How to: Vegan

(cover photo from

So. You find yourself eating less meat and saying you’re “basically a vegetarian” and after time, get curious about what that would actually look like. From my experience, it looks real good. I ate a traditional American kid diet up until I was 7, when I become a vegetarian. This meant no meat, no fish. After having a very athletic high school dance career, I found myself desperate to find healthy relationship with food and be able to eat sufficient amounts without wrecking myself from the inside out with bad eating habits. Thats when I cut all dairy, eggs, and animal products out for the sole purpose of simplifying and I stand here 3 1/2 years later, really glad I did that.

Meat won’t kill you. Cheese won’t kill you. Salad won’t kill you. But, salad…I can eat a ton of friggin salad with no hard feelings or stomach aches. And what if I made that salad actually taste good too? Hm….


Where DO I get my protein? The recommended daily intake is 56 grams for most men and 46 for most women.

  1. QUINOA (keen-wha) 9g per cup

…..technically a seed and not a grain, is considered a complete protein, meaning it packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs. It’s filled with good iron and fiber too.  I typically eat 2-3 cups of quinoa when I eat it in a meal(27g protein), but even with salads, I’ll toss some cooled quinoa in there too. Its so easy to add into anything and doesn’t run expensive at all, especially since it expands so much when cooked.

2. TOFU  10.1g per half cup

…an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals: manganese, selenium and phosphorous. In addition, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Just one block of the cheapest you’d be able to find at the grocery store has 24g of protein. “By comparison, 1/2 cup dairy milk contains 5.1 grams of protein, one 3 oz egg contains 6 grams and 4 oz ground beef contains about 26 grams of protein. Tofu is an excellent source of vegetarian protein. One half-cup serving of raw firm tofu contains 94 calories. By comparison, 4 oz ground beef contains 331 calories, 1/2 cup of 2% milk has 60 calories and 4 oz of cheese packs 320 calories”  (

3. Mixed Nuts 26g per cup

….”Nuts help lower cholesterol when substituted for other foods, according to Harvard Health Publications. They contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which protect heart health.” ( Mostly though, they’re easy and satisfying–and a better substitute for chips, if you’re addicted to salty snacks like me. These are expensive, but also not eaten in huge you’re really buying a box of nuts for THE MONTH typically and not just for a few days.

4. Kale 3g per cup

…”Despite the myth that vegetarians are anemic, the number of non-vegetarians with iron-deficiencies is on the rise. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. On another note, Dairy and beef both contain calcium, but the U.S. still has some of the highest rates of bone loss and osteoporosis in the world. Kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy” ( Theres no limit to kale eating and especially when you cook it down, you’ll end up eating 5 cups of it easy and you’ll be giving your body so much goodness to run on. When I make salads, I down 10 servings of kale which is around 30g of protein. See how it adds up?

5. Chick Peas 16g per cup

…a legume, chick peas or “garbanzo beans” are the heart of hummus and for me, a convenient salad topping or stir fry add-in. “The fiber, thiamin, zinc and vitamin B6 are in healthy supply as well. It’s a perfect combination and one way to work toward optimum health. Whether canned or cooked from scratch, you get similar nutrients.” I personally am trying to get over not loving beans and these guys are where its at for me.

6. Black Beans 20g per cup

…Like I said, Im trying to like beans. THEY REALLY ARE GOOD FOR YOU. For me, I usually pack these into burgers alongside potatoes, chick peas, corn, etc,.. and can chow down with delight.  “The black bean’s fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. The fiber in black beans helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.” (

7. Peanut Butter 8g per 2tbsp

…I really do try to scoop some good ole’ PB onto my morning fruits just to add some substance and energy boost to the start of my day. Another buy that seems expensive on the spot, but will last quite some time. The less sugar and added ingredients, the better.  “Sure, peanut butter is high in calories, but that’s no reason to completely dismiss it from your diet. At the end of the day, your weight is dictated by calories in versus calories out. Whether you’ve allotted yourself 1,800, 2,400, or 3,000 calories per day, peanut butter can absolutely fit. Its high fat content might even help you feel more satiated with fewer calories. As with all things in life, moderation is key. Here’s what not to do: boost your peanut butter intake through the roof, thinking it’s a sole protein source. At about 8 grams of protein per two-tablespoon serving, PB is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s a better fat than a protein. Eat it for what it is.” (

8. Sun Warrior Plant Protein Powder 16g per scoop

…Just saying, I only buy the chocolate version of this. The vanilla tastes like birthday cake though, I can tell you that. I make chocolate ice-cream, shakes—add it into cake recipes and muffins and cookies–you get the point. This stuff is wicked tasty and only chalk-y if you don’t blend it well. I put 2-3 scoops into my post-workout shake, which is a mad dose of protein if you want to add that up. “At 85% protein, Sun Warrior protein has the highest (non soy) raw whole grain sprouted vegan protein on the market. This superior protein was designed for the health conscious, athletes, body builders, anyone looking to lose fat, build muscle mass and be extremely healthy and fit. Billed as the ultimate anti-aging superfood protein, its complete amino acid profile allows for 98.2% assimilation. Sun Warrior is a raw (not heated over 90 degrees) vegan protein that is Organic, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Hypo-Allergenic, and Non-GMO” (


I’ll be back soon with grocery lists, my go-to recipes, and my most commonly used substitutions. I eat a ton of veggies, but I also eat some junk too, so this is just what my food journey was, is, and is transforming into.

Thanks, guys.

Your new friend,