Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5 Steps to Start a Nutritional Vegan Diet (posted by Tessa)

To start eating exceptionally, try these simple steps:

1. Unload!
Get Rid of the Bad Food:

  • You must get this stuff out of your house.  
  • No processed food, refined sugars, or animal protein.  
  • Don't use it up... Donate it:  to the food bank, anyone who would buy that stuff normally, anyone who could use a helping hand, or throw it away.  Maybe put it in your chest freezer until you can unload it.  
  • Further poisoning yourself is not a good plan.  
  • Just move forward with courage. 
  • Let it go...

2.  Time to Shop!
Go Buy the Good Food:

  • Shop for just 3-4 days' worth of food.   Produce does not last long.  
  • You need time to learn where new foods are in your store.
  • You will shop in just few sections of the store, but will spend a looong time in the produce area.  
  • Buy organics if you can.  It really is scientifically better for you to not have pesticides in your body.

Holding your hand, I'll help you buy to get started:

  • Produce section:  Let's get some:
    • greens- spinach is rather tasteless, so works great! Get 3 bunches of it (or any combo of greens)
    • fruits (bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, in-season fruits)
    • veggies (carrots, onions, tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms, red potatoes, red & yellow bell peppers, any sprouts, other in-season veggies)
    • berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries & blackberries)
    • Most of what you buy is in this produce section.
  • Bread (only whole grain!!):  deli flats, pita pockets, and/or sandwich bread 
  • Tortillas:  Corn tortillas to make your own chips, whole grain flour tortillas for healthy tacos
  • Canned veggies:  
    • Black beans- Organic
    • Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)- Organic
    • Corn kernels- organic only (because of GMO's), no salt added
    • tomatoes- diced or whole, no salt added if possible
  • Bulk section:  
    • cereals:  museli, oats, granolas (avoid oils)
    • dried fruits: raisins & dates
    • seeds:  raw sesame, chia, & pumpkin seeds
    • raw walnuts
  • Pasta:  whole grain only
  • Rice:  whole grain brown only
  • Peanut Butter machine- if store has a machine, grind some peanut butter with no oil, just peanuts.  Tap the container to settle it and add more.
  • Vitamins- a bottle of B12, the "methyl" kind not the "cyno" kind
  • Dairy section- Silk Almond Milk- a carton of the 30 calories regular or 35 calories vanilla
  • Red Wine- in moderation :)
Avoid soy and corn unless they say "organic" because of GMO's.

3.  Let's Eat!
Make Some Healthy Meals

Now you've got the food to make these healthy meals:

Day 1:
  • Breakfast:  Green Smoothie:  Blend 4 ingredients:  Spinach, banana, almond milk, & cinnamon.  Blend a scoop of ice at the end to chill. Easy!  Take a B12 vitamin.  Have a little granola mid-morning if hungry.
  • Lunch:  Pita sandwich:  Cut a pita pocket in half.  Open the pocket and line both halves with hummus (Make your own:  blend a can of chickpeas, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic, a little salt, and water), then spinach leaves, tomato and avocado slices, raw onion and stuff in some sprouts- yum! (I eat both halves)
  • Snack: Whole Fruits - grab a fruit and eat it.  Have some berries.  Drink lots of water.
  • Dinner:  Spaghetti- cook whole grain pasta and make a sauce of chopped mushrooms, onion, and real or canned tomatoes with a dash of wine, spinach salad with seeds, raisins, veggies, etc.

Day 2:
  • Breakfast:  Granola with Almond Milk, B12 vitamin
  • Lunch:  Spinach salad with lots of veggies, seeds, and dried fruit
  • Snack:  Hummus with veggies:  dip carrots, squash or zuchinni slices into hummus
  • Dinner:  Tacos: tortillas with black beans, corn, tomatoes, red peppers and guacamole.  Microwave 22 seconds each.  Extra:  Baked Corn Chips- cut a stack of corn tortillas into triangles, bake 10+ min. on 350 degrees, flipping at halftime.  They are crisp when done, not chewy, so bake until crisp.  Dip in fresh guacamole (avocado, garlic, lime, tiny bit of salt)

Day 3:
  • Breakfast:  Green Smoothie with berries, B12 vitamin
  • Lunch:  Microwaved red potato (eat the skin too) with salsa, tomatoes, black beans, and hummus
  • Snack:  Banana or apple slices spread with a tiny bit of peanut butter or almond butter
  • Dinner:  Brown rice with stir-fried veggies (no oil, just use water and a non-stick pan)

Easy choices for any meal:  smoothies, juices you juice yourself, and salads!

Still hungry?  Eat some more!
  • Eat all the veggies and fruits you need.  Try to eat a ratio of 2/3rds veggies, 1/3 fruits.  
  • Drink lots of water- sometimes thirst is disguised as hunger.  
  • I insist on never going hungry, but I choose my foods carefully. :) Listen to your body.
  • Eat lots of greens every day! 
  • Dr. Fuhrman says the more greens you eat, the faster you'll lose weight 
  • Limit nuts and seeds- they are little fat pills.  
  • Half an avocado a day is enough if you're trying to lose weight.
  • Eat fresh fruits more often than dried fruits (which have concentrated sugar)

  • Water is your best choice
  • Teas are good too, particularly herbal or medicinal tea blends
  • Avoid cafeine and other addictive substances 
  • Say "no" to soft drinks, drinks with sugar or dyes added, etc.  You can't have exceptional health with all those chemicals in you.  

4. Game on!
Get the tools

Cookbooks:  Your old recipes will be challenging. You'll really benefit by using a Vegan recipe book or two to get started.  Engine 2 is my favorite, but see here for more.  Online recipes are everywhere!  Here's a favorite.

Blender:  A Blendtec or Vitamix will be used many times a day and will be worth the money.  Get a used one on Ebay if you want, but get a high-speed, immersion blender and your life will never be the same.  It can make awesome creamy vegan "ice cream" out of frozen fruit.  Need I say more?

Juicer:  optional in my opinion, but a terrific tool.  It will offer you an appealing way to boost energy, detox, lose weight quickly, cleanse, and generally be a fun option.

Rice Cooker:  a 7 or 8 cup one would be helpful.  Whole-grain rice is a good grain.

5. Help!
Find Support

The more people in your household eating on the healthy plan, the easier. So enlist participants!

  • Get and read "Eat to Live" by Dr. Fuhrman and "The China Study" by Dr. Campbell-understanding the poison will help you avoid it
  • Find other Vegans- Find a local Vegan Meetup group or start one
  • Library books- get vegan recipe books and read the best authors, listed here
  • Watch Nutritional videos- on Netflix and Amazon prime, or free on Hulu.com
  • Read Nutritional blogs- like Green Smoothie Girl
  • "Friend" Facebook sources of healthy nutritional inspiration
  • Visit a Farmers Market- just ask if they "spray" their produce (organic certification is too expensive for small farmers)

That's it!  You're eating a healthy, plant-based diet!

Give your body time to detox, heal, and recover and you will soon be zinging around like the teenager you once were (or hoped to be)!  
Your life will never be the same.  
Just keep going!

Future Cooking Tips:
  • Our ultimate cooking goal is no added SOS:  Salt, Oil, or Sugar
  • In time, you will learn of other handy ingredients:  asian sauces (Bragg's Amino Acids, Tamari), Sweeteners (honey, agave, stevia, maple syrup- used judiciously), raw almond butter, etc
  • You will soak nuts before eating them to release the enzyme inhibitor.  Here's a chart for soak times (also has sprouting times)
  • You'll make your own savory salad dressings
  • You will learn to use more spices in cooking because your taste buds change and pick up on more flavors once you've eliminated sugar, animal oil and fat from your system.
  • Exploring ethnic dishes and restaurants will be fun- they often have vegan options and use many of good spices.  

Hope these simple steps help propel you toward a wonderful lifestyle change!

Want more help getting started?  Watch the Forks Over Knives- Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue for more tips.  In that movie, Rip Esselstyn goes to peoples' houses to help them with these steps:  Unload, shop, cook, and help themselves with proper tools.  I found it very helpful.

Here's an inspirational article on how to just begin.

We love feedback, so please share.  Success stories are happily featured as Guest Bloggers on Vegan Vagabonds.  We are here to help!

To your exceptional health! 



  1. Your blog is helping me to make better choices, but I still love fish and dairy, and will continue eating those - for now. I love reading the posts from people who are doing so well with this eating style. Small steps for me. :)

  2. I can't give up fish either and eat it once a week. It helps me also to read about people who are getting healthier through diet.