Vegan Food Pyramid

A healthy and nutritional vegan diet consists of plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. A vegan diet normally contains less cholesterol and fat and is high in fiber. A vegan food pyramid would be helpful to plan out your vegan diet plan. Researchers and scientists of State University of Arizona formulated the vegan food pyramid. This food pyramid gives an insight into the quantity and types of food you need to have everyday to maintain the nutrient levels in the body.

* Whole Grains

Whole grains include foods such as bread, cereals, wheat germ, pasta and so on. Some of the examples of whole grains include, brown rice, oats, millet and barley. You could have small servings of whole grain food 6 to 11 times a day. Whole grain forms the lower base of a vegan food pyramid.

* Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and folate. Many vegetables are rich in calcium also. You should include fresh and raw vegetables in your daily diet. Consume vegetables in form of salads or vegetable juice. In a day you could have 3 or more servings. This is the next level above the whole grain in a vegan food pyramid.

* Fruits

Fruits occupy the level just above the vegetables in a vegan food pyramid. You could eat an assortment of fruits rich in vitamin C. Fruits such as kiwi, strawberries, papaya, mangoes and citrus fruits would be a good choice. You could have one or two helpings of fruits in a day.

* Legumes

Legumes such as beans, peas and so on form the next level of a vegan food pyramid. Along with fruits and vegetables the body requires vitamin E and other essential minerals. Hence, it is necessary to include few nuts and legumes in your daily diet. You could have a meal consisting of tofu, soymilk, and cooked legumes.

* Dairy products

The level above legumes in a vegan food pyramid is dairy product. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt thrice a day would make a good and healthy nutrient.

* Fatty acids and other vitamins

Omega-3 fatty acids are a best source of fatty acids. Use canola or flax oil used to stir frying your vegetables. Couple of walnuts a day would help in balancing the fatty acids of the body. You could use flax oil as a salad dressing. You should take food rich in vitamin B12 and vitamin D to complete your vegan diet.

A vegan is classified on the basis of food consumed. A vegan consumes only plant-based food and avoids dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter and cheese. A lacto-vegan avoids meat, chicken and fish. He consumes milk and milk products. A lacto-ovo vegan consumes eggs and milk products but avoids meat and poultry products. A flexitarian basically consumes plant-based diet. However, they occasionally consume small amounts of meat and poultry products.

Irrespective of one’s age, a well-planned vegan diet helps in meeting the nutritional needs of the body. A vegan food pyramid briefs on the various food choices that forms the foundations of a healthy vegetarian diet.