Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What I Eat

I can't believe how often I get questions about what I eat (If you're vegan, where do you get your protein? What do you eat in a normal day?). So I thought I'd respond in one post, hopefully addressing all your questions here. This mostly focuses on *real* food since I covered my favorite vegan processed foods in a previous post.  

1) some processed foods are mentioned below since I keep them in my house and wanted to do a full list of what I buy and eat but I do not eat them every day
2) same with soy - though I may keep a lot of soy products on hand, I don't consume soy very often. Maybe once a week.

First, these are the foods I buy and what is in my apartment all the time -


Always: Bananas, lemons and all sorts of frozen fruit for smoothies (no sugar added, just fruit)

  • Peaches, plums, nectarines (any and all kinds available)
  • Berries (straw, black, blue, rasp, goose)
  • Cherries
  • Grapes (green, red, concord, champagne)
  • Melon (any/all)
  • Pineapple
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates (whole or just the seeds)
  • Coconut (pre-cut)
  • Mangoes
  • Citrus (grapefruit, blood oranges, tangerines, clementines, kumquats)
  • Kiwi
  • Apples
  • Onions (vidalia, white, Spanish and/or red)
  • Scallions, Shallots, Garlic
  • Peppers (red, yellow, orange, green, jalapeno)
  • Tomatoes (on the vine, Roma or grape/cherry)
  • Leafy greens (collard greens, spinach and/or kale)
  • Mushrooms (baby bella, shitake and/or white)
  • Avocados
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Peas (frozen)
  • Cabbage (green or purple)
  • Asparagus (for grilling or roasting)
  • Squash (acorn/butternut/delicata - for baking)
  • Potatoes (for veggie scrambles)
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Bok Choy
  • Fresh Ginger 
  • Sunchokes
  • Brussels Sprouts
Protein Sources

Refrigerated: Seitan, Tofu, Tempeh
Pantry: Tofu, Beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, black eyed peas, cannellini, small pink), Soy Powder for shakes

Grains & Starches
  • Whole Wheat Penne
  • Quinoa
  • Farro
Other Breads
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Whole Wheat Mini Pitas
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds
Refrigerated Items

  • Almond Milk
  • Aloe Vera Juice
  • Soy or Coconut Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Spreads (Fig, Fruit, Ginger)
  • Tofu Shirataki
  • Vegan sausages
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Vegan salads (chicken/turkey/tuna/egg)
  • Tofu Cream Cheese
  • Tofu Sour Cream
  • Soy Butter
  • Beer
  • Coconut Water
  • Vegan meat substitutes (deli slices, breakfast sausage, hot dogs, other sausage, canadian bacon, etc)
  • Vegan Tofu Knishes
  • Muffins
  • Diaya Tapioca non-dairy "cheese"
  • Hummus
  • Tofu pups
  • Vegan sandwich slices
Pantry Staples
  • Cereal (steel cut oats, oatmeal, oat bran, cold cereal)
  • High Fiber Pancake Mix
  • Peanut Butter (PB2 and/or Better n'Peanut Butter brands - because I don't abuse those)
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Pumpkin
  • Pistachios and almonds (both in the shell)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Maple Syrup

Tabasco, Mustard, Soy Sauce, Vinegars, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Spices, Nutritional Yeast, Vegan Parmesan

I love my produce drawers!

Oh and these are my "vegan vitamins". They're vegan because there is no gelatin/animal by-products. I buy them from luckyvitamin.com where it's easy to filter all items (household, food, skin care) by things like "vegan" "cruelty free" "gluten" "kosher" etc. It makes shopping for these types of products so easy. The prices are reasonable and the shipping is a flat $5.95.

Now, here are typical meals I make with those foods and what I eat on most days...

Work days -

  • Always: Coffee with almond milk, fruit
  • Varies: Muffin from Trader Joe's or a Vegan Knish or Oat Bran with Cocoa Powder & Salt

Super Salad! I modify the ingredients every so often, but it tends to be 10 PointsPlus values. It consists of lettuce and other zero point veggies and fruit (tomatoes, scallions, cabbage, pomegranate seeds, apple), 4-5 P+ of protein (tempeh & beans), and 2 P+ healthy fat (avocado). My dressing consists of lemon juice, sesame oil (1 P+), rice vinegar and nutritional yeast (1 P+). Sometimes I add goji berries (1 P+).

If I'm still hungry I also have a mini sandwich - one Trader Joe's whole wheat round (2 P+) with a few slices of vegan "deli meat" (1-2 P+)

  • Fruit and/or nuts
  • Soy or Coconut Yogurt
My favorite dinner in the whole world is a black bean burrito. I vary the contents depending on what I'm in the mood for or have on hand but it always starts by sautéing peas, onions, and peppers in coconut oil. Then adding protein: black beans, and sometimes another bean (very occasionally tofu or vegan chipotle sausage). Add a leafy green vegetable (kale, collard greens or spinach), add spices (cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper) and put that mixture into a whole wheat tortilla. (Note: That makes a LOT of mixture for about 6P+. The tortilla is 3 P+ but only half the mixture fits on the tortilla. I eat the other half without a tortilla). Add cilantro and (sometimes) avocado (2 P+).

Other dinners:
1) Whole Wheat penne with sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, peas, whatever else I feel like throwing in there) with a very basic tomato sauce. Sometimes I add Diaya "mozzarella cheese", sometimes I add vegan parmesan. Usually I just add crushed red pepper & garlic. If I have fresh basil, I add that.

2) If I feel like having something Asian-ish, I'll sauté onions, peppers & peas in coconut oil. Then I add my protein source -- seitan, add bok choy and a bag of tofu shirataki. I'll top it with any of the following: soy sauce, shredded ginger, sesame seeds and scallions.

Weekends -

Coffee with almond milk, fruit & water. Then I almost always make my high fiber pancakes where I add either fresh berries, shredded coconut or canned pumpkin & spices. I will likely have a vegan breakfast "meat" product too.

I'm likely to make a protein shake (frozen banana, water, vegan protein powder, flax seed and flax seed oil, frozen fruit, cinnamon, PB2, maybe a dash of almond milk) before or after the gym or a bike ride/run.

Lunch and dinner:
These meals are completely inconsistent - especially because I'm out of my apartment for most of the day when the weather is nice. But if I'm home for dinner, I'm likely to make one of the typical dinners mentioned for weeknights.

Things I do not keep in my apartment because I don't need the temptation:
  • vegan ice cream
  • cookies/cakes/anything baked
  • bags of anything salty, whether it's baked or fried
  • Peanut Butter and Company brand peanut butter (or any really good peanut butter)
  • Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallow anything
  • bars of any type (Lara, Luna, Granola, whatever)
  • chocolate of any type
I hope that gives you a better idea of what I eat and how I incorporate being vegan on Plan. Of course if I missed something, put it in the comments so I can address it.

Also - Since I do get so many questions about veganism specifically that I am not able to answer, my friend Amanda agreed to help me with that (she's been vegan way longer than me and knows a lot more than I do)! So if you have a general vegan question, leave that in the comments too and I'll have Amanda do a short guest post to answer it for you. (I hope she remembers agreeing to that...)


  1. AnonymousJune 12, 2012

    Thanks a lot for sharing ! I need to get inspired ! It's difficult to get out of a vicous circle and I don't know where to begin !

  2. Love this post, Sheryl, thanks for tagging me on FB so I didn't miss it! Since going vegan (mostly) on 3/19, I've been eating many of the items you mentioned and, like you, have cut back on most of the processed "stuff," vegan and otherwise. The real food tastes so much better and doesn't trigger cravings/binges! Love those produce drawers of yours, btw. :)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! I was hoping to go vegan or try gluten-free in the near future and this post helped out a lot. I'm going to try your recipes out soon! Again, thanks for sharing all of this!

    1. You're welcome. I have some actual recipe posts, if that helps. here's a link to everything tagged "recipe". Just keep in mind some may not be vegan since I went vegan after starting this blog. but many of them are - http://www.sherylyvette.com/search/label/Recipes

  4. I envy the availability of vegan food in NYC. I live in Oklahoma where it's almost impossible to find vegan products in the only grocery store we have, Walmart. Gag.

    1. Do you do much cooking from scratch? I find that some people have problems finding quick meals that are vegan but they don't do much actual cooking. I'm not vegan but my mom is and when we lived in the same town (I live in AR) I did a lot of cooking for her. Depending on how much time you have, sometimes cooking several servings of something or a couple things and freezing it over the weekend helps during the week. They do have tofu at WalMart but otherwise it's mainly varying your fruits, veggies, and grains.

  5. It's interesting to see how much you can eat rather than what you can't eat as a vegan. That's a hefty list of healthy food!

  6. saltyslimJune 13, 2012

    Wow that was really interesting! I find what other people eat completely fascinating, maybe I'm just nosey! I also don't know a lot about veganism. Loving your blog by the way, which I recently found. I have read A LOT of it! I live in the UK following WeightWatchers and I have been since 2006, yes a long while I know but I was pregnant twice during that time. So I had to gain and lose etc. I'm just 2 short of losing 65lbs and I have another 60 or so to lose, I'll get there one day.

  7. I am a vegetarian and a WW member who exercises a lot so this post is gold dust to me.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Very cool. I need to redo my fridge, for sure.

  9. Sheryl, thanks for this post. I love your blog and find it inspirational. This post in particular gives me a bit of perspective about what healthy really looks like. I am not a vegan, but love your Super Salad and black bean burrito ideas. I also totally relate to not keeping certain things in the apartment. I am lucky that my partner doesn't have a big sweet tooth, and while I wish I had a Whole Foods nearby (I checked out the one in Chelsea last time I was in NYC and nearly hyperventilated from the excitement) we are lucky with what we have in little old New Zealand.

    Actually though, living in NZ might be part of my weight problem - the main reason I am not vegan is not meat but dairy, and if you know anything about NZ you will know that NZ is a dairy paradise.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. Saltyslim, I'm with you - what people eat is fascinating!

    Thanks Sheryl. Penny xo

  10. What are you eating before long runs? And during I guess? Gu?

  11. Hi! I am visiting for the first time and have been reading your story. You are definitely an inspiration to look up to. What you have accomplished is awesome. I love this post because although I always been a carnivore, my body is slowly shunning out meat. A few months ago I had the worst food poisoning after eating meat, and since then slowly (and without me even noticing) my body has switched it taste and now I can say that my diet is about 90% vegan. So thank you for this awesome list of things vegan "can eat" vs. what you "cannot eat". Look forward to reading more!


  12. I appreciate this post on a couple levels. First, because I'm vegan and I like when the rest of the world can see how interesting and yummy a vegan diet. Second, I've never heard of coral calcium. Being a marine sciences lover, the first thought of course is, "WHOA. Not vegan." Since coral is made up of tiny animals. And because coral reefs are in serious danger, as well as the eco-systems they're a part of. But, I don't like to jump to conclusions so I looked it up. I learned it comes from fossilized coral skeletons, so I can understand how it can be considered vegan, in the same way any fossilized substance usually is. I personally still need to do research to learn more and find out how and where the harvesting is done, but I love that I learned about something new. 20+ of veganism and I'm still learning. :)

  13. Nice one you got here Sheryl. Love your blog and especially these foods listed here. Hmm, can't wait to try them all really.

    By the way, I'm also in a weight loss regimen and I read about my weight loss supplement in lipo 6 hers reviews.

  14. One of the things I always wonder about veganism and going vegan is how to approach eating out and especially eating out in non-urban areas of the country where being vegan/vegetarian is really rare. For example, I am going to a restaurant called the Pizza Ranch during a family reunion in Minnesota next week. The menu is truly scary, not a green thing in sight and mostly fried chicken and pizza. What would you do in a case like that? I always think that being vegan is much easier in NYC where there is a multitude of restaurants that cater to vegans.

    1. wow, I feel for you Elise!!! First, yes, living in NYC obviously makes it much easier (though dangerously easy at times since EVERYTHING is available here at all hours) That being said, in that situation, I would plan to NOT EAT at the restaurant. Seriously. I'd set myself up to drink water and eat a naked salad (assuming that's even an option) I would eat before I go - a full meal so Im not tempted or angry. And I'd even bring my own food (snacks like nuts, fruit and/or yogurt) or even something as substantial as a small sandwich or wrap. I honestly feel like if they aren't going to cater to you, a paying customer, and you have no choice but to be there (because it's a family reunion) they can't have an issue with you bringing your own food. But that's me, I can be ballsy. If you're uncomfortable whipping out your food in the restaurant, take a "bathroom break" and go eat it outside. I don't know how other vegans/vegetarians not in large cities do it other than making all their own food and avoiding those places all together.

    2. This is going to be difficult for me and I still eat meat! I just have problems with the quality and type of food there. I looked at the reunion details and it says there is a salad bar. I'm hoping it has some plants on it and not just salads with lots of mayo or made with whipped cream (yes in MN they do this - it's called fluff and it's on salad bars). Either way I will have snacks, either something I bring with me (always travel with snacks!) or a banana from the breakfast at the hotel. I'm not as ballsy as you around my extended family, who I haven't seen in at least 5 years, so I won't be bringing my own food. I'm just hoping to have a snack on the way there and then find at least one healthy option. And hopefully they have unsweetened iced tea and I can fill up on that.

      I just wonder how vegans cope in non metropolitan areas.

      And you know what I noticed about having everything available all the time - I want it less, cause I can have it whenever I want.

  15. Elise, does the restaurant have a website that you can peruse? If not, I would call ahead, ask about their healthy menu options, and if there aren't any, request something! I've found most establishments have been quite accommodating to me, I just had to get over my fear of asking!