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Vegan Lifestyle

Past Issues (Jan 08) > Vegan Lifestyle

The Vegan Food Pyramid

1. WHOLE GRAINS, CEREALS, & PASTAS

  • Eat 6-11 servings per day
  • Complex carbohydrates are an excellent energy source, providing B-vitamins, Vitamin E, many minerals, protein and phytochemicals
  • Choose whole-grains over refined ones (brown rice instead of white rice, or whole wheat bread instead of white bread, etc.)
  • Experiment with wheat alternatives, such as spelt bread or brown rice pasta
  • Try quinoa or whole wheat couscous instead of rice for a change. They cook faster than rice and will provide nice variety to your diet
  • Cereals and oatmeal are easy ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet
  • Try cooking whole grains, such as millet and amaranth, and mixing them with cinnamon and maple syrup for a great breakfast or dessert

2. VEGETABLES AND FRUIT

  • Eat at least 5-10 servings per day
  • Vegetables and fruits are our most nutrient-dense foods; they contain the greatest amount of nutrients per calorie of any food
  • Most of the nutrients that fight against cancer and heart disease are found in these “protective foods.” Choose organically-grown foods when possible to limit exposure to pesticides. When choosing fruits and vegetables, select fresh food first, then frozen, and canned as a last choice

3. CALCIUM - RICH FOODS

  • Eat 4-6 servings of calcium-rich or fortified foods providing at least 150 mg of calcium per serving
  • Plant sources come with the added benefit of fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • Dairy sources often come with excess “baggage”: saturated fat, cholesterol, genetically-engineered growth hormones, antibiotics, etc.

Sources:

  • Greens, such as, broccoli, kale, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, okra, cooked - 1 cup or raw - 2 cups; Seaweed, dried hijiki - 1/4 cup
  • Tofu & Beans: Tofu made with calcium - 1/4 cup; White, navy, great northern or black turtle beans - 1 cup
  • Nuts: Almonds or Almond butter - 3 - 4 tablespoons
  • Other: Blackstrap Molasses - 1 tablespoon; Figs - 5

4. BEANS, LEGUMES & ALTERNATIVES

  • Eat at least 2-3 servings a day
  • Our richest source of plant protein comes from legumes
  • Soy is a wonderful choice, providing excellent quality protein
  • Nuts are a wonderful source, and they can actually lower cholesterol levels
  • Whole grains can contribute significant amounts of protein to a plant-based diet
  • Try cooking with quinoa, a quick cooking, ancient grain full of especially high-quality protein

Sources:

  • Legumes, Tofu: Beans, peas or lentils, cooked - 1/2 cup; Tofu 1/3 cup
  • Meat Substitutes, Tempeh: 1 serving or patty
  • Nuts or Seeds: 3 to 4 tablespoons; Nut or Seed Butter - 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Other: Soy Milk - 1 cup

5. VITAMIN B-12

  • Take a supplement containing Spirulina or Chlorella, or eat foods fortified with this vitamin, if you’re eating a diet free of all animal foods--Fortified foods or a Supplement: 50 mcg/week

6. VITAMIN D

  • Get an adequate amount of sunlight, or take a supplement (or drink a fortified non-dairy beverage)

7. OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

  • Limit your intake of omega-6 fatty acids (found in animal foods, corn oil, sunflower oil)
  • Try sprinkling flaxseed meal on your cereal (approximately 1 Tablespoon), or blending flaxseed oil (approximately 1 Tablespoon) into a fruit smoothie
  • Eat walnuts, freshly cracked from the shell
  • Try tossing some greens with organic flax seed oil and lemon juice, (seasoned with fresh minced garlic, a little sea salt, a pinch of onion powder, basil and oregano to taste), for a good helping of these essential fatty acids

For more information and resources about the vegan lifestyle visit the following websites:

www.goveg.com

www.vegcooking.com

www.caringconsumer.com

www.vegan.org

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