The phrase, “a vegan diet,” is generally associated with a way of eating that is bland, restrictive, and tasteless. Vegans do not eat meat, cheese, dairy or eggs, but the selection is never-ending and chock-full of delicious choices. It is a major misconception that vegans can only eat salads and tofu.
Here is a look into what vegans do eat and enjoy:
Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, this may be a bit obvious that vegans eat fruits and vegetables but because of the amount of food that is no longer an option, vegans tend to eat a larger variety of these fresh produce than carnivores do. More than consuming traditional fruits like apples and bananas, vegans are more likely to eat the not-so-traditional fruits and vegetables as well, like kale, collard greens, goji berries, pomegranate, mulberries, and other superfoods.
There are numerous kinds of of meat substitutes on the market that taste like or even better than the real thing. Different brands work for different people and it’s a matter of trying them out until you find the one that you like best. Not only are there meat substitutes for popular meats like chicken and burgers, but vegans also find meatless meatballs, fish, turkey slices, and sausages.
Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh
Great additions to spice up any lunch or dinner options are tofu, seitan and tempeh. Tofu is made from soybeans, seitan is wheat gluten, and tempeh is made from fermented soy. They all offer a different kind of flavor and texture and can be cooked plain or marinated in a sauce of your choice. Tofu, seitan and tempeh are versatile and can be added to stir fry, salads and many other meals.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are a convenient and healthy addition to a vegans diet. Black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and green lentils are popular choices for those living a vegan lifestyle.
Whole wheat, rye, oats, brown rice, millet and quinoa are a staple in any vegan diet. Quinoa has been referred as one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health.
Most chocolate bars and desserts are off limits for vegans as they are made with milk chocolate. Cacao is the unprocessed bean that comes in a variety of forms and is what chocolate is made from. However, the majority of chocolate products have dairy additives and are not vegan friendly. Fortunately there are a lot of new products like dark chocolate bars that are cacao based and dairy free. Also, cacao comes in the form of powder, which can be added to shakes and other recipes to create a chocolate flavor.
Fresh pressed juice and smoothies
Fresh pressed juices and smoothies are a great way to get a lot of servings of vegetables and fruits for anyone, not just vegans. Since vegans don’t eat animal protein, adding vegan protein powder to a smoothie is a great way to get the daily amount needed. A blender or a juicer is a great investment for a vegan to make because of the unlimited amount of options you can make.
by Melissa Sanborn of Nutritional Brands, PureVegan