What is a Vegan Diet

Last Updated:
June 22, 2023
What is a Vegan Diet

Vegan diets are becoming more popular than ever. Millions of people across the world are ditching meat and dairy to embrace vegan lifestyles. Since there are countless types of plant-based diets, you may be wondering just what is a vegan diet? At Vegan Grit, we are here to guide you through all things vegan. Keep reading as we break down the vegan diet, explain how it differs from other plant-based diets, and simple tips to help you transition into veganism.  

What is veganism? 

Veganism is a plant-based diet that avoids all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation. People decide to become vegan because of a combination of ethical, health, and environmental reasons. By choosing not to consume animal-based products, vegans minimalize the amount of suffering in the world.   

The word vegan was coined in 1944, but people were practicing veganism long before there was a term for it. Today there are over 1.6 million vegans across the world who prove that we do not need to consume animal products to live healthy lives.  


What are some vegan staples

Vegans eat way more than just salad and tofu. A vegan diet consists of: 

  • Fruits 
  • Grains 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
  • Legumes 
  • Vegtables 

Practically any food can become veganized. A spoon full of flax seeds in water can become an egg, a healthy dose of nutritional yeast on tofu makes stellar tofu scramble, and a bite of the Beyond Burger will have you hooked. With a vegan diet, you never need to compromise on flavor thanks to the rich variety of whole foods, mock meats, and plant-based alternatives.  

What foods do vegans avoid? 

Vegans do not eat anything that is derived from animals, including: 

  • Chicken 
  • Fish 
  • Shellfish 
  • Dairy 
  • Eggs 
  • Honey
  • Certain Alcohol & Wine
  • Anything with animal-derived substances such as casein, gelatin, and whey

What is the difference between vegans and vegetarians? 

Vegan and vegetarian diets have many similarities, which can lead people to confuse the two. Both diets avoid meat and fish, but vegetarians regularly consume dairy products like eggs, cheese, and milk, as well as honey. A vegan will never eat dairy products or honey.

Besides vegans and vegetarians, there are other popular plant-based diets:

Lacto-Vegetarian: Consumes dairy but not eggs.

Ovo-Vegetarian: Consumes eggs but not dairy.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: Consumes dairy and eggs.

Pescatarian: Consumes fish, dairy, and eggs.

Flexitarian: Mostly eats like a vegetarian but will occasionally eat meat.

Some vegans started their plant-based journey by adhering to one of the plant-based diets we covered. The gradual elimination process that these diets allow can make transitioning to veganism a smoother experience.

Beyond Food 

Veganism is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle. A vegan’s choices go beyond the kitchen and reflect in many of their life choices. Besides food, vegans will avoid products that were made with animals or tested on animals such as:

  • Clothing like wool, silk, and leather 
  • Makeup such as lipstick that is pigmented with fish scales 
  • Selfcare products that are not cruelty-free 
  • Household products like candles made with beeswax 

To make shopping easy for vegans, most vegan and cruelty-free products will be stamped with their ethical status. Vegans also avoid places that exploit animals for entertainment such as zoos and aquariums. Many vegans will also avoid activities that involve animals like horseback riding, catch-and-release fishing, and watching animal races.

How to Go Vegan 

Going vegan can seem like a daunting process, especially for someone who eats like an omnivore. The good news is that you can enter the vegan lifestyle at your own pace. While some people become vegan overnight, you can ease into the lifestyle. Try out the following to help you begin your vegan diet:

  • Vegan Meals: Make one of your daily meals vegan. Breakfast can be an effortless vegan swap with whole-grain cereals, plant-based milks, and dairy-free coffee creamers.  
  • Vegan Days: Have a dedicated vegan day of the week and begin to increase their frequency. 
  • Make a Swap: Ditch your dairy products for vegan alternatives like almond milk, cashew-based cheese, and coconut ice cream.  
  • Adopt a Different Plant-Based Diet: Try starting as a pescatarian or ovo-vegetarian for a few weeks or months as you immerse yourself in the plant-based lifestyle.  
  • Gradual Elimination: Pick non-vegan food to remove from your diet each week, such as red meat one week and chicken the next.
  • Complete Elimination: Say goodbye to all non-vegan products in your life at once. 

Living a vegan lifestyle is an incredibly rewarding experience. We believe that the things that matter most some times aren't the easiest to accomplish. No matter how long it takes you to get there, the countless health, ethical, and environmental benefits of veganism will have you feeling a sense of fulfillment like you never have before. And on top of all that, your body will thank you.

Check Out Some of Our Latest Vegan Resources Below

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