The Men’s Journal Guide to Going Vegan
Posted By MJ On September 15, 2010 @ 6:00 pm In Cover Stories,Food & Drink
I. First, the Ground Rules
• Obviously red meat, poultry, and fish are all off the menu. But also no eggs or dairy, which includes ice cream, cheese, butter, and even cream in your morning coffee. Eggs and milk are also common ingredients in pastas and bread. In fact, nearly all commercial baked goods have an ingredient that’s not vegan, so it’s usually best to steer clear.
• You’ll also need to start scouring labels for egg and milk derivatives like casein or whey, two popular health-food protein sources. They’re found in a lot of snack bars, fitness foods, and, of course, protein powder supplements.
• Don’t forget multivitamins: Gelatin isn’t vegan, so find pills with a vegan coating, as listed on the label.
II. What to Expect
Your entire body will feel lighter, as the meat built up in your gut is literally forced out by the deluge of fiber from all the vegetables. You will also feel less sluggish. “You start to come out of this fog that many people have from eating heavy, fatty foods,” says Susan Levin, the director of nutrition education at the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “When you give up dairy, you immediately breathe easier.” You’ll also have to deal with cravings for things like cheese. Find an appropriate substitute, like soy cheese. Your taste buds will adjust within a week.
You will have noticeably increased energy, and you’re likely to see some slight weight loss, because your overall calorie intake has likely gone down. “Not much weight loss,” says Levin. “We don’t want people dropping weight like crazy.” With increased energy, she says, you will find your workouts getting better and, as pro athletes have noted, your recovery time will become shorter. By the end of your second week, says vegan ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, you won’t feel as achy after your workouts.
With more energy, says Levin, comes a brighter mood and outlook. According to a 2009 Arizona State University study, people who cut all meat from the diets, including fish, showed less tension and stress.
“Enjoy everything you had in week two, but even more energy and probably a final layer of weight loss,” says Levin. But really, this week is where it gets molecular. “If you were someone who was meticulous and into blood labs, you’d actually see your blood sugars and cholesterol levels go down,” says Levin. “Your blood pressure will also fall as you’re breathing better and your arteries are clearing out.”
III. Your New Shopping List
“Eating organic, whole foods does not have to be expensive,” says Jurek. “Put your dollars in fresh produce and bulk foods. The less packaged food you eat, the more you will save, and the quality of your diet will increase. And get out and explore your local farmers market.”
These will ensure you get plenty of it.
• Firm tofu: It’s easier to treat firm tofu like meat when cooking. It doesn’t break down as easily as soft tofu, which is mainly used in dips and desserts.
• Tempeh: a great ground-meat substitute for tacos and bolognese sauce
• Beans: black or pinto — no refried beans because of the lard
• Hemp or rice milk: better than soymilk, which is heavily processed
• Nuts: Nuts are a rich source of protein but often high in fat. However, it’s unsaturated fat, which may help lower cholesterol. Cashews are great for snacks between meals and when cooking Asian dishes. Pine nuts are ideal for salads.
• Almond butter: This is your peanut butter substitute. (PB is vegan, but almond butter is better for you.) Use it for sandwiches or on toast to add protein to your breakfast. We like Once Again, found in most health-food stores; Nature’s Promise, from Stop & Shop’s organic food line; and the Trader Joe’s brand.
• Hemp or brown-rice protein: for your smoothies and to sprinkle on salads
Vegetables and Fruits:
This is your new meat, not in terms of protein, but in terms of the real centerpiece of your daily meals and snacks. So go to town. Below is a list of particularly versatile options, some that pack more nutrients and proteins per gram than any others.
• Broccoli: At thirty-three percent protein, broccoli fills you up and keeps you full.
• Spinach: This is where you get your calcium now that you’ve given up milk. It’s also packed with antioxidants.
• Avocadoes: bursting with vitamins, 18 amino acids and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which help lubricate joints and reduce inflammation
• Kale: This “superplant” is rich in phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles, which research suggests protects against cancer.
• Yams and sweet potatoes: staples of the vegan diet for their density and carbs
• Leafy greens: any of the lettuces: romaine, arugula, and watercress, plus bok choy, collard greens, and artichokes
• Tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots: for salads, sandwiches, and snacking
• Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries: for smoothies, snacks, and breakfast cereals
Grains, Seeds, and Cereals:
• Brown rice
• Whole-wheat bread: preferably from a bakery
• Steel-cut oats: The inner parts of the oat kernel, much less processed than rolled oats or old-fashioned oatmeal. Great for a hearty fall or winter breakfast.
• Chia seeds: This new vegan fad food is the offspring of those claymate Chia Pet sproutings. It was the main source of fuel for Aztec warriors and has recently caught on with the health crowd, thanks to its superfood qualities. Chia seeds are packed with protein, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and soluble fiber, which helps stabilize blood-glucose levels. Bake them into cookies or eat them by the handful.
• Granola: Some granola may contain eggs, honey, or other non-vegan ingredients, so be careful.
• Whole grain-based cereals: like Kashi brand
Vegan Energy Bars: Your best friends at the airport, long car rides, and between office meetings. Here are some of the best.
• Vega bars: Triathlete Brendan Brazier concocted these himself. His entire Vega food line is worth checking out.
• Kind Bar
Supplements: If you’re superathletic and working on strength training, you can build your daily protein intake by adding these to your shakes, cereals, or salads.
• Hemp protein
• Brown-rice protein
Ready-made meals: This is all cook-and-eat food. Have a few of these in your fridge or freezer for those late work nights when you can’t prepare anything yourself.
• Field Roast: Its Celebration Roast is great for a large party or days of leftovers.
• Gardein: Everything from meatless buffalo wings and ribs to “Chick’n Scaloppini.”
• Turtle Island Foods: Creator of the much-mocked holiday Tofurky, it also makes Tofurky pizza.
IV. Your Meal Plan: Six Go-To Vegan Recipes
Scott Jurek’s Blueberry Ultra Power Smoothie
1 banana, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup pre-soaked almonds (soak 1/4 cup almonds in water 3 to 4 hours or
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
2 1/2 cups of water
3 tbsp Green Foods Vegan Protein Powder
6 dates or 2 to 3 tbsp natural sweetener
3 tbsp Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend
2 tbsp raw maca powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or raw vanilla powder
Blend all until smooth. (For an extra-hardy breakfast, eat with 6 to 8 oz soy or coconut-milk yogurt, mixed with 2 tbsp hemp protein powder and one banana.)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large organic apple, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup of walnuts
Put all ingredients in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to very low. Cover and simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until oats are tender and water is mostly absorbed. Serve with sweetener of your choice with a little freshly grated nutmeg on top.
The Big Salad (with side of quinoa and/or lentils)
3 cups dark leafy greens or raw lacinato/black kale
1 roma tomato
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, dash sea salt and black pepper
3 cups cooked quinoa
Top with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 to 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp paprika.
2 cups cooked green lentils
Top with 1 tsp each of olive oil, minced garlic, ginger, and curry spice, plus 1/4 tsp sea salt.
Spicy BLT Wrap
1/2 (6-oz) package smoky bacon-style tempeh
1 tsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp Bragg’s or soy sauce (divided)
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (divided)
1/2 to 3/4 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
1-1/2 tsp veggie bacon bits
About 1 cup of salad greens (a mix of red lettuce/green lettuce/spinach)
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (Nayonaise)
6 to 8 grape or cherry tomatoes
2 large flatbreads, or burrito-sized tortillas of choice
1. Chop tempeh into1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. Mix oil with 1/4 tsp each of Bragg’s, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Heat oil mixture, and sauté tempeh for 5–8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2. While the tempeh cooks, mix vegan mayo with remaining 1/4 tsp each of Bragg’s and liquid smoke. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot sauce, to taste. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
3. When tempeh is ready, combine it with 1-1/2 tsp of veggie “bacon” bits, and remove from heat.
4. Heat flatbread/tortillas slightly, in microwave/oven/large skillet (whichever you prefer). Spread half of the mayo mixture down the middle of each flatbread/tortilla; add half the tempeh mixture to each, and top with greens & tomatoes. Wrap up and enjoy!
Courtesy of Vegweb.com
Scott Jurek’s Tempeh Tacos
1/2 medium-size onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 8-ounce packages tempeh, diced into 1/8- to 1/16-inch cubes
4 tbsp Mexican seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
12 whole-grain or corn tortillas
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1 jalapeño, finely minced (if more spice desired)
1. Sauté onion, garlic, and jalapeño in olive oil until soft. Add diced tempeh and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add seasoning, salt, and water. Cook the mixture 10 to 25 minutes, until enough liquid evaporates that you’re left with a thickened sauce.
2. Just before serving add cilantro and stir. Heat tortillas over a griddle or wrapped in foil in the oven.
3. Fill each tortilla with 2 or 3 tbsp of tempeh.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Roasted Vegetables with Pasta
1 red onion
1 large red bell pepper
1 lb fresh asparagus
2 cups button mushrooms
1 tsp garlic powder or granules
1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 to 12 oz dry pasta
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 500°.
1. Cut onion and bell pepper into generous bite-sized pieces. Remove tough ends from asparagus, then break into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Clean mushrooms and cut off any tough stems.
2. Place all the vegetables into a large bowl and sprinkle with garlic powder or granules, Italian herbs, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss to mix.
3. Spread in a single layer in 1 or 2 large baking dishes. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta according to directions, then drain and arrange on a large platter.
5. Top with the roasted vegetables and chopped tomatoes.
Easy Bean Dip
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.
Makes 6 servings; courtesy of Nutritionmd.org
Article printed from Men's Journal: http://archive.mensjournal.com
URL to article: http://archive.mensjournal.com/vegan
Copyright © 2009 Men's Journal. All rights reserved.