A vegan diet is a strict vegetarian diet in a way that any animal-derived food is excluded in the menu plan. It includes only plant-derived foods, such as fruits, grains, vegetables, legumes, tubers, seeds, plant oils, herbs, and juices. It excludes all kinds of animal meat, flesh, and foods of animal origin (e.g. eggs, dairy, honey, and milk). An individual who follows this type of diet is called a vegan. The word vegan is first used in 1944 by Donald Watson of the Vegan Society in England.1
Because of the nature of a vegan diet, the menu plan is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron. It is low in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. Important nutrients that can be derived from animal consumption are obtained by plant-derived food alternatives. For example, proteins from animal meat can be replaced with another protein-rich food, such as soy milk and tofu. Other important nutrients, such as Vit B-12 and calcium, are made available in fortified soy products. Another option is to take supplements in order to meet the recommended daily dietary intake level of nutrients lacking or deficient in a vegan diet.
1 Donald Watson, Vegan News , No. 1, November 1944; "Interview with Donald Watson" , Vegetarians in Paradise, 11 August 2004; Leslie Cross, "Veganism Defined" , The Vegetarian World Forum, 5(1), Spring 1951.