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How to Have a Healthy Vegan Diet

Where My Vegans At?

My relationship with meat is constantly on the up and down; lately it's been pretty confusing. Meat recalls, environmental woes, and the ethics of it keep me one step away from becoming a vegetarian again — heck, I've even considered going vegan! But here's the thing: when it comes to a healthy vegan diet, I'm sort of at a loss. And let's be real, I love dairy products.

This weekend I decided to see if I could eat a diet that was free from any animal products. It was a sort of spontaneous decision, and while I didn't starve, I wouldn't call it a success either. I ate a lot of salad, whole grains, and relied heavily on fake meat products. And my weekend brunch was the hardest to deal with — no eggs, milk, or cheese!

I'd love to know if any FitSugar readers out there are vegan. What are your biggest sources of protein? And what are your go-to vegan cookbooks? But mostly, what do you put in dishes to make them feel hearty, creamy, and, well, meatier? Please share your ideas with me in the comments section below.

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rachelizabeth rachelizabeth 6 years
I'm a vegan and I never thought that I would have been able to live without cheese and eggs. Once you get used to it you really don't miss it very much! As for milk almond milk is so creamy and if that isn't for you you can try soy milk, help milk, other various nut milks. I recently tried hazelnut milk and it was wonderful as a creamer! I've recently been flirting with eating raw and i've learned how to make wonderful mock cheeses and cheesecakes from cashews that really taste like the real thing. After a while you really don't miss any of it (:
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 6 years
I try to eat 95% vegan, giving myself a few cheat days to eat ice cream now and then with my boyfriend (its a cheap but fun date, going to the parlor). If you are committed to going to the store, it really can be done. There are wonderful things being produced now, like low fat and low calorie coconut milk by So Delicious, and I drink lots of smoothies. Read the book Skinny Bitch!! It will change your life and comes with a diet plan in the back!! Good luck.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
It just shows that anyone can post in a comment field and spread their lies :P I'm still hoping Sugar will get rid of Anon comments. Onlysourcherry - How are you finding the time to post here? Get back to the medicine cabinet and take your vitamins!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
lol scully you rock! I love how he says vegans "spend most of their time getting vitamins from supplements." I take a B12 supplement and let it dissolve in my mouth while I do my makeup. As you can tell, it's massively time consuming.
weffie weffie 6 years
Lol, you tell 'em Scully! I hope I don't get one of those regenerative diseases hahaha Also, I love the completely invented stuff like Australia being "one of the largest growers of rice and soy," since they're not even in the top 10 by production, unless Anon 39 actually meant "largest" in terms of land area (in which case it's still at least third behind the US and China). I'm not even getting into the implied everlasting drought :P
Vsugar Vsugar 6 years
We use smoky-stuff too - smoked salts and smoked paprika - it really helps add a deep, and almost meaty flavor to things. I try really hard, because my vegetarianism is from food allergies - poultry, beef, pork, and eggs. UGH!! I can still eat lamb and fish, but because I eat it so rarely (no pun intended), I have noticed that I feel pretty terrible when I do. While we still consume dairy products, I've been lately replacing milk with Almond Milk, and generally cutting way back on cheese and yogurt - we still eat them, but not often. I work really hard at making the food taste good, because my husband (BLESS HIM) is following this almost vegan diet with me at home. He grew up a carnivore - potatoes with butter and sour cream were the veggies with dinner. Now we have green smoothies for breakfast, quinoa stuffed squashes for lunch, polenta mushroom pizza for dinner, LOTS of beans, and one of our favorites, Shepherdess Pie!! I make the "lamb" filling with lentils and lots of smoked paprika (along with all the other good stuff that goes in shepherd's pie), and for the whipped potato topping, I mix in shredded, blanched cabbage = COLCANNON topping. Super delicious. We usually put a fine layer of shredded cheese on top while it bakes, just for the flavor of it, but not much. We LOVE our diet, and his cholesterol has completely changed - his hdl went up from 42 to 50, and his ldl went down from 185 to 152!! HUGE and healthy change.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Anon 39 - The China Study has NOT been "disproven" numerous times. You obviously don't know anything about nutrition as vegans DON'T "spend most of their time getting vitamins and nutrients from pills." I know numerous vegans who don't take any pills and get perfect blood work. You didn't even look at the article I posted above, meat eaters have more vitamin/mineral deficiencies on average. You've also never done research on the wastefulness of the meat and dairy/egg industries. The reason so many natural habitats are going down is because they need space for soy and corn to feed the animals. They produce waste themselves (a lot of it) and require a lot of water. You've said disproven twice and it's not even a word. I've actually done true research on soy (meaning I learn who did the study and how it was conducted) and it is not unhealthy. I consume a good amount of soy and guess what... I'm very lean and strong. I'm in great shape and my blood work last year was "Some of the best I've ever seen in 20+ years" according to my doctor. You make these claims about grains... yet meat eaters eat them regularly. They're being fed to the animals they're eating. Vegetarians live an average of 4-7 years longer, so your claims are ridiculous. Regenerative or Degenerative? I can tell by the tone of your post that you're anti-veg, so stop trolling around and get a life.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
For those who have thought about veganism and were worried it wasn't a healthy diet (even balanced), this is a great article I came across recently. It was published in 2003 By Michael Greger, M.D. "The latest data on the dietary intakes of vegans was just published last month.[1] The diets of about 100 vegans were recorded for a week and were found deficient in calcium, iodine and vitamin B12. Using the same standards, though, the standard American diet are deficient in 7 nutrients! The diet of your average American is not only also deficient in calcium and iodine, it's deficient in vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium as well.[2] Not only does the American public have over twice as many nutritional deficiencies in their diets, vegans were shown to have higher intakes of 16 out of the 19 nutrients studied, including calcium. The vegans were getting more than enough protein on average and three times more vitamin C, three times more vitamin E, three times more fiber. Vegans got twice the folate, twice the magnesium, twice the copper, twice the manganese. And of course the vegans had twice the fruit and vegetable intake and half the saturated fat intake, meeting the new 2003 World Health Organization guidelines for fat intake and weight control.[3] Almost 2/3 of Americans are overweight.[4] In contrast, only 11% of the vegans were overweight. Almost one in three Americans are obese.[4] Zero of the 98 vegans in this study were obese. So when a meateater asks you "Where you get your B12?" You can counter with "Where do you get your vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium? And while you're at it, you can ask them how they keep their sodium, saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol intake under control (not to mention their weight)." The stats may have changed over the years, I think the obesity rate is even higher now in America.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Protein - Something that has been pushed by the meat and dairy industry for many, many years. Not saying protein isn't important, but meat and dairy aren't the only or best sources of it. As a vegetarian, I think I've heard "Where do you get your protein" and "You must be sick a lot without eating any protein!" more than 50 times. :P I just laugh it off now. I like to take recipes I ate as an omni and vegetarianize/veganize them. I get many of my recipes from, Veganomicon, Food Network, Vegan with a Vengence, and some I just come up with on my own or I attempt to duplicate restaurant recipes. One thing I learned over the years: if you have a hard time eating only vegan food, chances are your diet is off balance. Most of a person's diet should be plant based anyway. I eat more variety now than I did as a meat eater. I eat more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and I'm willing to try new things. I love it. If you're looking for desserts, your best bets are: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and The Joy of Vegan Baking. I've impressed so many people with vegan desserts and meals. :)
mudnessa mudnessa 6 years
PCRM, physicians committee for responsible medicine, is doing a 21 day vegan kickstart that starts on Sept 6th. It was how I transitioned from veg to vegan. It has lots of great recipes and tips. Makes it super simple and there is lots of information and help to commit to a vegan diet.
amber512 amber512 6 years
Whoops, hit enter before I was done. My protein comes from : whole grains, fruits/vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I think I would best be described as a lactose intolerant vegetarian.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I'm not a vegan, but I do eat mostly plants. I do eat tuna/fish because I find it's just easier for me to get all my protein that way. I also rely heavily on nuts, quinoa, beans, and lentils for my protein sources. You really don't have to worry too much about not getting enough protein; as long as you are getting all your essential amino acids, you should be fine. I've eliminated most dairy from my diet--I basically only eat yogurt and I only eat that because of the cultures it has in it. I don't really miss it; I guess I was never much of a milk/cheese lover.
inlove23 inlove23 6 years
Fit, maybe you should try to go vegetarian first before cutting out everything. It's just an easier transition, and your body won't crave it as much.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
Step away from the fake meat! I tried to go vegan in college, and it only lasted one weekend because I simply wasn't educated on the many vegan options that are out there. I recommend reading a good vegan book/cookbook like The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone or Veganomicon. They make life easier by giving you meal ideas and vegan-friendly substitutes. Really, I can't stress enough how much easier it is to prepare satisfying vegan meals when you consult a recipe book rather than just winging it on your own. As for protein sources, where do I even begin? I eat a lot of almond butter, beans, lentils, etc. Even my bread (Ezekiel) and cereal have a good amount of protein. If you read nutrition labels, protein actually adds up rather quickly, and there's not need to eat fake meats, which I find to be disgusting.
LeiraElle LeiraElle 6 years
I was a vegetarian for many years, and vegan for only a short period. I still don't eat much meat (I only eat meat that is local and humanely raised). Lentils and garbanzo beans are awesome protein substitutes, because there's so much you can do with them. Also, tahini is a god-send. Blend tahini with oil, lemon juice/ vinegar, spices and water (to get the right consistency), and it makes a great cream sauce.
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