I am not here to tell you what to eat and how to eat, but when I was starting a vegan lifestyle, the most important thing for me to learn is what types of foods I should predominantly eat and stay away.
There were the obvious no diary, milk, cheese, chicken, seafood, and honey (don’t forget the honey) In my eyes, I see things black and white, if you eat anything that breaths, has a mother, has eyes and skin and poops, then you are NOT vegan; no exceptions.
But how should you divide you plate? I found this picture from http://www.chooseveg.com which was very simple
I am going to keep this short and sweet. I predominately eat a more starched based diet (my love for oats, rice and oatmeal is beyond this universe) as I find that very filling and it is easier living in a country like Canada where a fresh variety of produce are only available in warmer months. The most common grains are rice, oats, millet, potatoes, corn/ rice pastas and rice noodles.
For all those haters who say this is a low protein diet, they haven’t done their homework on legumes. All varieties of beans and legumes are packed with protein and are very filling. They may feel uncomfortable on the stomach at first but extra water can fix that problem right up.
A large portion of your plate should consist of vegetables, I tend to stick to dark leafy greens for iron and calcium but if you are easing into the lifestyle you could start with basic carrots, peas, lettuce and try out more darker veggies. Lemon juice can help with the taste and starting out with frozen vegetable mix can also be easier on the bank account.
Fruit is a very interesting category. If you are following more of a raw vegan diet, starchy fruits such as bananas or dried figs or dates are important and should be a prominent part of your breakfasts and snacks. I on the other hand don’t feel satiated and honestly can’t afford this diet here in Canada. For people like me, keeping fruit portions to 3 pieces a day and focusing on starches and vegetables is key.
Now fats; this is also a more controversial aspect to the vegan diet. many people who are high carb, low fat, low sodium, low whatever, tend to stay away from overt fats and nuts–nut butters, avocado, oils, high oil milks (cashew and coconut), seeds, and nuts. I personally feel my better keeping my fat level down. When I allow myself to buy a tub of peanut butter in my pantry my stomach does not do as well with a few tablespoons of nut butters a day. But this is not the case for many other people, body builders or people who are trying to gain weight, regain their period or regrow their hair will probably eat more fat.
In general, I don’t track my calories as much anymore as my apetite can more than enough get me over 2000 calories but my break down is around 75% carbs 15% protein and 10% fat. The protein could be higher on some days on lifting days with less fat or fat could be higher if I go out to eat with the family and I can’t control for oil. Obviously there is a lot more to this story than this blog post so below you can find some helpful links that could give a better explanation.
Hopefully these help. Obviously, this is a learning process and you must take into account allergies and what you can and cannot eat. With such variety when it comes to whole foods, you can always find substitutes for everything and do not need to resort to supplements to get additional nutrition