A friend of mine who's contemplating veganism asked me a while ago "but what do you actually eat?" And I realised that this question must be on many people's mind when meeting a vegan. Many omnivores literally have no idea what we eat - animal products take up so much space in traditional Western cuisines that you'd be hard-pressed to find ONE single vegan that has never heard the irritating but somewhat understandable "but what do you eat?". That's how the idea for this post came about. Follow me on a typical day and see what an average vegan actually eats.
7:00 The first thing to cross my lips every morning is a glass of warm water with lemon. It works wonders for the digestive system and gets your metabolism jump-started! For breakfast, I usually have a fruit salad of 4-5 different fruits, linseeds, nuts, dried fruit and a spoonful of peanut butter, along with a peppermint tea and a glass of almond or rice milk. It's not a good idea for vegans to have coffee or black tea with meals, as the tannins in these drinks can hinder iron intake. After breakfast, I take a vegan multivitamin from Holland & Barrett.
9:00 As soon as I arrive at work, I have a huge, luxurious, frothy cappuccino (my motto is: when it comes to life and coffee, I don't do small or medium) with soya milk, either from Starbucks or the cafe in my office. Soya milk isn't something you should be gulping down on a regular basis, but since we have yet to reach the level of evolution where several types of vegan milks are served at a mainstream cafe, I keep a carton of almond or rice milk in the office fridge and sometimes just buy an Americano and add some of that to it.
11:00 As a mid-morning snack, I usually eat some fruit, fresh or dried, and/or some nuts. I subscribe to the Graze box and often bring one of those to work.
1:00 Lunch is usually brought from home and consists of pasta with veggies, pasta with a meat sauce, quinoa with veggies or pearl parley with beans and veggies. We have a salad bar at the canteen at work and sometimes I get a salad with beans and chickpeas. Alternatively I pop to one of the cafes next to the office and get a big salad with quinoa or couscous.
3:00 Time for my green tea! Green tea doesn't have as many tannins as black, but I still avoid it around mealtime. However it's so rich in antioxidants (and yummy!) that I just have to have it in the afternoon.
4:00 Second snack of the day is usually a piece of fruit.
6:45 If I'm doing yoga or other workouts after work, I usually have a light snack beforehand, like a banana with some peanut butter. Or sometimes I'll snack on some seaweed - one of the most delicious (and nutritious!) things I know.
8:30 Dinner time! David almost always cooks and it's usually two types of veggies (we love sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and green peas, among others) with several proteins - beans and chickpeas or lentils, that are sometimes cooked in a spicy sauce and sometimes with some lemon drizzled on top. Sometimes he'll make soy mince "meat"balls and other times there'll be burgers (usually on Fridays!). There's almost always also a light salad or a veggie plate with hummus and sometimes home-baked bread. Dinner is always finished off with a cup of ginger or chamomile tea and a square of dark chocolate.
I don't usually eat anything after dinner - I'm not a midnight snacker.
Of course there are days that look nothing like this - when I'm on holiday or at home in Sweden, this all gets turned on its head. I sometimes have two coffees a day, weekends often involve cupcakes and French fries (not chips - I only like the "skinny", thin ones!), sometimes crisps and often lasagne and homemade cakes. There are HUGE amounts of pizza in my life! And of course I love wine and cocktails. But this is just a typical work day - and most of them do bear a resemblance to this way of eating.
So there you go - now you know what vegans eat! I don't know how representative my diet is of vegans, but I feel amazing eating like this and it's highly likely I'll eat like this for my whole life. I eat tons of fruit - I often get the famous five-a-day from just my breakfast - and I love hummus. I eat ENORMOUS amounts (often more than David) to keep from losing weight, which you often do on a vegan diet, and also because it's just so darn yummy. If you have any questions about my diet or vegan lifestyle, go ahead and ask!