If you’re a vegetarian or even more “extreme,” a vegan, you’ve probably had omnivores ask you questions like these: If you don’t eat meat or cheese, what do you eat? Wait, no eggs either? What’s left to eat? Before I knew what I know about plant-based living, I may have behaved just as incredulously. So, I think it would be helpful to spend a day in the life of a mostly-vegan to see exactly what I eat…and it’s a lot!
As you know, I very occasionally splurge on an item of my former omnivorous diet, be it a bowl of macaroni and cheese (of COURSE that’s what I craved when I was pregnant!) or baklava dripping with honey. On the regular, however, thanks to my getting-better-everyday discipline, these splurges don’t occur. Travis and I pretty strictly refrain from purchasing any animal products for our kitchen. At home, we eat totally vegan, 99% of the time. As I explained in my bio, animal products typically only make their way into our lifestyle when we are out and about, if then.
Parents may also be wondering what my two-year-old eats on a day-to-day basis. As you learned in my post about his second birthday party, he basically eats like we do, although is a little less adventurous with raw vegetables at this stage of the game. Here’s a sample of what I eat in a given day (this list is not exhaustive):
- Breakfast: unsweetened green tea* and raw fruit:
- Snacks (2-3 daily): more unsweetened green tea with one or more of the following:
- Lunch: more unsweetened green tea with salad, as is, wrapped in a tortilla, or sandwiched between slices of homemade bread:
- Dinner: another salad or a cooked or partially cooked plant-based meal:
- **Dessert: raw fruit, dark chocolate, or homemade vegan dessert (e.g. cookies, brownies, etc.)
*I drink 3-4 cups of unsweetened green tea daily. I’m sure you’ve heard greatness about this superfood, but just in case you haven’t, you should know that it is jam-packed with antioxidants, has healing properties, and can even help you to lose weight.
**On a regular basis, I don’t eat a traditional dessert like cookies or brownies…not because I don’t like them, just because I can’t always make a dessert as healthy I can a square meal or snack. If I do have a craving for something sweet, I make it myself and you guessed it: it’s vegan and made with smart substitutes (i.e. whole wheat flour and flax seeds for white flour, maple syrup for white granulated sugar, etc.). I will very often, however, have more raw fruit and/or dark chocolate near the end of the day.
This typical menu may look like a lot or a little bit of food to you. As I’ve mentioned before, because I am eating mostly raw fruits and veggies and whole grains, I can basically eat as much as I want. When I eat a salad, for example, it is often the size of a large mixing bowl, just to give you an idea. The energy level I maintain is such that I am hungry more often and am burning a lot of calories, even when not exercising very intensely. As a result, I eat when I want to eat and as much as I want to, depending on what I plan to consume, of course.
- Breakfast: super food muffin and raw fruit and/or togurt (so far, he will eat any fruit in any capacity and the muffins are a great way to hide vegetables that he isn’t willing to try yet)
- Snacks (2-3 daily): see above (finely chopped/small pieces)
- Lunch: will sometimes eat the same salad that I make for myself or will munch on cubes of marinated tofu, baked veggie fries, or any one of the cooked meals above
- Dinner: will sometimes eat another mostly vegetable or bean salad, but is typically always up for a salad made with grains (e.g. quinoa, wheat berries, etc.) or one of the above cooked meals
- Dessert: raw fruit, every night before bed
Lately, I’ve been trying to track what I eat so that I can give you the most realistic picture of my lifestyle possible. These are just rough estimates, and amounts certainly vary from day to day based on what is available at the store, what we have in stock, and what’s on our schedule, but here are more of my food stats:
- I eat 60-70% raw plant-based foods in a day; the rest are partially or fully sautéed, steamed, boiled, or baked.
- I eat 3-4 different whole grains daily (e.g. farro, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, cracked wheat, rolled oats, etc.).
- I eat 7-10 different fruits daily, in varying amounts.
- I eat 10-15 different vegetables daily, in varying amounts.
- I eat 2-3 significant sources of protein daily (e.g. beans, seeds, nuts, etc.).
- I eat 2-4 significant sources of calcium daily (e.g. plant milk, seeds, green vegetables, etc.).
- I eat 6-7 times per day, be it snacks or meals.
- I drink only water, tea, plant milk, or 100% juice with no sugar added (plus alcohol in reasonable amounts, although not daily).
- I do not count calories, carbs, or fat grams, but do pay attention to amounts of protein, fiber, and iron, vitamins, calcium, etc. and thoroughly read the list of ingredients when I am considering eating something that is packaged.
- I eat within an hour of waking up and within 90 minutes of going to bed.
This certainly isn’t the entire picture and life circumstances can change any strong or poor diet at a moment’s notice, but I wanted you to see how fulfilling it can be to subsist primarily on plants. There are endless combinations and methods and I can assure you that there is, definitely, plenty to eat. 🙂