I get asked for tips on veganism a LOT, usually from beginners and/or people interested in eating healthy, vegan meals. As a result, I think compiling them into a single blog post would be useful, or so I hope!
- Do NOT treat eating a plant-based diet as an elimination diet, AKA what you used to eat minus the animal products. It will NOT work. You will have to completely revamp your paradigm of what constitutes as as meal. Anything else will run you into problems.
- Read, research, and experiment. Pick up cooking books, read blogs by other vegans, find out what they eat.
- Learn how to read labels. Dairy is sneaky, and you’ll find that when it comes to prepackaged foods they’ll like to slip in weird crap.
- Eat clean. Don’t be a “carb-an” and subsist mostly on bread, pasta, and rice. Fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes, non-GMO soy products, should all be awesome. If you have food intolerances to soy and/or gluten, give food like quinoa, lentils, and beans a shot.
- Don’t be afraid to screw up. Inevitably you’ll accidentally buy something that has honey in it, lactose, whey, whatever. Learn from it and move on.
- If you have a favorite food or recipe that isn’t vegan, find a fun way to “veganize” it! And don’t be afraid to give faux meats and faux dairy products a try. My personal favorites are from Gardein and Daiya respectively.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s part of the learning process.
Hope this helps!
I’m a software engineer. These blog posts go out because I write them up in advance and schedule them in advance, because like many people, my time is at a premium and I don’t have full control over it.
So how does one eat healthy in an incredibly crazy and busy world?
Here are some of my tips:
- 1) Cook/prep things you plan to eat often, in bulk, in advance. Things like quinoa and brown rice can be cooked on weekends and keep well in the fridge, and can be added to meals throughout the week.
- 2) Make extra of things that freeze well, and take them out for convenience lunches. You can do this with soups and stews.
- 3) Add leafy greens whenever possible. I bring in foods that warm up well and add a container of baby spinach to them, and mix it up well.
- 4) Make juices and smoothies in the morning and take them with you in a thermos or tupperware container.
- 5) Bring fruit and cut up veggies to work.
- 6) Bring a travel blender or juicer to work!
Some fast meals I like to make when I’m either too busy, too lazy, or just am feeling uncreative but still want my healthy, quick eats:
- 1) Quinoa, beans, salsa. Really, that’s it.
- 2) Sauteed veggies in coconut oil with brown rice
- 3) Sauteed or steamed kale
- 4) Kale or baby spinach with half an avocado and lemon juice for a tasty salad
When in doubt…just bring fruits and veggies…the original fast food.
It’s been a while since I had a controversial post up, let alone a good rant, so let’s hit a frequently visited issue:
Yes, already I can hear many of you screaming and running away in terror.
Soy is a common allergen, and by that I mean that there are people who have a genuine allergy or intolerance to soy. There are also some health conditions such as gout under which people should not consume it. But food allergies and health contraindicators exist elsewhere with gluten, nuts, shellfish, eggs, and dairy. I would never argue on this basis that gluten and nuts are evil and should be shunned by the world’s populace, but for some reason soy seems to be a nice target for some people to hit on. Question is…why?
All issues of the meat and dairy industry and their biased studies aside (money talks, people!), the idea that soy negatively impacts hormones and causes weird issues like “manboobs” has long been debunked by university studies. Yet like the “complete protein” nonsense, people recite this bit of information like gospel.
The only time you should be avoiding soy is when it’s unclear that it’s non-GMO. And GMO anything for that matter isn’t good, but that’s a topic for a whole other post (coming to a blog near you!). Beyond avoiding GMO sources, soy is an excellent protein and has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk, not increase it.
There’s also the debate as to fermented vs non-fermented soy foods, and that too has been shown to be hogwash.
Some facts about soy:
- * It’s a complete protein, and some have argued is the most superior plant protein.
- * 25g a day may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol in studies when replacing animal protein with soy.
- * Soy has a long and rich history in Asian countries contrary to some of the claims made against it. In fact, I suspect much of the propaganda against soy started around WWII due to its association with the Japanese.
- * Cow’s milk provides more than nine times as much saturated fat as soy beverages, so is far more likely to contribute to heart disease.
- * Soy beverages provide more than 10 times as much essential fatty acids as cow’s milk, and so provide a far healthier quality of fat.
- * For all of people’s claims that soy milk will cause hormonal issues, they fail to realize that cow’s milk actually is far more damaging in terms of hormones. In the dairy industry, a cow is perpetually kept pregnant in order to produce milk, and these hormones–along with other crap injected into the cow–can affect our health when we consume the milk from said cow. Why soy gets the most attention is beyond me…oh right, money talks. :-/
- * Soy beverages are cholesterol-free, while cow’s milk contains 34 mg of cholesterol per cup.
- * Soy beverages lower both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while cow’s milk raises both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
- * Soy beverages contain numerous protective phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Cow’s milk contains no phytochemicals.
Now, I’m a firm believer in not putting any of your eggs into one nutritional basket, everything in moderation, common sense, etc, so I’m not suggesting to go out and eat 500 pounds of soy a day–let alone telling people who have a genuine allergy to soy that they should start consuming it. There are many, many sources of plant-based proteins out there besides soy which are quite excellent. I’m a big fan of quinoa, for instance. But I think people can rest assured that eating soy won’t cause you to get cancer, manboobs, blue hair, or an uncontrollable urge to start “to-fu fighting”.
I’m compiling all of these resources into a single blog post as I’m often repeating them to others, so I hope they’ll be useful to readers of this blog.
Some advice from me: ANY lifestyle and/or diet change requires research. Expect to make mistakes, just learn from them versus beating yourself up over them. Whether you’re just looking for more meatless meals, looking to transition post Ultimate Reset, or going full blown vegan or even raw vegan, know what you need to eat in order to be healthy and feel good. If you have allergies, you’re probably already used to reading labels and being cautious. Being vegan isn’t all that different, except for many of us we’re choosing to avoid these things versus having to out of necessity. For others, it may be a combination of both.
Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier
Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness by Brendan Brazier
Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health by Brendan Brazier
Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr
Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness by Robert Cheeke
The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Kris Esselstyn
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Lindsay S Nixon
The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone
Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone
Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year by Del Sroufe
Vegan P90X guide from the Beachbody newsletter
Forks Over Knives
Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
EARTHLINGS – WARNING: this one is very graphic, pulls no punches, and not for the squeamish. You have been warned.
These are just a few out of the myriad of resources out there, and I’m sure this page may be updated as time goes on and more excellent resources and research are made available. So bookmark this page and keep checking back!