What a Vegan Eats

Just a few of the things I eat!

“What do you eat?” is one of the most common questions I’m asked besides “Why?” I think it is simpler to say what I don’t eat, since that list is much, much shorter!

I Don’t Eat:

  • Meat (poultry, beef, pork) or products made from meat (bacon, hot dogs, lard etc.)
  • Fish or seafood
  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, sour cream, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise (contains eggs and milk protein)
  • Margarine (contain milk protein)
  • Gelatin (made from animal hooves and bones)
  • Honey (made by bees for bees)
  • Non-dairy creamers (contain the milk protein casein)
  • Additives in processed foods (a few here, have a bigger list in Hidden Animal Products in Food):
    • Casein (in many “vegetarian” cheeses, a binder made from milk protein)
    • Whey
    • Lactose
    • Glycerin
  • Oils (I sauté everything in water or vegetable stock rather than oil)

 I Eat Sparingly:

  • Nuts
  • Tahini
  • Avocados
  • Processed foods, including soy-isolates and seitan

Why do I eat these things sparingly? These foods provide a lot of oil, and while they are monounsaturated fats and better than saturated fats found in animal-based products, palm oil, and coconut oil, I am trying to limit the total quantity of oils I consume. While Dr. Esselstyn recommended eliminating these products entirely, I do believe there is a bit of benefit in eating some nuts and avocado, and I like them. As I do not have heart disease, think my body can handle these products. Processed foods, well, they are processed elsewhere and contain extra ingredients to preserve them, so not really good food, stripped of nutrients, full of added fat, sugar, and salt, and highly refined.

I try to eat whole foods as much as possible, so whole grains rather than refined flours, whole food sugars (dates, coconut or date sugar, maple syrup)  or stevia rather than granulated white sugar, etc.

So what does that leave? Every vegetable, fruit, bean, and whole grain goodness under the sun! Too many to list, as opposed the easy to list “what I don’t eat!”

How Do You Get Your Protein?

Options for vegan protein. Clockwise from top left: Tempeh and tofu, peas, fruits and vegetables, beans.

Another top question! Did you know, that the typical Western diet provides twice the amount of protein their body needs, mostly from animal sources full of saturated fat? The recommended daily allowance for protein is calculated by the following formula:

Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended protein intake

So a 140-pound female would only need 50 grams of protein a day, perhaps adding a margin more if in heavy athletic training. And consider this, when did you grow the most in your lifetime? You doubled your size in the first three months of your life. What did you eat? More likely than not, breast milk, which contains just 0.9% protein or 1.1 g/100 ml. You grew at the fastest rate on the perfect food for you at the time, low-protein breast milk. I tend to keep that in mind, that while protein is a building block, it is one of many.

Here is a sample of protein levels in some vegan foods:

Food (amount)
Grams of Protein
Black Beans, boiled (1 cup)
Broccoli (1 cup)
Bulgur, cooked (1 cup)
Chickpeas, boiled (1 cup)
Lentils, boiled (1 cup)
Peanut butter (2 tbsp)
Quinoa, cooked (1 cup)
Seitan (4 oz)
Spinach, boiled (1 cup)
Tempeh (1/2 cup)
Tofu, firm (1.2 cup)

So by eating a variety of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, it is easy to get adequate low-fat protein in our diets! I have must more detailed information about protein in the post,  Vegan Protein.

A New Way of Cooking

The hardest thing for people switching to vegan is learning how to cook again. It’s easy, and actually a lot of fun, once you get tips and tricks and the hang of it. Get a few new cookbooks, search the Internet…oh, wow, there are millions of vegan cooking blogs out there with food that looks so good you want to lick the screen!

What the Hell does a Vegan Eat Anyway? http://veganmenu.blogspot.com/
Whole Foods Market Whole Foods Market Vegan Recipes
Everyday Dish http://www.everydaydish.tv/

Just to name a few…type in your own search for Vegan Recipes and you will be amazed!

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