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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vegan food pyramid - for everyone!

Hello dear readers!

Vegan Thursday's yet again!

Today I want to introduce you the vegan food pyramid!
Now whether you are vegan already or thinking about it...  on a temp or permanent basis, this pyramid is a guideline as to what you can (should) eat and in which amount! Even if you are not vegan, this is a pretty good indication!

As you can see, on the basis of the pyramid are fruits and veggies.  This consist the major part of a vegan diet. Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibers as well as glucose (mostly fruits) and starch (mostly root veggies) that our system needs as sources of fuel.  Glucose is used by your brain - it is in fact the ONLY source of energy your brain uses for all it has to do!  As for starch, it is use as long term energy by our system because it is long to break down (digest) and it supplies our body with a continuous flow of energy without triggering peak of blood sugar - triggering a need for insulin from our pancreas. A not commonly know fact is that most fruits and veggies do contain some protein - sometimes in traces only but in other cases, like avocados, it is significant! You should eat slightly more veggies then fruits as per directions up above. It is important to diversify the fruits and veggies you eat as they actually contain different vitamins and minerals. You should always eat the skin... when it is edible...  If possible go organic... if not, wash and brush them before eating. A good trick to wash them it to let them soak in water with some vinegar for a while, the water will become dirty, the fruits and veggies clean and they wont taste once rinsed out!

Next in line are whole grains.  Whole grains include wheat (if you are not gluten sensitive), rye, spelt, oat, millet, corn, barley, rice, kamut, quinoa and probably more that I forgot to mention! It also includes pasta and bread as long as they are made with whole grains.  Refined bread, rice, pasta should be avoided because in the refine process, all the nutrition is actually removed! The only reason why we are doing this is because at one point, it was decided for us that we like "white" stuff more then "brown" stuff! What do you find in whole grains? Vitamins, minerals, fibers, carbohydrates (the good kind is found in whole grains) and even some proteins! Quinoa is even what we call a complete protein (in that is contains all the essential amino acids - like meat - minus the bad fats!)! There again, try to switch up what you eat...  it add variety in taste, texture but also in nutriments! You are allowed up to 5 1/2 cups of whole grains!  To be honest, I rarely make it to that much... I tend to stick closer to 3 cups! That, to me is a LOT of grains!

Moving up, we have fortified dairy substitute, beans (legumes), seeds and nuts.  These will provide yet more vitamins and minerals... once again fibers... and LOTS of proteins! In some instance, they even have good fats that your body needs to protect your organs - but NO cholesterol which we always try to escape from! As per above, quantity are about similar.  You may have to try different dairy substitute and you may even use different ones for different tasks...  You can experiment with different type of milk: oat, almond, rice, soy, hemp.  I use mostly almond for smoothies and baking and soy for cooking. But you may find different!  The one thing you have to checked it that it is fortified with vitamins. As for beans (legumes) you need to work it out... they might take some time getting use too but once you do, they are wonderful!  Also loaded with starch and proteins, they ensure your meals are satisfying and that you do not feel hungry 1h after you're done eating. Nuts and seeds can be handled as a snack with dried fruits or fresh fruits... but also added to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, sautéed veggies and sprinkled on a variety of meals.

Last but not least, you have sugar and fats.  This refers to baked goods, deserts, spreads...  when using oil, it should be liquid... sugar raw and not refined as much as possible.... but we all do deserve some treats! Let's enjoy them... once in a while!  They do not provide nutrition to our body but they are, after all, feel good food!  Nutrition for the soul! :-)  

All that said, you may have notice on the side a referral to water... they suggest 8 cups.  Water could be discussed in great length but let's just aim to have a slight yellow pee.  That should work out!  Remember that fruits, veggies, soups, smoothies, teas all contain some liquid and it does count as water!

Now if you would like to know more about the digestion process and nutriments needed... and why we need them, as well as some nice recipe to include more beans (legumes) in your meals, you can check out my eBook!  2$ on Amazon and it has many recipe good for experience vegans as well as newbees!  You can check it out here

If you want to try an amazing Brussel sprout recipe check it out here

and here's a picture....


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