If you’re looking to eliminate all animal products in your diet, you have obviously done your research and are aware of the benefits as well as the challenges of going full veg.

Fiber will likely not be a problem as long as half your plate is filled with veggies and at least half of your grains (bread, cereal, rice and pasta) are whole grain.  Fiber makes you feel full faster and keeps you satisfied longer, curbing your urge to nibble.

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Protein is important!  It doesn’t have to come from animal products such as meat, eggs or cheese but, if you’re planning to go the herbivore route, you’re going to need a cookbook dedicated to legumes!  Beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and tofu are your new best friends.  Here are a few:

Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, to help contract muscles and transmit nerve impulses so, be sure to include fortified alternative milks.  Purchase calcium and Vit D fortified orange juice, fortified soy, almond or rice milk to name a few.  Eating canned salmon with small bones smashed or anchovies in pastas, casseroles, salads or sandwiches adds calcium to your diet.

Mix dark leafy greens, including bok choy and kale into soups or in breakfast smoothies.  Try this recipe from iowagirleats!

Green Smoothie

Mix figs and almonds into oatmeal or cereals and read nutrition facts labels.  Try not to eat anything with <3 grams fiber per serving.  Try this crockpot granola recipe from well plated.com

Q:  I do crossfit and know that protein is important.  I’ve been thinking about trying a vegan diet but I’m afraid I won’t get enough protein for my workouts.

A:  Animal products contain something called HBV, or high biological protein, which is absorbed easily in the body.  Plant proteins are not as readily absorbed, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get the protein you need from a vegan diet.  Be sure to include legumes at most meals, eat whole grain, nutrient-dense carbs at most meals and eat a large variety of grains and vegetables. Tofu, peanut butter, nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein.  Read Let’s Crunch Numbers to find out just how much protein you really need.

Q: I read to avoid dried fruit because of all the added sugars.

A: Typically, dried fruits do not contain added sugar.  Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar in nature’s fruits.  When fruit is dehydrated, the sugar content becomes more concentrated.  Dried fruits are an excellent source of potassium, fiber as well as vitamins and minerals including iron and vitamin C.

Q: If I go vegan, do I have to eat tofu?

A: No, you do not have to eat tofu.  You can include plenty of healthy plant proteins in your diet by eating beans, peas, lentils, whole grains and a variety of vegetables. 

Q: I hate spinach!  What other green leafy vegetables can I eat?

A: There are lots of green leafy veggies you can eat!  Try broccoli, kale, collard, mustard and turnip greens, chard, cabbage, watercress, green leaf lettuce, endive and arugula!

If you feel overwhelmed by all the nutrition advice, calorie recommendations and diet trends, read these: Fact. Not Fad.Let’s Crunch Numbers!Help Me To Help You!

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