Although eating just vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds for 30 days seems limiting, I have no doubt I can get all of the nutrition I need from a wide variety of healthy and delicious foods. Here are a few of the things I plan on eating over the next month for the vegan whole30:
- Big salads with nut and seed-based dressings (e.g. cashew cream, tahini sauce)
- Veggie soups, especially gazpacho
- Roasted and steamed veggies with nut and seed-based sauces (e.g. almond butter coconut curry sauce, sikil pak, romesco, pesto)
- Baba ganoush and vegetable-based hummus
- Spiced nut crumbles, like walnut taco “meat”
- Vegetable curries topped with cashews
- Nut and seed-based pâté
- Lots of fresh fruit
- Zoodles, spaghetti squash, roasted cauliflower rice
- Lettuce and nori wraps
- Stuffed sweet potatoes
- Avocado “toast” on large slices of grilled eggplant, celeriac or other veggies
The Whole30 has a recommended meal template that prescribes having 1-2 servings of “protein” with every meal, in addition to vegetables, fruit (optional), and extra fat from nuts or seeds, avocado, coconut or cooking fats. Since all of their protein sources are animal-based, my meals will obviously look a little different – my protein will be coming from both the vegetable (yes, vegetables are full of protein – stay tuned to see how much protein I can get from broccoli and kale!) categories and the extra fat categories in the form of nuts and seeds.
The Whole30 doesn’t encourage calorie or macronutrient counting; instead, it encourages people to listen to their bodies and eat what they need to feel satisfied without giving into toxic cravings. As a strict non-counter, I am completely behind this approach. However, as an experienced vegan, I know that so many people want to know where I get my protein 😉 I have never been concerned about getting enough protein as a vegan, and I’m still not concerned about it with the Whole30 guidelines, but I’ll still be providing a rough protein estimate for the meals I eat to head off any questions or concerns about vegan protein sources. The USRDA is 46 grams of protein a day for women, and I’m not going to have any problem reaching that.
As is true pre-Whole30, dinner is probably going to be my most exciting meal, since that’s usually the only meal I cook from scratch everyday. Lunch is almost always leftovers + grapes. Breakfast for me is typically chia pudding made with chocolate almond milk, but the added sugar and vanilla extract in my almond milk rules it out for Whole30. Chia pudding for breakfast is often frowned upon by Whole30; however, the reason it’s discouraged is because chia seeds aren’t considered a protein source in the typical food template, and because most people that eat chia pudding for breakfast aren’t also eating vegetables. Since seeds are my protein source, I still plan on eating a portion of chia pudding for breakfast with a side of vegetables. The big change for me will be using unsweetened, vanilla-free, carrageenan-free almond milk with fruit instead of my usual sugar-laden chocolate almond milk.
Overall, I’m looking forward to challenging my cooking creativity skills, and trying to fit all of the veggies I buy this weekend for the start of the vegan whole30 into our small fridge! Let me know if you have any suggestions!