The

30 Day Challenge

Veganuary 

A 30 day Vegan Challenge 

 

Our 7-Day Kickstart Plan is unique in that it focuses on the highest quality whole foods (including the 7 foods worth eating every day), to make sure you get everything you need on a plant-based diet.

 

The Kickstart Plan includes:

A 7-day meal plan, built around the foods worth eating every single day

14 of our favorite recipes that pack in the nutrition, taste great, and are easy to make

Focused on simplicity and speed, to minimize stress and time commitment

It's the best way we know of to get started with a whole-food, plant-based diet. 

 

Shopping list

 

Meal plan

 

. How this works.

Vegan diets have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including improved weight management and protection against certain chronic diseases.

 

However, finding balanced, healthy meals on a vegan diet can often be difficult and overwhelming.

 

If improperly planned, vegan diets may cause nutritional deficiencies and health problems.

 

Our program provides a healthy vegan meal plan and sample menu to get you started.


 

What is a vegan diet?

The vegan diet is an eating plan that eliminates all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey.

 

People decide to adopt veganism for different reasons, such as ethical concerns or religious principles.

 

Others may decide to become vegan to decrease their ecological footprint, as plant-based diets are thought to generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use fewer natural resources.

 

Still, the environmental impact of any diet depends on multiple factors, including the way that foods are produced, packaged, and transported (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

 

Some also decide to follow a vegan diet for health reasons, as veganism is associated with a multitude of benefits and may even help prevent certain chronic diseases (3Trusted Source).

 

In particular, vegan diets have been shown to improve heart health, increase weight loss, and support blood sugar control (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

 

SUMMARY

Vegan diets eliminate all animal products, including meat and dairy. People may adopt veganism for ethical, religious, environmental, or health reasons.

Health benefits of veganism

Research demonstrates that a well-rounded vegan diet may improve several aspects of your health.

 

According to one review, vegans have a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than omnivores, or those who eat both meat and plants (7Trusted Source).

 

They also tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. High levels for these markers are all risk factors for heart disease (7Trusted Source).

 

Vegan diets may also aid in weight management.

 

One study in 18 women found that following a vegan diet for 6 months resulted in decreased calorie and fat intake, as well as faster short-term weight loss, compared to a low-calorie, omnivorous diet (8Trusted Source).

 

Some research also suggests that veganism may be beneficial for blood sugar control and could help reduce your risk of diabetes (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

 

In fact, one study in nearly 61,000 people showed that vegans were 2.6 times less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than omnivores (11Trusted Source).

 

A vegan diet may also reduce osteoarthritis symptoms — including joint pain and swelling — and your risk of certain cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

 

SUMMARY

Vegan diets are associated with many benefits, including improved heart health, faster short-term weight loss, enhanced blood sugar control, less joint pain, and a decreased risk of cancer.

 

Vegan shopping list

A healthy vegan diet should contain a variety of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables.

 

Foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, and nutritional yeast can all help boost your protein intake throughout the day.

 

Meanwhile, avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are nutritious, vegan-friendly choices for healthy fats.

 

Here is a sample vegan shopping list to help get you started.

 

Fresh produce

Vegetables: asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, kale, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.

Fruits: apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries, etc.

Frozen produce

Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans, peas, vegetable medley, etc.

Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

Whole grains

barley

brown rice

buckwheat

bulgur

farro

oats

quinoa

sorghum

teff

Breads and pastas

brown rice pasta

Whole-wheat pasta

sprouted bread, such as Ezekiel bread

brown rice wraps

Protein sources

Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc.

Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, etc.

Soy products: tempeh, tofu, etc.

Protein powders: pea protein powder, brown rice protein, hemp protein, etc.

Dairy alternatives

Milk substitutes: almond, cashew, coconut, flax, oat, rice, and soy milks, etc.

Yogurt substitutes: almond, cashew, coconut, flax, and soy yogurts, etc.

Vegan cheese: vegan parmesan cheese, shredded and sliced varieties, etc.

Egg alternatives

aquafaba

arrowroot powder

chia seeds

cornstarch

flax meal

prepackaged vegan egg substitute

silken tofu

Healthy fats

avocados

avocado oil

coconut oil

flax oil

olive oil

unsweetened coconut

tahini

Snack foods

edamame

dark chocolate

dried fruit

fruit leather

hummus

nut butter

pita chips

popcorn

roasted chickpeas

seaweed crisps

trail mix

Sweeteners

coconut sugar

dates

maple syrup

molasses

monk fruit

stevia

Spices and condiments

cayenne pepper

chili powder

cinnamon

cumin

garlic powder

ground ginger

nutritional yeast

paprika

pepper

rosemary

thyme

turmeric

Note that many processed vegan products found at the store — such as vegan meat substitutes — are often loaded with sodium, fillers, additives, and other ingredients that may harm your health.

 

Try to stick to mostly whole, unprocessed foods — and steer clear of mock meats and other highly processed vegan ingredients and premade meals.

 

SUMMARY

A balanced vegan diet should include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.

Sample meal plan

Here is a sample one-week meal plan that features a few of the nutritious foods that can be enjoyed on a vegan diet.

 

Monday

Breakfast: tempeh bacon with sautéed mushrooms, avocado, and wilted arugula

Lunch: whole-grain pasta with lentil “meatballs” and a side salad

Dinner: cauliflower and chickpea tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo

Snacks: air-popped popcorn, kale chips, and trail mix

Tuesday

Breakfast: coconut yogurt with berries, walnuts, and chia seeds

Lunch: baked tofu with sautéed red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and herbed couscous

Dinner: mushroom lentil loaf with garlic cauliflower and Italian green beans

Snacks: bell peppers with guacamole, fruit leather, and seaweed crisps

Wednesday

Breakfast: sweet potato toast topped with peanut butter and banana

Lunch: tempeh taco salad with quinoa, avocados, tomatoes, onions, beans, and cilantro

Dinner: oat risotto with Swiss chard, mushrooms, and butternut squash

Snacks: mixed berries, vegan protein shake, and walnuts

Thursday

Breakfast: eggless quiche with silken tofu, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach

Lunch: chickpea and spinach curry with brown rice

Dinner: Mediterranean lentil salad with cucumbers, olives, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, and parsley

Snacks: roasted edamame, sliced pear, and energy balls made from oats, chia seeds, nut butter, and dried fruit

Friday

Breakfast: overnight oats with apple slices, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and nut butter

Lunch: black bean veggie burger with steamed broccoli and sweet potato wedges

Dinner: mac and “cheese” with nutritional yeast and collard greens

Snacks: pistachios, homemade granola, and coconut chia pudding

Saturday

Breakfast: breakfast skillet with tempeh, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and zucchini

Lunch: garlic-ginger tofu with stir-fried veggies and quinoa

Dinner: bean salad with black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, and onions

Snacks: roasted pumpkin seeds, frozen grapes, and celery with almond butter

Sunday

Breakfast: whole-grain toast with avocado and nutritional yeast alongside a vegan protein shake

Lunch: lentil chili with grilled asparagus and baked potato

Dinner: vegetable paella with brown rice, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, artichoke, and chickpeas

Snacks: almonds, fruit salad, and carrots with hummus

SUMMARY

The sample meal plan listed above highlights many of the healthy ingredients and dishes that can be enjoyed on a well-rounded vegan diet.

 

Potential downsides and precautions

Although a well-rounded vegan diet can be healthy and nutritious, a vegan diet that is not properly planned can harm your health.

 

Here are a few factors that you may want to consider when starting a vegan diet.

 

Nutritional deficiencies

Vegan diets may be associated with an increased risk of several nutritional deficiencies.

 

This is because meat, fish, and poultry are rich in several important nutrients that are mostly lacking in plant-based foods, including protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids (14Trusted Source).

 

Animal products like eggs and dairy are also high in protein and micronutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, iron, and magnesium (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

 

Completely cutting these foods out of your diet can increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies.

 

In particular, vegans may be at a higher risk of deficiency for vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, iron, and protein (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

 

This can lead to an increased risk of issues like anemia, weakened bones, and impaired immunity (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22).

 

Low levels of vitamin B12 can be especially concerning during pregnancy, as a deficiency could potentially increase the risk of neural tube defects and impair your baby’s brain and nervous system (23Trusted Source).

 

Including a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients and fortified foods in your diet is necessary to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.

 

Vitamin B12 and vitamin D can be found in fortified foods, such as plant-based milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast.

 

Meanwhile, protein, zinc, and iron are found in legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds.

 

Including moderate amounts of iodized salt in your diet can also help you meet your needs for iodine.

 

Supplements

It can be challenging to meet your nutritional needs while following a vegan diet.

 

Certain nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iodine, are found primarily in animal products and certain fortified foods.

 

Plus, while non-heme iron occurs in a variety of plant foods, it may not be as well absorbed as the heme iron found in animal products (24Trusted Source).

 

Taking a multivitamin or other supplements can help fill in any nutritional gaps and provide key micronutrients that you may be missing.

 

For best results, look for a multivitamin that contains vitamin B12, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and calcium.

 

Keep in mind that it’s typically recommended to supplement with higher amounts of vitamin B12 than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), as your body is only able to absorb a small amount at a time (25Trusted Source).

 

Try to aim for 2,000–2,500 mcg of vitamin B12 per week. This can be divided into several smaller doses and may require a separate supplement in addition to your multivitamin (25Trusted Source).

 

You may also want to consider taking algal oil, a plant-based form of omega-3 fatty acid. Your body needs this kind of fat for optimal heart health, brain function, and disease prevention (26Trusted Source).

 

Supplements like vegan B12 and algal oil can be commonly found online.

 

SUMMARY

When not properly planned, vegan diets can increase your risk of several nutritional deficiencies. Following a balanced diet and taking certain supplements can help ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.

The bottom line

Well-rounded vegan diets are healthy, nutritious, and associated with a number of health benefits, including improved heart health, blood sugar, and body mass.

 

Following a vegan meal plan can help you incorporate many nutrient-rich, whole foods into your diet to provide your body with the nutrients it needs.

 

Keep in mind that supplements and proper planning are essential to avoid deficiencies in several critical nutrients.

 

If you’re interested in veganism, check out this foods list and meal plan to get creative ideas for your next vegan dish.

 

HEALTHLINE CHALLENGES

Looking to cut back on sugar? We’ll give you some sweet tips

Our Nutrition newsletter’s 10 day sugar challenge guides you in bringing more awareness to the sugars in the foods you eat and gives you the tools you need to make healthier choices. Let’s get started!

 

Enter your email

Your privacy is important to us

 

READ THIS NEXT

The Vegan Diet — A Complete Guide for Beginners

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

A vegan diet can help you lose weight and drastically improve your health, if done right. Here is a detailed beginner's guide to going vegan.

 

READ MORE

6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Eating Vegan

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

A vegan diet has some impressive effects on your health. Here are 6 science-based health benefits you may experience by eating vegan.

 

READ MORE

11 Foods Healthy Vegans Eat

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

It is very important to eat nutritious foods on a vegan diet. Here are 11 foods and food groups that healthy vegans eat and love.

 

READ MORE

Vegan vs Vegetarian - What's The Difference?

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Vegan and vegetarian diets are both popular, but they differ in important ways. This article explains the differences between them.

 

READ MORE

What Is Veganism, and What Do Vegans Eat?

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Vegan diets have received an increasing amount of attention in recent years. This article looks at what vegans eat and why people choose to eat this…

 

READ MORE

A Guide to Vegan Cheese: What’s the Best Dairy-Free Option?

Written by Ansley Hill, RD, LD

Vegan cheeses are made from various plant-based ingredients and come in many styles and flavors. This article explores some of the best dairy-free…

 

READ MORE

Vegan Keto Diet Guide: Benefits, Foods and Sample Menu

Written by Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Vegan diets exclude all animal products, making it more difficult to eat low-carb. This article explains what to eat and avoid on a vegan keto diet…

 

READ MORE

12 Mistakes to Avoid on a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD

Just because you’re not eating meat doesn’t mean you’re eating right. For a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, make sure you avoid these 12 pitfalls.

 

READ MORE

Vegan Meat Substitutes: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Melissa Groves

Whether you're following a vegan lifestyle or want variety in your diet, there are many reasons for considering meat alternatives. Here’s the ultimate…

 

READ MORE

7 Supplements You Need on a Vegan Diet

Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

While vegan diets can offer health benefits, they may be low in certain nutrients. Here are 7 supplements that you may need on a vegan diet.

 

READ MORE

Get our wellness newsletter

Fitness and nutrition tips, health news, and more.

 

Enter your email

Your privacy is important to us

 

1-508-560-1562

10 Martha's rd. Edgartown MA United States 02539




©2018 by Martha's Vineyard Vegan Society Inc.. Proudly created with Wix.com