A few months ago, I was struggling with eating a balanced vegan diet. The vegan diet is a good diet if you eat a variety of foods and make sure you eat a balanced diet.
As a result of my not eating a balanced diet and eating enough food, I noticed my hair was thinning and falling out each time I cleansed my hair. As a trained cosmetologist, I knew something was not right.
You know something is wrong when your spouse tells you that you need to gain weight. Not only that, I was looking pale and sickly. One day, after showering I looked in the mirror and I saw it staring back at me.
The best thing to do is to learn as much as you can about nutrition as well as invest in some good books and information written by those who trained in the area of nutrition and medical doctors who specialize in helping others eat plant-based diets.
I have learned that you cannot and you must not follow some guru’s recommendations about diet. Don’t follow what some ordinary Joe Blow recommends, because he/she has had success on a particular diet. Do your own research, learn as much as you can, and do what works best for you.
A lot has changed for me in the eating department. I no longer look pale and sickly and my hair is not falling out. My husband has even told me that I look better and that he can see noticeable changes. I have even picked up a few pounds. I was not eating a balanced diet which resulted in my being deficient in a few areas.
These days, I make sure I eat a well-balanced diet while also taking a few supplements. I must say, I feel better and I look better too.
Listen to Your Body
If you eat a vegan diet, you must make sure you get everything you need and that you eat a variety of foods. If you do not do this, your body will tell on you.
Today you will learn about the types of foods you should eat every day to have a balanced vegan diet.
Vegan Food Guide (Daily Planning for Healthy Eating)
Carbohydrates (Fiber, Vitamins & Minerals)
6-11 Servings of Grains a day (choose mainly whole grains)
1 slice of bread
1 ounce of ready to eat cereal
1/2 cup cooked grains, cereal, or pasta
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 ounce other grain products
3 or more Servings of Vegetables a day (eat a wide variety)
1/2 cup vegetables
1 cup salad
3/4 cup vegetable juice
2 or more Servings of Fruit (eat a variety and those rich in Vitamin C)
1 medium apple, banana, orange, pear
1/2 cup fruit
3/4 cup fruit juice
1/4 cup dried fruit
2-3 Servings of Beans and Bean Alternates (beans, tofu, nuts, seeds)
Eat a wide range of these foods
1 cup cooked legumes (beans, lentils, dried peas)
1/2 cup firm tofu and tempeh
1 serving veggie “meats” (1 burger or wiener, 2-3 lunch slices)
3 tablespoons nut or seed butter
2 cups soymilk
*Eating vegetables or fruits high in vitamin C with the bean and bean alternates increase iron absorption.
6-8 Servings of Fortified Soymilk and Alternates (calcium sources)
Many of these foods double as servings from the Beans and Bean Alternates group and the Vegetable group.
1/2 cup fortified soymilk
1/4 cup calcium-set tofu
1/2 cup calcium-fortified orange juice
1/4 cup almonds
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 cup cooked, or 2 cups raw, high calcium greens, (kale, collards, Chinese greens, broccoli, okra).
1 cup high-calcium beans (i.e, soy, white, navy, Great Northern, black turtle beans)
1/4 cup dry hijiki seaweed
1 tablespoon black strap molasses
Omega Fatty Acids (1-2 servings)
1 teaspoon flax oil
4 teaspoons canola oil
3 tablespoons walnuts
Fortified foods or supplements supplying 2.4 mcg (adults); 2.6-2.8 mcg/day (pregnancy and lactation); 0.9-18 mcg/day (children)
Sunshine or fortified food or supplements supplying 5 mcg/day vitamin D2 (10 mcg/day 51-70 years; 15 mcg 70+ years).
*If you don’t get enough sunshine, then you should get a vitamin D2 from foods or supplements.
Stop wondering if you are eating enough food and getting the nutrients that you need. Take time to plan your daily meals. You will be glad you did.
*When in doubt, consult a registered dietician to help you.
Listen to your body!
Information Source: Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
Vegan Pyramid Photo: Shane Becker
- What Does a Vegan Eat? (evelynparham.com)
- Interview: Tracey McQuirter, Vegan for 24 Years and Author (evelynparham.com)
- Vegan Food Selections When Dining Out (evelynparham.com)