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What in the World Do Vegans Eat?

Ever wonder "what can vegans eat"... is it a bunch of salads? Ever see a vegan eating a meal of side dishes? It's probably not because that's all they want to eat. What about desserts... are there any egg and milk-free desserts?

Here's the answer... No, to eat a vegan diet doesn't mean just eating green salads. Yes, we love side dishes, but there are plenty of vegan entrees out there. And yes... we do eat desserts.

We pretty much eat the same things as everyone else, but just in a different way. I tend to think vegans eat more variety than "normal" people, but I can only really speak for myself.

You can give a vegan diet as much or more variety than a meat-eating diet. Here are the definition of vegan vs. vegetarian.

We can even eat cheese! Of course, we either buy or make dairy free cheese, which you can learn how to do in my ebook Cut the Cheese.

vegans eat

Is there any truth to the protein myth?

The first question I get asked when someone hears that I don't meat is..."How do you get enough protein?" They are always asking seriously, with concern, and though I want to laugh because I already knew they were going to ask, I try to answer seriously. My answer is always something like, "I definitely get enough vegan protein, and it's actually easier than you might think."

We have been taught since childhood that we need tons of protein to be healthy, and that the best form of protein is meat. Both of these assumptions are wrong. And, when our society went through the Atkinsdiet phase, it made us think even more that meat is the end-all be-all in food.

Humans actually need far less protein than we think, and it's simple to get it all from non-meat sources. Most Americans eat about double the amount of protein they need every day!!

A vegan eating a normal, healthy diet is actually consuming a more reasonable amount of protein than people who eat meat products.

Also, our bodies will end up throwing all the extra protein that we eat into the toilet. Seriously, it goes to waste, so there's no point in overeating protein.

In fact, it's been found that consuming too much protein as part of the standard American diet can actually lead to many of the more serious illnesses that are present today.

And, animal protein is actually harder for our body to digest than protein from plant sources. Plants provide excellent protein that is easy for our bodies to digest. So, vegans do eat plenty of protein.

Surely you don't get enough calcium
if you don't drink milk...

This is usually the second question about what vegans eat. Another serious concern gets another serious answer from me, "Yes, and actually, calcium from plants is easier for our bodies to digest than calcium from animals. So, I actually get lots of calcium!"

Does this sound unbelievable? It's true. Calcium from animals is not as digestible as calcium from plants, so you don't absorb as much calcium from milk and dairy as from vegetables, beans, grains, and fruits.

Healthy vegans eat a variety of different types of food, and therefore, they definitely can eat enough calcium.

Milk is touted as being a great source of calcium because it has a lot of calcium in it, but if you body doesn't absorb it as well as non-animal calcium sources, what's the point?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why HUMANS are drinking COW milk? It is very strange. In a natural setting, an animal's baby drinks milk from his mother so he will grow strong and as big as that mother. Why are we trying to grow as big and strong as a cow???

Is there some reason we don't drink squirrel milk? There are plenty of squirrels around. Could it be because cows are bigger than squirrels and can give us a larger quantity of milk and a bigger profit?

Humans are meant to drink their mothers' milk until they are weaned onto solid food. Cows are meant to drink their mothers' milk until they are several hundred pounds and ready to eat grass all day long in a field.

So maybe a vegan eating soy milks aren't as weird as we once thought, right?

Why do you think so many people are lactose intolerant?? Our bodies produce an enzyme called lactase that helps break down the lactose in food. Most of us lose that enzyme after about 2-3 years of life-- when we are supposed to be done drinking milk!

It's not natural for us to drink another animal's milk, but we drink gallons and gallons of it because we think it will give us great calcium and protein.

Also, in every grocery store there are several varieties of soy milk that are fortified with calcium. Even orange juice has added calcium nowadays, and these all provide us with plenty of daily calcium. And so, vegans eat plenty of calcium!

A Simple Guide to What Vegans Eat

What Supplements Do Vegans Need?

There are a few things that vegans eat to make sure to add to their diets, and they are very simple.

A great way to remember how to balance a healthy vegan diet is by picturing a plate, and then dividing it out into sections. Half should be vegetables, a quarter should be whole grains, and a quarter should be a legume or bean.

First, vegans should take a B12 supplement. People are often needlessly worried about vitamin B12 deficiency, and you shouldn't worry, but it can't hurt to be on the safe side. B12 is the only vitamin that is ONLY found in animals, and it's important that humans consume it. We do store B12 in our bodies for years, so it's not necessarily needed on a daily basis.

The other addition to what vegans eat should be a form of omega-3 fatty acids. In some vegetarian/vegan diets, the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is off and this is unhealthy. (By the way, this is true of meat-eaters as well, their balance is usually in the other direction.)

An easy way to create a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is to add flax seeds or flax oil to your diet. Two teaspoons a day of ground flax seeds can easily be added to any meal.

B12 is sold at most drug stores and can be found in a vegan version. I take one pill every few days, and that is plenty.

The other addition to what vegans eat should be a form of omega-3 fatty acids. In some vegetarian/vegan diets, the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is off and this is unhealthy. (By the way, this is true of meat-eaters as well, their balance is usually in the other direction.)

An easy way to create a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is to add flax seeds or flax oil to your diet. Two teaspoons a day of ground flax seeds can easily be added to any meal.

I like to add it in my oatmeal every morning, but I have been known to throw it into cereal, salads, muffins, bread, dips, sandwiches, and pretty much anything else I eat!

There are several other ways to ensure you have a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. And that is all a vegan needs to consider-- not protein or calcium!!

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by Cathleen Woods   |   © Copyright 2008-2018  |   Vegan-Nutritionista.com

Disclaimer: Everything in this website is based upon information collected by Cathleen Woods, from a variety of sources. It is my opinion and is not intended as medical advice.
It is recommended that you consult with a qualified health care professional before making a diet change.

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