I used to ask myself this question when I learned of someone being vegan: What can a vegan possibly eat? They must be so limited on food choices. It must be hard to do (I would miss cheese and meat too much), boring, bland and unappealing! What if they wanted a treat? I used to ask myself all these questions about vegans. Now that I am vegan I find myself trying to answer these questions for my friends, family and people around me.
The truth is a diet based on plants probably has a wider variety than much of the U.S population’s standard american diet! The answer is simple- My choices are not limited, but rather more doors have opened for me to try new and exciting foods. I have spiced up my creativity with recipes; the flavors and colors are incredible. I do not miss cheese or meat in the least bit. And yes, I still can treat myself. I can have everything you can have, but with simple substitutions. These substitutions are so close to the non-plant based version, you probably can’t tell the difference. If you can tell the difference, you will still like it! A plant based diet doesn’t limit you, it frees you!
Substitutions for common non-plant based foods:
Cow’s Milk: Non-dairy milks like Soy, Almond, Hemp, Rice, Coconut or Hazelnut
Cow’s Milk Ice cream: Coconut Ice cream, Soy Ice cream, Almond Ice cream, Hemp Ice cream
Cheese: Daiya cheese, Nutritional Yeast (has a cheesy flavor), miso (has a blue cheese flavor), ground cashews (have the same texture as ground parm cheese)
Cream: Cashew cream, coconut milk in a can
Eggs: Tofu, (in baking-bananas, applesauce, pumpkin, ground flax seed)
Honey: Agave Syrup, Maple Syrup, Date syrup
Yogurt: Soy Yogurt,
Meat: Tempeh, Seitan, Texturized Vegetable Protein, Gardein (is a soy based meat sub that tastes just like meat), homemade veggies burgers
Broth: Veggie broth
Treats: Cookies, cupcakes, brownies and much more- can be made without eggs or dairy products and taste exactly the same.
When I say that being vegan frees you, I mean it. You have the opportunity to explore new fruits and vegetables and give your body what it needs to fuel your cells. Want a boost of energy that will last with you the whole day, for the rest of your life? Switch to a plant based diet.
Veggies to explore:
- Parsley, Spinach, Mustard greens, Beet greens, Swiss chard, Radish tops, Sprouts, Arugula,, Endive, Ecarole, Kale (all types), Red or green lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Spring greens, Turnip greens, Mint, Basil , Watercress, Wheatgrass, Chicory, Cilantro, Radicchio,
- Bok Choy, Fennel, Dill, Carrot, Broccoli, Edible flowers, Celery, Bell peppers, Chinese pea pods, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Broccolini, Mushrooms, Summer squash, Zucchini squash
Fruits to explore:
- Apple, Apricots, Cherries, Fig, Grape, Guava, Pear, Peach, Persimmon, Pomegranate , Plum, Kiwi,
- Papaya, Mango, Berries, Pineapple, Banana, Melons, Star Fruit, Apricot, Currants, Nectarine
Whole grains to explore (other than wheat all the time)
- Quinoa, Buckwheat, Semolina, Millet, Amaranth,
- Barley, Bulgur, Oats, Rice, Rye, Spelt, Teff
This list could go on forever, and the combinations with all these fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are really endless. Here is what a typical day might look like for me. But it really does vary, because I create and try so many new recipes!!
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh berries, kiwi, pineapple, walnuts, ground flax seed with a cup of almond milk
Snack: handful of almonds, with dried fruit (no sugar added)
Lunch: Green smoothie-(with kale, spinach, pears, almond milk), peanut butter and jelly sandwich or hummus/lettuce sandwich or avocado, tomato, lettuce sandwich, Side salad with mixed greens, veggies-tossed with a no-oil dressing
Snack: Quinoa salad- (with quinoa, corn, black beans, mint, mango, avocado), some sort of fruit on the side
Dinner: Lentil soup- (loaded with lentils, beans and spices), side of veggies
Snack: Chocolate almond milk, or maybe a little cookie treat! (back to nature- chocolate chip cookies are bomb!), I love Lara bars too!
Be more open minded about plant based/vegan diets. A plant based diet isn’t a fad diet; it is one that can be implemented for LIFE! It is the best thing I have ever done for myself, and I have not regretted it for one second since I became vegan! It has changed my life for the better is so many ways! Want to know more? Email me!