Examples of a balanced diet.

The world of food is littered with fad diets, contradicting studies, & confusing parables (well, sort of). It's all too easy to get lost or caught up in this this black-hole, rat-race we, as a society, have created. Here's the short of it: keep it simple. As much as possible, shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. You know, where the fruits, veggies, & other yet-to-be-processed foods (& donuts) live. Golden Rule: Fresh is Best.

Today we are steaming off our previous article on universal diets to take a look at examples of these.

Labelling is confusing & it's all too easy to pick up what's easy instead of what's good. Don't assume that because it makes health claims, ie. 'Low Sodium', 'Fat Free', that it's good for you. Often, these just mean healthy fats & minerals have been replaced by chemicals & fillers. Be suspicious. I think labeling in itself is worth its own post down the line but for now, let's focus on the basics. What did (farm) Grandma serve for dinner? Where did it come from? While it's true that generation often cooked everything in bacon fat, the general principle of whole, fresh food applied.

 *this image is not mine

*this image is not mine

Of course a vegan diet needs to be tweaked some from Grandma's cooking, so I'm including here, for our benefit, examples provided by Melina Davis, a leader in the fields of Holistic Nutrition & author of amazing resources. Some of the listed items are recipes from her book but they give you a general idea. These are based on a 2,000 calorie/day consumption with ideal protein, vitamin, & mineral intake of a normal adult (not taking into account life phases such as pregnancy):

Breakfast:

Blueberries, 1 cup

Basic Whole Grain Cereal (recipe in book), 1 cup

Wheat germ, 2 tbsp

Fortified soymilk (or alternative), 1 cup

Toast, whole grain, 1 slice

Sesame tahini, 1/2 tbsp

Blackstrap molasses, 1 tsp

Noncaloric beverage

BREAKFAST TOTAL: 586 calories ; 19.4 g Protein ; 6.6 mg Iron ; 4.0 mg Zinc

Lunch:

Lentil soup, 1.5 cups

Brown rice cakes, 3

 Carrot stick, 1 carrot

Celery stick, 1 stalk

Trail mix: pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, apricots, 1/4 cup

Apple juice, 1 cup

Noncaloric beverage

LUNCH TOTAL: 558 calories ; 17.3 g Protein ; 6.2 mg Iron ; 3.3 mg Zinc

Supper:

Hot Tofu (recipe in book), 1.5 cups

Go-for-the-Green Salad (recipe in book), 3 cups

Flaxseed oil, 2 tsp

Lemon juice, wine vinegar, & herbs

Steamed asparagus, 10 spears

Whole wheat roll, 1

Noncaloric beverage

SUPPER TOTAL: 683 calories ; 43.1 g Protein ; 9.9-21.9 mg Iron ; 5.3 g Zinc

Snack or Dessert

Chocolate Mint Nut Bars (recipe in book), 2

SNACK OR DESSERT TOTAL: 173 calories ; 43.1 g Protein ; 0.7 mg Iron ; 0.4 mg Zinc

Total Amounts in Menu:

Iron: 23.4-35.4 mg

Zinc: 13 mg

Calcium: 768-1,707 mg

Vitamin B12: 4.9 mcg

Fiber: 42 g

The above provides daily recommended requirements or more & can be adjusted to suit weight-loss, high activity levels, pregnancy, or other lifestyle needs. What's important to take away here however, is that a balanced vegan diet is relatively simple & easy to accomplish.