So you think you want to be a vegan? Transitioning from a vegetarian to a vegan doesn’t have to be hard. It can even be easy for meat eaters to switch to a vegan diet when they know what to eat and how to plan out some meals. Knowing what you’re doing will make all the difference when you decide that you want to follow a vegan diet.
Why Go Vegan?
There are a number of reasons people decide to make the switch to a vegan diet. Some people do it for personal or ethical reasons, while others are just looking to make changes to their health. Some of the most common reasons people decide to go vegan are:
Vegans tend to be thinner than meat and dairy eaters, and if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, going vegan is a great place to start. On the average, vegans are a whopping 20 pounds lighter than meat eaters!
Protect the Environment
Eating meat is not at all environmentally friendly. The meat industry is one of the biggest catalysts for climate change, it causes tons of pollution, and it is extremely wasteful. Adopting a vegan diet is one of the best things you can do in helping to protect the environment.
The conditions animals are raised in for meat and dairy consumption are actually terrible, and unless you’re getting your meat and dairy from a local farm, the animals you’re consuming were raised and treated in horrible conditions.
Turned Off By Meat
Some people just start to think meat is gross. Meat is often full of bacteria, feces, and blood, all of which goes directly into your system. Animals and animal products are the top reason for food poisoning in the United States.
Increased Health and Wellness
Following a vegan diet is great for your health and overall wellness. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The Protein Predicament
There is actually no predicament whatsoever when it comes to getting the protein your body needs, yet this is something people think is impossible when following a vegan diet. There are tons of places to get your protein from non-animal sources and vegans have more than a few different options when it comes to getting plenty of protein.
Have you ever heard kale referred to as the “new beef?” It got this nickname because it is actually loaded with protein. Two cups of cooked kale has 5 grams of protein, while one cup of spinach has a whole 7 grams.
Peanut, almond, and cashew butter have plenty of the protein your body needs. Just two tablespoons of any of these butters offers about 8 grams of protein.
Try pinto, kidney, or black beans and you’ll get about 15 grams of protein per cup. They’re also full of the fiber your body needs.
Lentils make for a great soup, are a great ingredient for homemade veggie burgers and have about 18 grams of protein per cup. Who says you need to eat a steak to get your protein when you’ve got alternatives like lentils?
Tempeh is super popular amongst vegans. The reason? One cup of tempeh has about 30 grams of protein. It’s also fermented, so it’s a natural probiotic!
While some tofu is heavily processed, it is still one of the most popular vegan protein sources available. One cup has about 9 grams of protein. Just be sure to get organically produced, non-GMO varieties.
Soy milk, almond milk, and hemp milk are all full of protein. Adding a cup to your granola or oatmeal in the mornings will give you up to 9 grams of protein.
Ounce for ounce, chia seeds contain more protein than a steak. One ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein. They can be added to a smoothie, sprinkled on a salad, added to a veggie burger recipe or casserole, or even eaten plain. They’re also packed full of many other nutrients your body needs.
Easy One Week Vegan Meal Plan
The following easy one-week meal plan is geared towards new vegans who need a little help, but can also serve as a great guide for those vegans who find themselves eating the same meals over and over. Bon Appetite!
Soy Yogurt mixed with Granola
Veggie Burger Lettuce Wrap
Roasted Vegetables over Whole Grain Noodles
Oatmeal with Bananas and Nut Milk
Tofu Salad Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread
Sliced Avocado and Tomato
Fresh Greens Salad
Fresh Fruit Salad
Whole Grain Toast with Jam
Hummus and Pita Chips
Carrot, Cucumber, and Celery Sticks
Black Bean Burritos
Fresh Guacamole or Sliced Avocado
Granola and Soy or Nut Milk
Fresh Fruit Smoothie
Avocado, Spinach, Bell Pepper, Hummus Wrap
Pretzels or Pita Chips
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
Kale and Chia Seed Power Smoothie
Whole Wheat Pasta Salad
Sliced Tomatoes with Balsamic Vinegar and Oil
Quinoa with Steamed Broccoli, Kale, and Carrots
Fresh Greens Salad
Rice Cakes with Nut Butter and Raisins
Carrot Ginger Soup
Guacamole or Avocado
Papaya with Fresh Lime
Pancakes with Fresh Berries and Organic Maple Syrup
Risotto with Marinara, Sundried Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil
Spinach, Tomato, and Warm Quinoa Salad
Recipes For One Week Vegan Meal Plan
Lunch: Talk about fast food! You won’t even miss the drive-thru with this 10 minute Veggie Burger Lettuce Wrap. Get creative and experiment with your favorite toppings. The possibilities are endless!
Dinner: This Whole Wheat Noodles and Roasted Veggie recipe will bring a taste of Italy to your table! For a flavorful twist, use your favorite veggies to shake things up a bit. This is a great recipe to get rid of veggie odds and ends and leftovers. Frugal and satisfying!
Lunch: Craving an egg salad sandwich? This Tofu Salad Sandwich is just the ticket! All of the flavor and none of the sulfur smell of egg salad, so you can take it to work. Once you’ve mastered this basic recipe, be bold and add a dash of your favorite seasonings!
Dinner: There’s nothing like a bowl of thick hearty Lentil Soup to hit the spot after a busy day. Frugal and full of flavor, this recipe can easily be adapted for a slow cooker.
Dinner: Grilled Portobello Mushrooms are a quick, savory way to add that smoky grilled flavor to a Vegan diet. Add a side of the grilled veggies of your choice, and you have an easy-peasy Summer meal!
Breakfast: Start the day off with a flavor kick with this Chia Kale Smoothie. Get creative and use whatever fruit you have on hand.
Lunch: Relax with a steaming bowl of Carrot Ginger Soup. Just the thing for a cozy Saturday with the family!
Dinner: Tickle your taste buds with these Tempeh Tacos. Add a splash of lime and homemade guacamole, and you’ll have a meal that rivals your favorite Mexican restaurant.
Lunch: Vegan Chili is a filling favorite that’s perfect for game day. Garnish with your favorite vegan toppings, and you’ve got a crowd pleaser!
- Fresh fruits of your choice for fruit salad and sides
- 1 papaya
- 6 bananas
- berries of your choice
- 3 limes
- 5 avocados
- 2 lbs. carrots
- 8 tomatoes
- 2 bunches kale
- 2 pkgs spinach
- 4 Portobello mushrooms
- 4 onions
- 1 bunch green onions
- zucchini or other squash for grilled veggies
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts
- leaf lettuce
- 2 pkgs vegan tortillas
- 1 pkg tempeh
- 2 pkg extra firm tofu
- fresh cilantro
- fresh ginger
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 3 boxes veggie broth
- 4 cans chili beans
- 3 cans black beans
- 1 lb. lentils
- curry powder
- chili powder
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- balsamic vinegar
- maple syrup
- whole wheat noodles
Have you tried a vegan diet? What was your experience like? We want to know! Please share in the comments below!