What do Vegans really eat?

I made the choice to go Vegan after a year of only eating animal products once a week, as I was noticing how my digestion reacted and how my energy levels dropped on the days I was eating meat. I switched for health reasons, however am a strong advocate against animal cruelty.

As other Vegans would understand, we get a range of questions from curious people about our dietary habits and how we get our nutritional requirements through only plant based foods. I’m here to bust the myth that we ‘only eat salads’ for all those wondering out there.

There are different types of Vegans, but the main ones are:

  • High Carb Low Fat Vegans (also referred to as 80/10/10 diet): Eat a diet high in carbohydrates from plant based wholefoods or rice, consuming very low amounts of good fats
  • Raw Vegans: Eat a diet of purely raw fruits and vegetables only
  • Raw til 4 Vegans: Eat a diet of purely raw fruits and vegetables only until 4pm each day, then will eat cooked plant based wholefoods or rice after 4pm

I’d say I fit more into the raw til 4 category – I like to eat 2 x raw meals a day, and only 1 cooked. I notice the difference in my digestion significantly if I don’t get at least 1 raw meal in each day, and my energy levels aren’t as high.

BREAKFAST

I love alternating between my green smoothies (in my Thermomix) and cold pressed juices for breakfast during the week. Quick and easy, and for the mornings I’m in a rush I can throw it in a Mason jar with a lid and off I go – breakfast on the run! Brings a whole new element to ‘fast food’ doesn’t it!

You can put pretty much most fruits or vegetables into a smoothie, however over time I’ve learnt that it’s best to not mix too many together – the flavours are best with just 2-4 items together.

My staples are:

  • Bananas – usually 3 (can be frozen or fresh, but if fresh try to only use spotty bananas, they’re easiest for your stomach to digest when they’re ripe)
  • Baby spinach – a few good handfuls
  • Chlorella powder (for my daily B12 requirement)
  • Spatone (towards my daily Iron requirement)
  • Hemp/Chia seeds
  • A vegan protein powder (my new favourite is Amazonia Raw protein)
  • Water

My other add-ins depending on what type of smoothie I feel like at the time:

  • Another fruit – I rotate between different favourites including berries, pineapple, passionfruit, watermelon
  • Cucumber/celery
  • Cacao and chaga powder (medicinal mushroom extract, flavours work well with chocolatey cacao)

For my cold pressed juicing (I recommend Hurom) I love a balance of fruit and veggies:

  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Beetroot
  • Fresh ginger and/or turmeric root
  • Pineapple or orange
  • Lemon
  • Apple
  • Cucumber
  • Mint

I also love making Acai bowls of fruit platters on my weekends when I have more time. So easy, bright and tasty to whip up 🙂

If you haven’t made Acai bowls before, they’re just bananas (can be frozen) blended with Acai powder, decorated with seasonal fruits, cacao nibs, coconut or seeds. Too easy!!

Acai 2

fruit platter

SNACKS

We make a range of superfood snacks at home that I snack on during the day:

  • Cacao balls (blended cashew nuts, almonds, dates, cacao, nut butter, chaga powder, goji berries)
  • Homemade hommus with veggie and apple slices. A great twist on the traditional hommus – add some baked beetroot and maple syrup!

Choc balls

LUNCH

I love to make large salads in summer with anything and everything in them for lunch. They give me energy to get through the rest of the day and avoid the afternoon slump. A sample of ingredients I’ll use:

  • Baby spinach
  • Fresh non-GMO corn off the cob (a great trick I learnt from Kemi; corn is amazing raw!)
  • Red or yellow capsicum (green is more difficult to digest)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • At least 1 fruit – depending on what’s in season: mango, apple, dragonfruit, peach, pear
  • Chilli
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Sauerkraut (I am obsessed with the Byron Bay Superkraut Carrot which is so good for your gut with all those powerful probiotics and is super tasty!)

Salad work lunch

I also love making rice paper rolls, and will often raise lots of curious attention from my colleagues with my delicious spread of fillings at my desk.

Rice paper rolls

During winter I’ve really gotten into making veggie and rice noodle soups in a jar. They’re super easy to prepare, tasty, and warm the belly on those chilly days when you’re craving something hearty. Buy a large glass jar with a secure lid. Fill with dried rice noodles, veggie stock, and sliced veggies (my go-to’s: zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms) to the brim. Seal the jar and take to work with you. When you’re ready for lunch simply fill with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Miso soup is the easiest snack and so nutritious! I’ve become obsessed since finding Meru Miso chickpea miso (I’m allergic to soy, and have only ever found soy alternative miso pastes out of the USA). Get your hands on a jar of probiotic rich miso paste to add with moderate-hot water ready to go anytime you need a quick warming snack!

image

DINNER

During Winter, I find it harder to have raw dinners when you’re craving something warm and hearty. So usually half my meal will be raw, the other half cooked. My winter warmer menu at home usually consists of:

  • Roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup – so good!
  • A side of baked no-fat potato chips with spicy guacamole
  • Chilli ‘non’ carne with homemade or store bought veggie mince, in lettuce cups, with grated cauliflower and fresh coriander and chilli…YUM
  • A salad with quinoa and roasted root vegetables
  • Chickpea masala curry – I get my Indian supplies from Quality Groceries (1118 Glenhuntly Road, Glen Huntly). Firstly, it’s SUPER cheap. Secondly, most of their spice mixes have no added preservatives, flavourings, sugar or salt. And any leftovers got thrown into a salad at work to add some protein, heartiness and warmth on those chilly days
  • Vegetable pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) – I get these fantastic pho pouches from my local Asian grocer out the front of Prahran Market which have no added preservatives or flavourings. Added to vegetable stock and simmered on the stove for 2 days makes the tastiest batch of stock to add rice noodles to and pour boiling over raw vegetables to soften, like broccoli, mushrooms, and zucchini. Top with bean shoots, Thai basil and chilli and you have yourself a clean, delicious and cheap dinner option
  • Broccoli and cauliflower soup – hearty and nutritious!
  • Chipotle beans burritos with grilled peach salsa and spanish rice from the Thug Kitchen cookbook – they’re next level amazingness!!!

Masala

Pho

Pho pouches

Broccoli and Cauliflower soup

During Summer, my main go-to’s are:

  • Lettuce cups with a variety of fillings: Salsas, quinoa, baked sweet potato, chilli non carne, chipotle black beans, refried beans, falafels…The opportunites are endless and we love experimenting in my house hold!
  • A side of baked no-fat potato chips with spicy guacamole
  • Falafel wraps with hommus and raw veggies
  • Rice paper rolls with a variety of raw vegetable fillings, with added mango, quinoa and kim chi or sauerkraut
  • Rawsagna – the BEST recipe (I’ve tried many recipes and restaurant rawsagnas) I’ve come across is from www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com
  • Black bean soft shell tacos with spicy vegan chipotle mayo – I use recipe from www.thedesignfiles.net and substitute Kewpie mayo (which is egg based and contains MSG) with vegan cashew mayonnaise
  • Roasted chickpea and broccoli burritos from the Thug Kitchen cookbook – recipe also available on their website

Rawsagna

Falafel lettuce cups dinner

Lettuce cup dinner 2

Black bean tacos

Rice paper rolls 2

Rainbow Ricepaper rolls

Staple store

DESSERT

I’ve found I’ve lost my sweet tooth since turning Vegan, given I eat a lot of fruits throughout the day now (check out my regular weekly fruit bowl):

Fruit bowl

However, when I’m having friends or family around, or feel like something sweet, I love keeping some of these raw vegan mini berry cheesecakes in the freezer for those occasions – they take maybe 30 mins to defrost and are something else!!! Recipe courtesy of One Green Planet.

Cheesecakes

I also love making this raw snickers slice from www.loveliveraw.wordpress.com – it was a hit with all my work colleagues when I snuck a plate of it into a morning tea spread!! Everybody was asking me for the recipe and couldn’t believe it was healthy. Operation healthy workplace stage 1 = success muhahaha 🙂

raw snickers slice

These Anzac cookies never last long in my house! They smell delicious whilst baking, which makes it very difficult to hide the baked goodies in the cupboard all to yourself once everyone has smelt them and you’re obliged to share!

Anzac biscuits

I am in love with this raw caramel slice – they’re the real deal without the guilt!

Caramel slice