If you invite a dinner guest who’s a vegan, you’ll want to check your menu carefully to make sure it follows two basic rules. Foods from plants are OK, but foods from animals are off limits, including common ingredients like eggs, cheese, milk, and honey.
About 3% of Americans follow a vegan diet. Their reasons for eating this way vary. Some vegans do it to improve their health. A plant-based diet could lower the risk for certain diseases. Others stay away from meat because they don’t want to harm animals or because they want to protect the environment.
If you’ve thought about trying a vegan food diet, you might wonder if this way of eating is right for you. Although you can get some real benefits from going meatless, there are a few challenges, too.
What You Can Eat
On a vegan diet, you can eat foods made from plants, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Breads, rice, and pasta
- Dairy alternatives such as soymilk, coconut milk, and almond milk
- Vegetable oils
What You Can’t Eat
Vegans can’t eat any foods made from animals, including:
- Beef, pork, lamb, and other red meat
- Chicken, duck, and other poultry
- Fish or shellfish such as crabs, clams, and mussels
- Cheese, butter
- Milk, cream, ice cream, and other dairy products
- Mayonnaise (because it includes egg yolks)