Vegan Eating Basics

vegan eating basics

Eating vegan nourishes your body, mind, and soul. But it’s more than a diet—it’s a rewarding lifestyle. It’s about choosing to be healthy and happy.

The vegan menu focuses on plant foods, and avoids all foods from animals. This means living with compassion toward animals and the environment. You can enjoy your food peacefully, knowing that no animals are harmed and that your impact on the planet’s resources is small.

Vegan (pronounced VEE-gan) foods are as nutritious as they are delicious. Plant foods are packed with nutrients and contain no cholesterol. The health benefits of eating a plant-based diet are now well documented. On a vegan diet, your risk for chronic diseases is lower. And your opportunity for vitality and wellness is improved.

Eating plant-based foods doesn’t have to feel restrictive. In fact, many people say eating vegan opens up a whole new world of delicious foods they’ve never tried.

If you need to lose weight, a plant-based diet is naturally lower in calories. Plant foods are satisfying because they are high in fiber and give you sustained energy.

A healthful vegan diet should be balanced and varied. Choose a wide variety of options from these vegan food groups:

Legumes

  • All varieties of beans and lentils
  • Tofu (for info, click here)
  • Tempeh (for info, click here)
  • Soy milk (look for calcium fortified; alternatives include almond milk, rice milk, and oat milk)
  • Soy yogurt
  • Textured vegetable protein (made from soybeans)
  • Meatless, vegan hot dogs and burgers

Click here for our complete guide to legumes

Whole Grains

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • 100% whole wheat products
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Wheat gluten/seitan (for info, click here)

Click here for our complete guide to whole grains

Whole Fruits and Vegetables

  • All are delicious and nutritious
  • Focus on colorful varieties and leafy green vegetables
  • Chose raw or steamed to preserve nutrients
  • Include more sea vegetables
  • Fresh juices and smoothies are a great way to include more fruit and vegetables in your diet

Nuts and Seeds

  • All varieties of nuts and seeds, preferably raw and not processed with added oils or salt
  • Nut butters (like peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)
  • If you are watching your weight, limit your consumption of nuts because they are very caloric

Water

  • It’s the most important nutrient of all! Make sure to include plenty of fresh water in your diet and do not get dehydrated. I advise clients to drink enough water so that your urine is mostly clear.

Supplements

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, walnuts). A good source for information on supplementing with omega-3 is from the Mayo Clinic)
  • Be sure to include a good source of vitamin B12, such as fortified soy milk, cereals, or vitamin supplements

For your health, please avoid:

  • Sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Fried foods
  • Sweets and candy
  • Sodas and bottled fruit juices
  • Limit salt consumption
  • Alcoholic drinks in moderation only

 

To see a glossary of vegan foods, click here.

 

© ModernVeganWellness.com

 

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