Vegan food can be quite varied and delicious. Many people are skeptical that vegan foods can supply enough nutrients for good health. They worry that there won’t be enough calcium, iron, and protein in vegetarian recipes, let alone vegan ones. What they fail to realize is the value of whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils.

Whole grains are foods that are easy to prepare in a veggie diet. Their high fiber content creates a sense of satiety. They are regarded as helpful in controlling cholesterol levels and promoting healthy intestinal functioning.

Luckily, few of us find it hard to make the change to eating whole grains in our meals instead of the more processed foods. They are tasty to eat and leave us feeling satisfied for a longer period of time. I find I feel free of cravings for food that is laden with fat when I eat this way.

Quinoa, barley, oats, corn, millet, and whole grain rice, pasta, and bread are all good sources of some proteins. These high fiber grains are considered to lower the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, gum disease, and some kinds of cancer. Cook up some of these grains and add some raw or cooked vegetables for a treat. One doesn’t even need a recipe, but many can be accessed online.

Vegans can get plenty of protein from tempeh, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzos, pinto beans as well as seitan. Because the vegan diet is based on plants, it is actually fairly easy to consume all the protein one needs. Nearly all vegetables have some protein and the foods just listed abound with protein.

Calcium is so identified in the popular mind with dairy products that many fail to realize that there is considerable calcium in green leafy vegetables, especially those that are dark in color. Broccoli, bok choy, and collards have considerable calcium. Soy-based products like tofu, soybeans, and drinks containing soy are good ways to get calcium—a very important nutrient for staying healthy and having strong bones.

Iron is the one nutrient in which vegans are at a higher risk of deficiency than are non-vegans. This is because animal products have a lot of iron in them. Fortunately, vegans can get plenty of iron from soybeans, chickpeas, spinach, pinto beans, and dried fruit.

Knowing what to include in one’s vegan veggie diet is just part of how to start planning vegan meals. What I urge people to do when they begin is to follow some simple tips. These include finding a restaurant that has some vegan option so that one can still easily socialize with friends without having to make a big thing out of the way one is eating.

Vegan food doesn’t have to be hard to make or find. Besides planning meals for good nutritional value, I have tips for ordering in restaurants. I suggest bringing one’s own salad dressing or merely using the oil and vinegar in cruets. It is not difficult to order a salad and a plain baked potato and avoid having to discuss the way one eats. I encourage those who are newer to vegan eating to sidestep a lot of conversation about it until they have established a definite and stable pattern in their new diet.

It’s true that fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are the staples of vegan diets but vegan food and its preparation consists of a whole lot more. Just look around this Vegan blog and enjoy being vegan with the best cuisine and the most valuable tips about how to be vegan.

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Filed under: Vegan Cuisine

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