How to Eat a Healthy Vegan Diet and Be Thin and Active – For Adults and Children
The following recommendations are based on hours of research on the latest scientific findings about human populations and measurable effects of diet on longevity and health, from leading plant based medical doctors.
Plus, we have used trial and error of different types of meals/proportions and recommend this daily eating guide, based on how we feel ourselves, how much energy we have, how much we weigh, and what our kids want to eat.
When we first went whole foods vegan we lost weight very quickly, results are immediate.
You can expect the same. Greg lost 20 lbs down to 190 lbs and I lost 6 lbs down to 122 lbs in 4 weeks. I especially noticed weight loss on my upper arms, around my ribs and my legs. I bet we lost a lot of fat around our internal organs too, fat there is really unhealthy.
Over the last couple years, we started eating a bit too much starch,
my husband had gained weight (even as a vegan) back up to 210 lbs and I was feeling low energy, but still weighed about 122 lbs.
Increasing our dark leafy greens resulted in fast weight loss and higher energy.
In April of 2017 we discovered Dr. Furhman’s recommendations and increased the proportion of the most nutritious vegetables (leafy greens) eating those instead of as much whole grains.
My husband went from 210 lbs to 193 lbs in 4 weeks eating more dark leafy vegetables.
I went from 122 lbs to 115 lbs, and my energy levels went way, way up.
Based on our trials and experience since 2013, I share our vegan eating tips with you.
For us the key to staying vegan is to remain focused on our health goals and environmental goals.
It’s really quite easy to stay whole foods vegan because our stomachs feel so much better, and if we eat animal products we don’t feel good.
Use these pie chart proportions to plan the best way to eat vegan, for lots of energy, and to lose and maintain weight without effort.
We are still gradually losing weight eating the following way (unless we get lazy and eat a bunch of restaurant meals, or buy a packaged snack).
I expect I might stabilize around 112lbs and Greg around 185lbs – right at the weights Dr. Furman recommends for our heights for maximum life span.
Studies show skinny people live longer.
Adult Meal = Greens + Fruit or Vegetable + A Little Starch + A Little Protein
Use the percentages in the adult vegan proportions pie chart as a guideline for a single day.
For adults, think about meals as firstly being composed of a vegetable (lunch and supper) or fruit (breakfast), then add a little whole grain starch and some protein or nuts with a no oil dressing/sauce/spices.
If you want to lose weight really quickly, and actually increase your energy, start most adult lunch and supper meals with a plate of dark leafy greens, like spinach. Pile the meal (made of vegetables, starch, and protein) on top. Have a fruit for a bedtime snack.
Beans are the perfect protein because they are the right amount of protein and carbs. You can eat vegetables and beans with no starch and get lots of energy. This makes a great lunch. Typically we will add a bit of starch at dinner, because it tastes great.
Kids Meal = Starch + Vegetable or Fruit + A Little Protein
Use the percentages in the children vegan proportions pie chart as a guideline for a single day.
For kids, because they need more energy, and can resist some vegetables and resistant to sauces that give calories, think about kids meals as first being composed of a whole grain starch such as potatoes, brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, corn, or quinoa.
Then fill 1/3 the plate with vegetables or fruit and 1/4 with a protein. Most kids love tofu and plain beans and lemon juice as a sauce.
I get my kids to eat dark leafy greens by including spinach or bok choy in soup, pizza sauce, and spaghetti sauce. Especially in soup. We eat soup once a week for supper plus lunch leftovers. They enjoy plain romaine lettuce, but we are working on salads more than that. It is a work in progress.
My kids love plain broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, carrots and cabbage. They really love plain vegetables. So they eat vegetables every dinner and most lunches as leftovers. Our conflicts usually come from the fact that Greg and I want spices and sauces on our meals, the kids don’t.
Our kids eat whole grain cereal (Cheerios, Mini Wheats) with unsweetened soy milk for weekday breakfast, and whole grain waffles with loads of berries on top on weekends.
They like fruit and smoothies and toast with fruit for snacks.
General Guidelines – Follow These to Be a Healthy Whole Foods Plant Based Vegan
Eat only whole plant based foods.
As much as possible, choose “whole foods” – which means not altered from how it grew.
Olives instead of olive oil, an apple instead of apple juice. Beans instead of protein powder or vegan nuggets.
For pasta, rice, oatmeal, and bread, whole grain instead of refined. Whole wheat instead of white flour, brown rice, brown pasta, stone ground oats, or quick cooking oats, quinoa, barley, cornmeal.
Whole grains are the whole grain kernel with the bran, germ, and endosperm intact. Refined grains started out as whole grains, but then are processed to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life. During processing, the bran and germ are removed, which also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.
Edamame soy beans are better than tempeh which is better than tofu which is better than soy milk.
Choose a rainbow of colours.
Try for some green and cruciferous vegetables daily. Start adult lunch and supper meals with a plate of leafy greens. Pile the meal on top. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables over the course of a week, and over a month.
Choose foods that have the most nutrition per calorie.
This is the secret to high energy. Vegetables have the highest nutrition per calorie.
Only eat foods that contain fibre.
Animal products contain no fibre. Processed foods with oils added often have reduced fibre.
High fibre ensures wonderful digestive regularity and health, poop once a day, no bloating, no acid indigestion, never diarrhoea, and no smelly gas.
Cook supper at home most of the time.
Eat leftovers for lunch. Entertain company often. Our house, our food.
Avoid processed food and drinks.
No soda pop, no candy bars, or candy. No purchased bags of snacks. Limited juice.
Especially green tea. Glorious tea.
Do not cook with or use oils, margarine, or any added fats.
All veganEnvy recipes are no oil, fat-free. Oils reduce arterial function and cause inflammation inside our bodies, plus they clog up our blood vessels leading to heart disease, erectile dysfunction, stroke, alzheimers, obesity and dementia.
Use dried dates/fruit instead of sugars and syrups.
Sugar (even less processed sugar, like brown sugar, honey and maple syrup) cause inflammation, dried fruits repair it.
Eat every two hours and take snacks with you everywhere you go.
Keep your body running and humming by continuously feeding it healthy nutrition filled fibre. Take an apple, or orange, or yellow pepper or carrots or a banana with you if you run errands. Have nuts and dried fruit in your desk drawer or whole grain fig newton type snacks for emergencies. Choose whole fruits as snacks in between meals as much as you can.
Schedule a daily 3:00 green smoothie to stay energized throughout the afternoon and then you won’t get too hungry before dinner.
Eat no animal products, no dairy, no fish, no eggs, no poultry, no beef. No cheese, no sour cream, no yogurt. If came from an animal do not eat it.
Don’t stress out about organic and GMO
You don’t need to eat organic or non GMO to get serious benefits and results from a plant based diet.
The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. We buy much of our produce in bulk at Costco, a good portion is organic, but not all of it. The highest concentrations of pesticides are in animals, because they eat a lot of plants and it concentrates in them. You are avoiding that.
Be flexible (go out and have fun!)
Accept that society makes it hard for children to eat vegan, (think birthday parties, school snacks, friends houses, kids menus) we let the kids pick what they eat when they are not in our house. This usually means they eat animal products once or twice a week.
Eat added oils in restaurants, but try to avoid them. Research in advance and choose restaurants with better healthy low fat vegan choices.
Drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol.
on some weekends. Ok, sometimes we drink high amounts of alcohol, but we notice we recover quicker now that we are plant based, so hopefully we aren’t damaging our bodies too much!
Drink soy milk.
We used to drink Almond milk, but I feel more energetic after soy milk, and I want the kids to get the protein from their drinks, so that is what we drink.
Take B12 and Vitamin D,
but no other supplements.
Typical examples for us include walking, Beachbody workout videos, jumping on our trampoline, swimming, watersports.
Practice body alignment exercises daily.
As we got older, we started suffering from aches and pains caused by our computer desk lifestyles.
The Pain Free book by Pete Egoscue gave us a way to simply manage muscular-skeletal issues from toes to top of our head, with simple exercises you can do while watching TV. Changed my life.
Eat a bedtime snack.
My favourite is a whole fruit (oranges, apples are great) and a glass of low fat soy milk (about 70 calories per cup and 6g protein). I can wake up in the night if I don’t have some protein (beans, nuts or soy milk) before bed. If I have my protein snack I sleep soundly through the night.
If I do wake up, I drink a glass of soy milk and it puts me right back to sleep.
The rest of my family just likes fruit as their bedtime snack. This habit ensures they get fruit every day.
Use as many different spices as you can on every single meal. Spices are concentrated plants and we are just learning about all the phytonutrients and benefits spices convey.
For example, 1 tsp daily of ginger powder totally works as a pain killer, especially for headaches and menstrual cramps. Try it!
Please, let me know what you think and if you are confused about any of these recommendations in the comments!
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VeganEnvy recipes are easy, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based and nutrition rich. Real food my family eats, and techniques we use to cook.
- less than 25% calories from fat, and no added oils (why no-oil cooking?)
- whole-foods instead of processed foods (why switch to whole-foods? Our journey 🙂)
- whole grains (how to choose healthy grains)
- low or no sugar
- high fibre (cure IBS and digestive issues)
- high nutrient plants, including fruit, greens, beans, legumes, soy, spices, seeds and nuts.
- no animal products, dairy-free (you don't need meat for muscle)
- no tricks (I am not going to say a recipe is healthy if it isn't).
I choose ingredients that are proven to prevent and reverse disease, based on scientific studies, such as those reviewed on nutritionfacts.org and findings published by whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) experts featured in the Forks Over Knives (FOK) and What the Health documentaries FOK trailer.
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