Eat a variety
of whole plant foods. They are the base of good vegan nutrition
are five categories of food in
our vegan nutrition plan. Try to eat some of each group every day. The
groups are: greens, vegetables, legumes, whole grains,
and fruit. You don't have to eat from all five at every
meal. There are a
few vegans that don't eat any grains at all, but we suggest
you include them in your diet.
Dark leafy greens
belong in the vegetable group. But they are so important for vegan
nutrition that we give them their own category. Leaves are the
nutritional powerhouse of plants. Photosynthesis happens in the leaves.
Plants use CO2, water, and sunlight to create greens that are bursting
with nutrients. What is so great about greens?
- They nourish our bodies and turn
off food cravings in our brain
- They are a great source of calcium
- They are high in protein
- They contain omega 3 fats
- They are low in fat
- They contain fiber
- They contain lots of other vitamins, minerals,
Examples of these wonderful foods are collard
greens, turnip greens, kale, bok choy, spinach, swiss chard, arugula,
and romaine lettuce. Eat dark leafy greens every day. Eat some cooked
and some raw.
important food category in our vegan nutrition plan is the rest of the vegetables.
Vegetables are low in fat and, like all plants, contain fiber. Focus on
vegetables that have deep, bright colors. Try to eat from all the
"color groups" every day. Some
vegetables give us special benefits:
Cruciferous vegetables. These are a family of
are very healthful. They contain natural chemicals, like sulphoraphane,
that help protect us
Some common cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, brussels
sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, bok choy, turnip,
radish, and watercress.
Low calorie density vegetables. They have a
content, fiber, and many nutrients. Eat as many as you want, because
they contain only a
Eat them raw in salads or with bean dips. Some of them are good in
soups and stews. Examples are zucchini, green beans, onion, cucumber,
bell pepper, and celery.
Starchy vegetables. They are high in fiber,
very low in fat, and have enough calories to satisfy our hunger.
Some traditional cultures got nearly all their food from
starchy root vegetables. The long-lived Okinawans got most of their
calories from sweet potatoes. Peruvians lived on potatoes and New
natives on yams.
Bright-colored starches like yams and purple
sweet potatoes are very high in nutrients. Add some starchy vegetables
to soups and stews to make
them thicker and more filling. Keep a few baked potatoes or roasted
yams in the fridge for snacks.
Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils)
When people ask us where we get our protein on a
nutrition plan, we tell them we eat legumes. That is the quick and easy
here are the other vegan protein sources.
are excellent weight loss foods. They fill us up because they contain
lots of fiber and protein. Eat about a cup of legumes
If you have trouble digesting
beans, begin with lentils and split peas. They are easiest to digest.
They also cook faster than most
other beans and they make delicious soups.
All legumes are low in fat except soybeans. Whole soybeans contain 40% of their
calories from fat. Whole soybean products like tempeh
and natural soy milk are the same. Young green soybeans (called
edamame) are 36% fat.
is 50% fat.
Most of the carbohydrate is removed in making tofu. Tofu is mainly
protein and fat, just like meat. After you have reached your weight
loss goals, you may add some soy products to your diet. Until that
time, just eat all of the other beans.
Vegetarian mock meats are
usually made from isolated soy protein. It is fat free but highly
processed. Do not
eat foods containing isolated soy protein. Eat whole
grains are comfort foods
in our vegan nutrition plan. In the western world today, it is rare to
find any products made of 100% whole grains. Rolled
oats, corn, and brown rice are staples in many vegan
We like to make 3 grain rice
by mixing brown rice, wheat berries, and rye berries. Other whole
try are millet, barley, spelt, and quinoa.
Look for colored
grains in your health food store. The colors in black rice, teff, and
Bhutanese red rice contain extra plant nutrients that are good for our
Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce is a good
quick meal. Also try corn, rice, and spelt pastas. If you want to eat
bread, read labels
Buy Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain bread if you can find it. Or make your
own oil-free whole grain bread.
For baking, we
like to use white whole wheat flour. It is made from white spring wheat
and is lighter than regular whole wheat flour If you reach a weight loss
plateau, stop eating all flour products, even foods made
from whole grain flour.
Fresh whole fruit
Fruit is a sweet and colorful part of vegan
nutrition. The best fruits are
berries. Eat them fresh when they are in season. Eat frozen ones the
rest of the year.
drink fruit juice. It puts too much sugar into your system all at once.
And limit dried fruit if you are trying to lose weight. The calories
are too concentrated. Put a few
raisins in your oatmeal if you like.
Fruit is good for you, but too much will slow
your weight loss. Only
eat two or three servings per day. There are a few
fruits that are high in fat. Don't
eat avocados, olives, or coconut until you get down to normal weight.
Almost all the food you eat should come from the
above five food categories. Important!
there are a few additional foods and supplements you need for optimal