The Beginners Approach to Planning a Vegan Diet Plan

vegan-diet-plan

The increase in social media usage has given rise to the popularity of Veganism. And the last big-name I heard turning Vegan is Virat Kohli, yes, one of the big names in Indian cricket. In the last couple of years, Virat Kohli has impacted the field and the scoreboard. As one of the fittest players in cricket starts to follow something, the crowd takes notice of it and begins hopping onto the trend.

After watching “The Gamechangers” documentary on Netflix, many clients asked about my thoughts on the Vegan approach to food. They have grown up eating meat, eggs, and dairy products and wondered if switching to a plant-based diet is optimal for body composition changes. 

The “The Gamechangers” documentary twisted many facts and misrepresented them to make a strong case favoring the Vegan diet. However, this article is not to criticize the false information in the documentary. But my job as a nutrition coach is limited to present the facts of the case and educate you enough. So you learn to make your choices by yourself. And this is what is going to follow in this article. Let’s dive deep into this.

After reading this article, you will be able to understand the following:

  1. What is the concept of a Vegan lifestyle?
  2. What is the difference between a Vegetarian and a Vegan?
  3. What should be the considerations before going Vegan? 
  4. What is the food structure of a Vegan diet?
  5. Sample of a quantified nutrition plan for a Vegan client.

The concept of a Vegan lifestyle:

Lifestyle, by definition, means “how a person lives,” So being Vegan is not just limited to what you simply eat. It also includes what you wear, which products you use, your interactions with animals, or animal effects in day-to-day life. 

The Vegan Society defines Vegan as a philosophy and way of living. This seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. And by extension, it promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives to benefit animals, humans, and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals. 

The next part is to understand the similarities and differences between a Vegetarian v/s Vegan diet. My past interactions with clients give me a sense that some tend to think of Vegan as just another word for Vegetarian. And the reason is due to similarities in avoiding meat and eggs.

Differences between a Vegetarian v/s a Vegan diet plan

A vegetarian diet has more food options compared to a vegan diet plan. Let’s see the below table to understand these differences.  

Food GroupsVegetarian Diet PlanVegan Diet Plan
Fruits & VegetablesAllowedAllowed 
Nuts & SeedsAllowedAllowed
Grains and BeansAllowedAllowed 
PulsesAllowedAllowed
HoneyAllowedNot Allowed
Dairy ProductsAllowedNot Allowed
Eggs Not Allowed Not Allowed
Meat and SeafoodNot AllowedNot Allowed

Considerations before going on a Vegan diet

You may face deficiencies in some macro and micronutrients due to the absence of dairy, eggs, meat, and seafood. Kindly look into your needs depending on your health and fitness goal. See the table below to know about the specific nutrients and the role in the human body. 

MacronutrientsFunction
ProteinDevelopment of hormones, production of enzymes, tissue repair, and growth

Protein is an essential macronutrient when you think about reducing body fat or adding lean muscle tissue to your body frame. And in fact, protein does more than just helping you build muscle. The raw material is required to manufacture hormones, enzymes, provide structure, boost immune health, and transport other nutrients. It’s an essential food group that plays a significant role in the human body’s normal functioning other than lipids (fat). 

Whether you are a Vegan or deciding to turn into one, to achieve timely results towards your fat loss or muscle gain goals, you must plan how you’ll complete your protein targets each day before starting the plan. The protein requirement for a person following a vegan diet is about 2.3 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Micronutrients Function
IronMaintain hemoglobin levels
Vitamin AEye health and healthy immune function
Vitamin KBlood clotting and bone health
Vitamin B12Essential for healthy nerve cell development and breakdown of fats, protein, and carbs
Omega 3 FatsAnti-inflammatory properties aids in improving joint health, brain development
CalciumHelps in bone development and muscle contraction
Vitamin DAids in calcium absorption and supports the immune system
IodineAids in the production of T3 (active thyroid hormone), cognitive development
SeleniumAids immune system
ZincEssential for immune system function

I suggest getting a detailed blood test investigation before switching to a vegan diet. Discuss your lifestyle change with your healthcare practitioner and nutrition coach. Identify the deficiencies in the body concerning micro-nutrients and build a plan to support the same.

For the nutrients in severe deficit, solid foods alone may not fill in the numbers. So ask your healthcare practitioner and nutrition coach to devise a personalized nutraceutical supplements plan.

vegan-diet-plan
Source: www.health.harvard.edu

Structure of a Vegan diet

  1. Protein options 
    1. Soybean
    2. Tofu
    3. Pea protein powders
    4. Rice protein powders
  1. Fat options
    1. Avocado
    2. Nut butter
    3. Raw nuts
    4. Seeds 
    5. Olive oil
  1. Carb options
    1. Quinoa
    2. Beans
    3. Oatmeal
    4. Hummus
    5. Chickpeas
    6. Strawberries 
    7. Bananas
    8. Oranges
    9. Pineapples
  1. Fiber options 
    1. Spinach 
    2. Broccoli 
    3. Kale
    4. Lettuce 
    5. Tomato
    6. Cucumbers
    7. Carrots

Sample of a quantified nutrition plan for a Vegan client.

Your food consumption is an integral part of your daily living. Thus it is advisable to choose a diet like Vegan for the right reasons. You need to see if it suits your lifestyle in the long run. And my advice is to always strive for consistency and adherence in nutrition.

With Muscle Layman, you can get personalized nutrition and training programs that are right for you. Our Tribe Training and DIY Lifestyle consult offerings educate you throughout your journey, so you learn, have fun, and still get your desired results. 

We hope that you found the article helpful. Kindly give us your feedback and share this with at least one person you know to spread the good word.

References:

1. Definition of veganism [Internet]. The Vegan Society. 2021 [cited 3 April 2021]. Available from: https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism

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