What Can Vegans Eat and Not Eat? 

My Partner Paul and I have been Vegan for about 8 years.  We have made all the mistakes including filling up on sugary foods to replace meat and milk cravings.  That was years ago.  We also became very much seduced by the growing number and variety of preprocessed vegan meat substitutes.  Beyond being pricey, they were not helping us get away from the "Meat' addiction.  We have finally settled very comfortably into having one cooked vegan meal a day which may include some meat substitute.  Our other meals and snacks are comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables including smoothies nuts and seeds.  Whether out of concern for the environment, animal welfare, or their own health, a growing number of people are choosing to eat plant-based diets. 

Foregoing any foods with animal products, vegans and vegetarians load up on greens, fruits, nuts, and grains. Keeping to a plant-based diet, however, can be more difficult in practice than in theory. It’s one thing to snack on a plate of vegetables; it’s quite another to create meals day in and day out that adhere to the standards that make up a plant-based diet. Veganism is defined as a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, whether for food, clothing, or any other purpose.

That’s why a vegan diet avoids all animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy.

People choose to follow a vegan diet for various reasons. These usually range from ethics to environmental concerns, but they can also stem from a desire to improve health.

Different types of vegan diets

There are different varieties of the vegan diet. The most common include:

  • Whole food vegan diet. This diet is based on a wide variety of whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Raw food vegan diet. This diet is based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or plant foods cooked at temperatures below 118°F (48°C) (1Trusted Source).
  • 80/10/10 diet. The 80/10/10 diet is a raw food vegan diet that limits fat-rich plants such as nuts and avocados and relies mainly on raw fruits and soft greens instead. It is also referred to as the low fat, raw food vegan diet or fruitarian diet.
  • Starch solution. This is a low fat, high carb vegan diet similar to the 80/10/10 diet, but it focuses on cooked starches like potatoes, rice, and corn instead of fruit.
  • Raw till 4. This low fat vegan diet is inspired by the 80/10/10 diet and starch solution. Raw foods are consumed until 4 p.m., with the option of a cooked plant-based meal for dinner.
  • Thrive diet. The thrive diet is a raw food vegan diet. Followers eat plant-based, whole foods that are raw or minimally cooked at low temperatures.
  • Junk food vegan diet. This is a vegan diet lacking in whole plant foods that relies heavily on mock meats and cheeses, fries, vegan desserts, and other heavily processed vegan foods.

Although several variations of the vegan diet exist, most scientific research rarely differentiates between different types of vegan diets. As a result, the information in this article relates to vegan diets as a whole.

What CAN vegans eat?
Anything that comes from plants and NOT from an animal: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, beverages, vegan junk food like frozen pizza, ice cream, vegan cheese…etc.

What CAN’T vegans eat?
Anything that derives from an animal: meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey and other ingredients.
1. Meat
Any type of meat of any animal.

·Red meat (beef, lamb, goat, bison, etc)

·Poultry (chicken and turkey)

·Pork (pig)


·Other animals

Eat this instead: tofu, seitan, lentil meatloaf, coconut bacon.
2. Seafood
Fish and sea creatures are animals too of course, and their meat counts the same as land animals, but given that there are pescatarians, this category is included separately to avoid misunderstandings.

·fish: salmon, tuna…etc.

·shrimp, octopus, clam…etc.

Eat this instead: carrot salmon, artichoke crabcakes, algae soup.
3. Dairy
Dairy products are made from the breast milk of certain mammals, therefore can’t be consumed.



·Sour cream…etc.

·Whipped cream


Eat this instead: nutmilk, cashew cheese, nutritional yeast, coconut whipped cream, olive oil.
4. Eggs
Eggs of any animal (even if free-range), can’t be consumed in any form.
Eat this instead: flax egg, scrambled tofu, chickpea flour scrambled eggs.
5. Honey
Honey is basically bee vomit (yuck, right?), so it’s understandable, that vegans don’t eat it.
Eat this instead: maple syrup, agave syrup, date syrup
6. Any other animal-derived ingredients
Unfortunately, the food industry uses a huge amount of animal derived ingredients, that can be found in numerous products (some of them are shockingly unnecessary). A good rule of thumb is to ALWAYS check the “Ingredients” list before you purchase something.
The best is if you buy something that has the official vegan logo on it.

·certain artificial ingredients

·milk powder

·red food dye


·certain alcoholic drink brands…etc.

Eat this instead: products with vegan logos, plant-based food colorings, vegan alcoholic beverage brands.


Vegan vs. Plant-based

It’s important to point out that there is a difference between the vegan and the plant-based diet. While both of them exclude animal-derived ingredients, the plant-based diet is stricter in terms of what you can eat.

The plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds. A diet consisting of PLANTS. No processed food! No white flour, white sugar, frozen pizza, ice cream, soft drinks, alcohol, etc. What you can eat is what you can find in nature. Although, cooking and baking is fine.




It can seem complicated and overwhelming.  It was for me.  I was used to buying something on the fly for dinner as I trudged home from a long day at work.  Ugh!  More often than not, I landed on Pizza.  After my awakening, my ex-husband just could not or would not follow so we parted ways.  I became a vegan, I retired early, I studied Alternative Medicine, and met and never married my best Love, Paul.  My medical training (32 yrs in Family Medicine) and my Alternative Medical training taught me that what we eat is either medicine that heals us or poison that harms us.  It puts a magnifying glass on the foods we choose to eat. 

My Latest Favorite Recipe

Creamy Mediterranean Pasta





·1 Tbsp. olive oil

·2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)

·1 cup chopped red onion

·1 package Knorr® Italian Sides™ - Creamy Garlic Shells

·1 can (19 oz.) reduced sodium chick peas, rinsed and drained

·4 cups packed baby spinach leaves (about 4 oz.)

·1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (Violife Vegan Feta), divided

·2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, divided


·      ·         Cook


·1HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook tomatoes and onion until tender, about 4 minutes.

·2PREPARE Knorr® Italian Sides™ - Creamy Garlic Shells in same skillet according to package directions, stirring in chick peas and spinach during the last 2 minutes of cook time.

·3STIR in 1/4 cup cheese (shredded vegan cheese) and 1/2 of the oregano. Serve topped with remaining cheese and oregano and, if desired, lemon wedges.