Today on OHH, Carrie Forrest from Carrie on Vegan shared an insightful interview with Brenda Davis, R.D. and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D., authors of the brand-new book Becoming Vegan, Express Edition: The Everyday Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition (The Book Publishing Co., 2013) – which is a follow-up to their previous book, Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy, Plant-Based Diet (The Book Publishing Co., 2000). #PRIVATE# Though the interview went into serious eye-opening detail about some of the ins and outs of vegan health, my favorite part of the interview was (perhaps not surprisingly) when Brenda and Vesanto shared with us their “coming out” vegan stories.
Brenda’s story particularly moved me. Years ago, when her friend stopped by her house on the way to going deer hunting, and she criticized him for it, he responded with this: “You have no right to criticize me. Just because you don’t have the guts to pull the trigger does not mean you are not responsible for the trigger being pulled every time you buy a piece of meat in the grocery store. You are simply paying someone to do the dirty work for you. At least the deer I eat has had a life. I doubt very much you can say the same for the animals sitting on your plate.”
Brenda goes on to say, “I was silenced, because I knew deep down inside he was absolutely right.”
Powerful stuff, eh? Reminds me of how absolutely vital it is to speak up, whenever and however we can, when it comes to animals. It’s ironic, to say the least, that the one speaking up in this case was a hunter! I’m grateful to him anyway. Had that not happened, I wonder if Becoming Vegan and the new follow-up edition would have been written. I only hope that Brenda’s metamorphosis into a stellar vegan advocate has resulted in her friend’s understanding his own lack of compassion.
Regardless, like Carrie, I’m so grateful for the work of both Brenda and Vesanto, and I’m elated that they are in the spotlight on OHH today. And because we all adore you, our darling flock, I’m excited to share with you Brenda and Vesanto’s take on a day in the life of a healthy vegan.
Our Hen House: Can you give us a day in the life of a healthy vegan diet?
Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina: Here are three examples that provide all the recommended levels of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. Two are easy for beginners, and the third is a description of Brenda’s usual food intake, which takes more preparation.
1. The first is a 1,600-calorie pattern; it could be for someone who is small or wants to lose weight.
Breakfast: 1/2 cup each of fruit, fortified nondairy milk, and cooked cereal (or 1 ounce dry cereal).
Lunch: 2 cups of lentil-vegetable soup, 4 crackers; raw veggies.
Supper: Stir-fry of vegetables and calcium-set tofu; 1/2 cup each of cooked whole grain and of fortified nondairy milk.
Snacks: (any time): Shake (banana, blueberries, fortified chocolate soy milk, hempseeds); favorite fruit.
2. The second is a 2,500-calorie pattern for someone with high energy needs.
Breakfast: Bagel with peanut butter or nut butter; smoothie with banana, strawberries, seeds (sunflower or hemp), and calcium-fortified juice or nondairy milk.
Lunch: 1 1/2 sandwiches (whole-grain bread, hummus or veggie “meat” slices, tomato lettuce, vegan mayo).
Supper: 1 cup each of baked beans or vegetarian chili; baked squash or yam; steamed broccoli; baked potato; buttery spread.
Snacks (any time): 1 cup trail mix (walnuts, favorite dried fruit); 1 cup fortified nondairy milk or yogurt; sweet treat (optional).
3. Third is Brenda’s typical day, providing about 2,000 calories. Although this eating style involves more food preparation, it maximizes protective components such as antioxidants and fiber, and minimizes harmful dietary components such as salt, sugar, added fats, refined carbohydrates, and products of oxidation.
Breakfast: 1/4 cup sprouted grains, 1/4 cup dehydrated, homemade granola, 1 tablespoon flax, chia, and hempseeds, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup other fruit, 1 cup fortified soymilk or homemade almond milk; ½ cup nondairy plain yogurt. Sometimes 4 ounces of green juice.
Lunch: 1 1/2 cups homemade lentil soup, 2 large dehydrated crackers, 2 tablespoons cashew cheese (homemade), fresh tomato slices, fresh avocado, and one piece of fruit or a stuffed date.
Dinner: Huge organic salad with kale and a variety of greens, several different raw vegetables, cooked vegetables (usually yams, beets, and/or green beans), beans or tofu, pumpkin or sunflower seeds and tahini dressing.
Dessert or Snack: “Ice cream” – frozen bananas processed in a juicer or Vitamix (with nondairy yogurt or milk), and berries and walnuts or peanuts on top.
Changing to a vegan dietary pattern may seem a little daunting at first, but that can be part of any change of habits. It’s fine to do this in a gradual way, or just jump in. Becoming Vegan, Express Edition will give you the confidence to adopt a plant-based diet that will lay a foundation of optimal health for you and your family. Please visit the websites of Brenda and Vesanto for more information.