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05/11/2018

Figuring Out What To Eat On A Plant-Based Or Vegan Diet

what to eat on a plant based diet

Recently a friend of mine asked me to teach him how to cook vegetarian. Today I want to address the many questions like his that I see and hear about figuring out what to eat on a plant-based or vegan diet. It’s a common question for new vegans but can also be a question for longer term vegans who are just bored with their food or feel like they have limited options.

Let me say that while I am here to be of help, I’m also a big advocate of taking time to find your own solutions because this is what will give you the freedom and confidence you want and need to make this work really in your life. As I posted in my Black Vegan Academy Facebook group this week:

“You have deep wisdom inside you. The path to finding your success must come from you. Are you listening within? What does your intuition tell you? How is your body speaking to? What has your experience shown you? The answers to your most important questions are there. These are the keys to sustain a healthy lifestyle. No magic potions. No secret formulas. The magic is you. Are you paying attention?”

This is why I’ll almost always ask you to take some action that includes your own investigation and self reflection. Whether it’s figuring out what to eat on a plant-based diet or trying to battle your cravings, or manage being vegan when you’re hanging out with friends, if you want long term success YOU have to create your own solutions. I can provide guidance and suggestions but ultimately you have to be willing to invest some time and energy in finding the solutions that best fit you. 

So, with that in mind, here are three tips for figuring out what to eat on a plant-based or vegan diet.

Tip #1 – What’s Already Plant Based?

I’m willing to bet that you already know more about cooking or making vegan/plant-based/raw food than you may believe. Let’s start by listing 5-10 things you already make or eat regularly that are vegan, or nearly vegan.

  • List 2-3 salads you already make or eat
  • List 2-3 soups that are already vegan
  • List 2-3 side dishes that are already vegan
  • List 2-3 pasta dishes that are already vegan

Tip #2 – What can you “veganize”?

When I first went vegan I found that many of my old standbys could easily be made vegan either by just eliminating the animal products or by substituting plant-based alternatives.

  • Add extra veggies instead of the meat
  • Substitute mushrooms for the meat.
  • Substitute beans for the meat
  • Give it a try to just leave off the cheese (I know it's hard to fathom but try it!) Even pizza is tasty with out cheese especially if you add other flavorful ingredients like red bell pepper, garlic, olives and basil.

For help with understanding the vegan substitutes check out this post here. Vegan Meat Alternatives- Tofu, Tempeh, TVP and Seitan

Tip #3 – Learn some plant-based basics

There are some basic concepts and techniques of making plant-based meals. Once you know these you’ll be able to create many different recipes on your own. This is ultimately what you should strive for, having the confidence and freedom to make your own recipes. 

Here is a post from the archives that will give you what I think are 7 recipes and techniques that every new vegan should learn how to make. These recipes involve the basic concepts and skills that can be built upon in creating satisfying meals. 7 Vegan Recipes Every Beginner Should Know How To Make.

If you’re eating raw, here’s one for you too. And even if you’re not trying to eat all raw, there are great recipes on this list too so check it out.  Basic Recipes For Taking The Mystery Out Of The Raw Food Diet

So there you go! Three tips for figuring out what to eat on a plant-based or vegan diet. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be able to create a sustainable and satisfying plant-based lifestyle. 

I have been at this blogging thing for quite a while now and there is a wealth of information here on this site to help you start, sustain or upgrade your plant-based lifestyle. I highly recommend that you go through the blog archives  or use the search bar to find the answers to your questions. If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, please let me know what your question is so I can make sure to address it in the future.

Which suggestion will you start with? What’s one thing you’ll commit to doing to help answer the question “What do I eat?!” Tell me in the comments below.

Till next time! Ama

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

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