Vegan. A life, all the same, minus the animal exploitation. For food, well, it's virtually everything in the world, minus animal flesh and their by-products. Consequently, a 'vegan diet' is virtually meaningless. Plutonium is vegan, as are bricks. You can eat french fries and oreos, raw fruits and vegetables, and any combination in between. "Going vegan", in this light, doesn't say too much. Nevertheless, a natural, clean approach primarily from whole foods is quite a nice experience.
The plant kingdom is bursting with flavor. Our senses do attest, drawn to it's colors, serene beauty and fresh aroma. The magic of sustenance. Flavor, fulfillment and health all in one. It's nice to be lured to the pleasantness of real things, offering flavor, energy and well-being versus the illusion of appeal masking toxicity. The quiet majesty of nature doesn't quite tempt like industry and habit, nevertheless, rediscovering the calming comfort of its presence is worth that initial resistance to change.
Going vegan has more to offer than the mere absence of things, whether it be animal exploitation or environmental destruction. There is much life and beauty to rediscovering optimal sustenance, an intuitive connection with nature and a truly thriving level of health. Food becomes less a complex calculation and more just eating until full. The beauty is, the natural, whole-food lifestyle is amazingly flavorful. You can eat as much as you want and still not sacrifice your health or feel awful afterward.
It all starts with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Fruits. Endless varieties, many of which most have never even heard of (i.e. lychees, rambutans, durian, mangosteen, guanabana, sapodilla, sapote, persimmon, fresh Bahri dates, passion fruit, rollinia), and more common ones like mango, banana, watermelon and figs. Most righteous in smoothies or fruit salads, but best just enjoying fresh, ripe, in-season fruit by itself.
Vegetables. Ranging from green leafy ones to potatoes. There's stews, soups, salads, steamed on their own and tons of other ways to get creative. Potatoes, pumpkin, squash, swiss chard, artichoke, beets, eggplant, onion, carrots, asparagus and spinach. Nuts and seeds. Awesome for creating various flavors and dressings, like almond butter, tahini and cheeses (i.e. cashew nacho, almond ricotta or pine nut pesto).
Legumes. Awesome with grains (i.e. rice and beans), soups (i.e. lentil, split pea, black/white bean), stews (i.e. chickpea) or dips (i.e. hummus or black bean). Grains. Calorie dense and quite versatile for both sweet and savory, whether the base for burritos or used in veggie burgers, stir fry, oatmeal, granola and desserts.
Ideally, you want to eat low in fat, lot's of fruits and vegetables and virtually no added salt, sugar, oil or preservatives. From here, a wide continuum of possibilities ranging from eating all 5 main groups to subsiding mainly on raw fruits and vegetables. Below are just two sample days (sizes depending on the individual). One from all 5 groups, the other just raw fruits and vegetables (raw being much larger portions). Both are relatively simple and easy to prepare, but it's always possible to spice things up a bit, and the variations are endless...
Cooked (all 5 groups)
Breakfast- Steel cut oats (or homemade granola) with sliced banana. Side of some other fruits like blueberries and pineapple or perhaps a fruit smoothie.
Snack- Carrots/celery with hummus. Perhaps some fresh fruit as well, like fresh figs.
Lunch- Brown rice with beans, steamed greens, peppers and onions with chopped tomatoes and mashed avocado. Dates or raisins for dessert.
Snack- More fruit, depending on the season. Perhaps fresh mangoes, melon or clementines. Maybe even sliced bananas covered in date/raisin paste (blended dates/water) or almond butter.
Dinner- Steamed potatoes (regular, yams or sweet) along with a big salad covered in homemade salad dressing (i.e. corn/pepper/mango dressing) with chopped vegetables. Perhaps some fruit for dessert like mixed berries or frozen banana ice-cream.
Low fat raw (much larger portions!)
Breakfast- Banana smoothie (perhaps 7-12, the riper the better) by itself with water or mixed with other fruits like papaya, mango, figs, persimmons or dates.
Lunch- In-season fruit. If lucky, perhaps figs. Just making a meal of fresh figs until full.
Dinner- In-season fruit, perhaps red seedless grapes or persimmons. Followed with huge salad (+/- 1lb of lettuce of your choice) covered in home-made dressing (perhaps a spicy mango/tomato/jalapeno dressing) and chopped in fruits/vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers and onion. If sticking mostly to fruit, it might be a huge tomato gazpacho soup, mango/tomato salsa or just tomatoes by themselves.
Cooked or raw, and the whole continuum in between, there are countless ways to eat. The more you adopt a given way, the more your pallet correspondingly adjusts, making it super easy to be creative with healthier versions of old memories. Ultimately, it's all about just feeling better. Just enjoying food and health while out there living your life!