vegan diet, check out our post HERE.
Don’t forget that change may take time to get used to, and it can be easier to gradually transition to a vegan diet rather than jumping in all at once. As well, you may want to add vegan meals and plant-based foods into your diet even if you decide not to go vegan. Whatever you decide, remember that variety is key when it comes to a healthy diet.
How is a vegan diet different from a vegetarian diet?
A vegan diet includes only plant-based foods, while a vegetarian diet may include some animal products while avoiding others. For example, a vegetarian may eat dairy products or eggs, but not meat, fish or poultry. For more information on vegetarian diets, check out our blog series HERE.
Will I get enough protein in my vegan diet?
Yes! Some examples of vegan protein sources include tofu, tempeh, seitan and legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils. For more information on how much protein to include in a vegan diet, see our post HERE.
Will I be at risk of other nutrient deficiencies?
Some nutrients are found in higher amounts in foods like meat, eggs and dairy, and in lower amounts (or not at all) in plant-based foods. Following a vegan diet requires planning to avoid deficiencies in particular nutrients. For help planning a vegan diet, check out our post HERE.
Where can I find vegan food at UBC?
Several campus food outlets have vegan options, and if you aren’t sure, all you have to do is ask! Explore the vegan options at any of the three residence dining halls online (not just for first years!) or try some delicious vegan pizza at Virtuous Pie in Wesbrook Village, a warm rice bowl from Porch, or vegan favourites like falafel, fried cauliflower and hummus at Jamjar.
Need some hacks for vegan dining in residence? Check here.
Need More Info?
- Four Steps to a Balanced Vegan Diet
- Recipes from Minimalist Baker, Cookie + Kate and Budget Bytes
- Tips for Eating More Plants