While the health benefits of a vegan diet can be significant and attractive, the commitment it requires can be overwhelming. As a result, the number of so-called “part-time vegans”—people attracted to the benefits of going vegan, but who also want a little more dietary freedom—is on the rise.
While vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry, vegans take it a step further, as not only do they not eat meat, but they also abstain from and any all food products derived from animal sources, including dairy, eggs, and honey. (They also typically avoid leather, fur, silk, and wool, as well as cosmetics and soaps derived from animal sources.)
Vegans can enjoy many significant health benefits, including:
- Increased weight loss
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Boosted immune system
- Reduced chance of developing Type 2 diabetes and a lower risk of heart disease and cancer
- Higher energy levels
- Better breath and less body odor
- Longer lifespan
No meat, no dairy, no pressure
For all of the health benefits of going vegan, a full vegan lifestyle can be very challenging to maintain. Most of us have been eating (and loving) butter and dairy products for our entire lives, and we can find the vegan-friendly substitutes lacking in terms of taste. Also, many of the products in grocery stores have hidden animal ingredients, and vegan convenience foods can cost two or three times that of their meat- and dairy-based equivalents. Vegan cooking also can be especially challenging, as can finding vegan-friendly menu items when dining out—especially while traveling.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this list of challenges is leading many to forego a full vegan diet for a partial one. They want to get healthier, but they also want the freedom to splurge occasionally and/or not feel guilty should they slip up.
Some go vegan for a short period of time, as a way to detox or perhaps to get in shape for an event. Others go vegan while eating meals at home, allowing themselves a little more freedom when they go out. One popular diet, The VB6 diet, calls for eating a vegan diet before 6 p.m. each day.
Start with these swaps
There is no magic formula for a part-time vegan diet. Regardless of when, why, or how aggressively you decide to go vegan, you can reap some definite health benefits. There are countless ways to switch up items in your current diet with vegan items. Here are some you might want to try:
- Drink herbal tea in the morning instead of coffee with milk.
- Replace yogurt with whipped tofu and fresh fruit.
- Swap out meat with beans, seitan, tempeh, chickpeas, or quinoa.
- Abandon prepackaged chips, cookies, and other other snacks in favor of fresh veggies or, try vegan cookies.
- Consider soy cheese when preparing dishes that call for cheese.
- Drop cow's milk for soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.
- Use tofu, unsweetened apple sauce, flax seeds, or mashed bananas as a substitute for eggs.
- Try butter alternatives like coconut butter or soy margarine.
You can find even more recipes and ideas over at the popular Meat Free Monday site.
If you're ready to get started, dietDirect is ready to help. We've just added a popular vegan, all-natural, gluten free pasta alternative shirataki noodles selection to our store. We've also got a huge assortment of vegan cookies, bars, shakes and powders to choose from. If you think part-time veganism may be effective for you, hop on over and check out the store!