If you are new to the vegan diet or are thinking of converting to a plant-based diet, you are doing something amazing for yourself and the planet.
However, it can be challenging to understand what you can and cannot eat—especially in the early days. Nuts are a staple in any diet, but are they suitable for vegans?
If you are looking to move towards a more plant-based lifestyle, it is important to know what’s on the menu.
Fortunately, nuts are a vital and welcomed component of vegan diets.
In this article, you will learn everything about how nuts play into the vegan diet.
Incorporating Nuts Into A Vegan Diet
If you are transitioning to a vegan or predominantly plant-based diet, you will be happy to know that you can continue eating nuts!
Indeed, nuts are an essential source of fibers, carbs, fats, and proteins, among many other nutrients.
Additionally, they offer minerals (such as selenium, potassium, zinc, and non-haem iron), vitamins (such as B2 and E), folate, and antioxidants.
However, there are ethical issues behind some nuts, specifically cashews, and almonds, leading many vegans to stop eating them altogether.
Indeed, systems such as managed pollination and unregulated labor markets can be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.
Vegans who are on a plant-based diet for their health might not even consider this issue!
Let’s dive into all you need to know about nuts and the vegan diet!
The Nutritional Importance of Nuts on a Vegan Diet
If you are approaching a vegan diet or plant-based lifestyle, do you know what you can and can’t eat? Vegans don’t include any animal or animal-derived products in their diet, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, honey, or gelatin.
Generally, a whole food plant-based diet is mainly composed of fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains.
For vegans who follow a balanced and healthy diet, consuming all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins needed for a healthy lifestyle is not difficult.
Indeed, a plant-based diet does provide everything we need to thrive—aside from vitamin B12, which comes from supplements.
However, vegans are more likely to fall victim to nutritional deficiencies when solely focusing on animal welfare.
Also, they might overlook the importance of consuming all the necessary nutrients.
Introducing nuts in a plant-based lifestyle is necessary to minimize nutritional deficiency risks.
Additionally, their rich nutrition makes them a valuable ally for any vegan. Some of their best characteristics include:
- With an average of over 600 calories for 100 grams (3.52 oz), nuts provide energy.
- They provide complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.
- They are an essential form of fiber.
- They are high in protein.
- They are a source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), alpha-linolenic acid, omega three fatty acids, and omega-7-fatty-acids.
Benefits of Eating Nuts on a Vegan Diet
There are unique benefits to introducing nuts into a vegan diet. Here are some of the best ones:
- Nuts reportedly help with weight loss because they provide a sense of satiety and are extremely healthy.
- Nuts might reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
- They help the body manage the processing of food after meals and reduce the associated blood glucose spikes.
- They are a source of plant-based protein, which many on a vegan diet are after.
- They are a source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are healthy and fight cholesterol production.
- Nuts are an essential ingredient in plant-based diets. When prepared the right way, they can create cheese-like and cream-like consistencies. Or when ground, they can be used as flours.
What Nuts Are Not Vegan?
Since all nuts belong to the kingdom of Plantae and not Animalia, they are all vegan.
The average vegan includes nuts in their diet—unless an allergy or dietary requirement prevents it.
However, some vegans who have embraced a plant-based lifestyle for environmental or animal welfare reasons might also be concerned with the farming and production of certain nuts.
Indeed, ingredients such as avocados and almonds are produced via managed pollination to meet the rising demand.
At the same time, it causes the exploitation of bees and adds stress to the colonies, ultimately contributing to issues such as colony collapse disorder (CCD).
This condition is one of the main threats to bee colonies across the globe.
Because of this underlying ethical issue, vegans committed to this lifestyle for ethical reasons have stopped eating almonds.
Can Vegans Eat Cashew Nuts?
Indeed, cashews are often produced in places where the labor market is unregulated, and while cashews are not toxic, they are wrapped in a shell that contains toxins.
When this shell is removed, the toxin enters the surrounding environment.
Over the last years, awareness has been raised about workers who are regularly exposed to these dangerous toxins.
That explains why some vegans prefer to abstain from these nuts.
When looking at what you can and can’t eat when following a vegan diet, you must remain informed to make the most ethical choices.
It is possible to find cashews and almonds ethically made without the exploitation of animals or humans.
Can Vegans Eat Peanut Butter?
Some brands will also include information about how the peanuts are produced and processed to make a more informed choice.
Alternatively, you can make peanut butter at home and have full control over the preparation process.
This option allows you to create the perfect blend of flavors and leave out anything that might not suit your dietary requirement, and as a side benefit, you can also avoid the use of plastic!
Vegan Eating Too Many Nuts
When introducing nuts to a vegan diet, it is crucial to understand that these are high-calorie foods.
Since they are packed with energy, fats, fibers, and protein, they can help you feel full and energized throughout the day.
However, nuts are not something to mindlessly snack on while watching a movie! With just one serving containing over 15 grams (0.52 oz) of fat and 160 calories, nuts can easily pack on weight without even realizing it!
With nuts, moderation is vital, and it is essential to understand the right portions.
These portions might vary depending on the kind of nuts in question.
However, generally, you can eat between 10 and 30 nuts and reduce your overall calorie intake.
In grams, you should always be looking to eat around 30 grams (1.05 oz) of nuts.
The Most Important Nuts on the Vegan Diet
When it comes down to keeping your vegan diet balanced and healthy, you need to focus on variety.
Indeed, foods are not more nutritious just because they are vegan—which is a common mistake for vegans to make at the beginning of their journey.
Instead, you should make sure that you eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit per day.
Ideally, you should have different vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds to benefit from each unique nutritional profile.
When it comes down to the best nuts to introduce to your diet, they all add value to your diet.
Check out the video below to learn what are the best nuts into your diet or learn more from the list below:
However, some of the best nuts to eat as part of a vegan diet include:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Nuts are a crucial staple food in vegan and plant-based diets.
They are rich in fibers, proteins, healthy fats, and carbs.
They also boast essential minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E and B2 and non-haem iron, zinc, and selenium.
Nuts have been useful for reaching weight loss goals and even reducing certain cancer and cardiovascular disease risks.
You can safely introduce them to your vegan diet if you don’t have any related dietary requirements.
However, some vegans don’t eat almonds and cashews because of ethical concerns regarding their production!