Diversity In A Vegan Diet

February 14th, 2011 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

I often hear people speak of veganism in terms of restriction, as if it involves some great sacrifice. Some sort of deprivation. And it makes me so sad!

It’s hard to efficiently express how my diet has opened up, truly blossomed, since becoming vegan. But to say that my palate is pleased and pleasured, well that could be the understatement of the century! I’m certainly not left wanting for anything.

I thought it might be fun to track everything I eat for a week. Not quantities mind you, and certainly not calories. But variety! Very simply, the diversity of different foods I eat in a mere seven-day period.

I knew my diet cut a wide swath but honestly, in the end I surprised even myself. What abundance! Also keep in mind that this is essentially soy-free (save for tamari and miso paste) and essentially gluten-free (the oats were probably contaminated and the falafel may have had some wheat flour as well). Otherwise, no soy, no gluten, ALL VEGAN!

Seven Days

Black Tea
Almond Milk (homemade)
Kombucha (homemade)
Water Kefir (homemade)
Nettle Infusion
Dandelion + Nettle Infusion
Oatstraw Infusion
Coconut Water

Brown Lentils
Yellow Split Peas
Black Beans
Garbanzo Beans
Pinto Beans
Kidney Beans
Navy Beans
Giant White Beans
Refried Beans (restaurant)

Quinoa (‘regular’)
Red Quinoa
Black Quinoa
Rolled Oats

Gluten-Free Corn Bread (Bob’s Red Mill mix)
White Corn Chips
Blue Corn Chips
Handmade Corn Tortillas (restaurant)

Hummus (store bought; restaurant)
Falafel (restaurant)

Toasted Sesame Oil
Olive Oil
Chipotle Infused Olive Oil
Hemp Oil
Coconut Oil
Soy-Free Earthbalance™

Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar

Mixed Baby Greens
Beet Greens
Bok Choy

Sunflower Sprouts


Carrots (raw; sautéed)
Red Onion (raw; sautéed)
Garlic (raw; sautéed; roasted)
Broccoli (steamed)
Tomatoes (raw; cooked; stewed/canned)
Red Bell Pepper (raw; roasted)
Green Bell Pepper (sautéed)
Sweet Potato (baked)
Beets (roasted)
Cauliflower (roasted)
Yellow Onion (roasted; sautéed)
Celery (raw; sautéed)
Okra (cooked)
Yam (cooked; roasted)
Button Mushrooms (raw; cooked)
Straw Mushrooms (cooked)

Mandarin oranges

Dried Cranberries

Peanut Butter
Coconut Butter

Pumpkin Seeds
Hemp Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Flax Seeds
Brazil Nuts

Hemp Protein

Cumin Seeds
Bay Leaf
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Red Pepper Flakes
Chai Spices

Vanilla Extract
Liquid Smoke

Fresh Cilantro
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Thai Basil

White Miso
Coconut Milk (canned, full fat; canned, light)
Lemon Juice
Nutritional Yeast

Coconut Milk Yogurt

Salsa Verde (jarred)
Red Hot Sauce (bottled)
Green Salsa (restaurant)
Chipotle Salsa (restaurant)
Red Garlic Salsa (restaurant)
Guacamole (store bought)

Sauerkraut (homemade)
Kimchi (homemade)
Soured/Fermented Pickles (store bought)
Jalapenos (pickled)

Raw Agave
Real Maple Syrup
Raw Cacao
Dried Shredded Coconut


This has ben such an interesting experience! I think everyone should give it a try – you may just be surprised! (in either direction!)

And just in case you still think I’m somehow ‘going without’, here’s tonight’s dessert:

Raw Vegan Chocolate Torte with Berry Crème

I’ll serve it with a fresh-made raspberry sauce. Happy Valentines Day!

  • http://www.windycityvegan.wordpress.com Monika {windycityvegan}

    It is amazing, isn’t it? We did something similar to track Nini’s diet (and ours, since she eats what we eat) when her new pediatrician raised concerns about raising a vegan toddler.

    Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day, and I really hope you post your recipe for that tart sometime soon!

  • http://www.workingouteatingin.com Anastasia

    Wow.. what a way to prove your point! I just kept scrolling & scrolling.. I didn’t think the list would end! That’s really impressive. I’m on my way to a full vegan diet and this list will give me some inspiration and new foods to try next time I hit the co-op. :]

  • http://www.roy-joy.blogspot.com Jessica

    WOW! I have to admit, I myself have thought in the past that Vegan means deprivation…but seriously, that list made my mouth water. Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  • http://Bluknotsoriginals.blogspot.com tishushu

    I’m always amazed at how many ppl feel I’m suffering somehow! Since being Vegan I have opened myself up so much! Especially when it comes to spices and herbs and new and different cuisines of cuptures beyond and within the US! my body is NOT suffering!

  • http://Bluknotsoriginals.blogspot.com tishushu

    *cultures… Sigh!

  • fawn

    As I integrate new foods into my already similarly diverse diet, I sometimes struggle to reconcile diversity and sustainability. I know each of us has to choose our battles, but it saddens me to think about how far away some of my favorite things come from. Any insights? :)

  • Meredith

    I’m curious about how you deal with people, mainly family and friends who are meat-eaters, when you go to their houses and they’re serving something you can’t eat. When I was vegan/vegetarian the one thing that was really hard for me was the feeling of that wall being put up between me and everyone around me concerning food. Community eating is such a huge part of socialization and I was made to feel like I was too good for “regular food.” My parents would, begrudgingly, buy things they knew I could eat, but along the way would make remarks that, in the end, became my undoing. I’m assuming you surround yourself with a lot people who share your beliefs about food, but could you give those of us who are lacking in the Vegan-Understanding department a little insight? I’d love to one day return to at least a vegetarian lifestyle! Love your blog!!

  • Carey

    I’m making a raw dessert tonight too..similar as yours with raspberries. I love the purple, so pretty!

  • http://alternativehousewife.com Janine

    I just did vegan for a week and it was a lot easier than I thought it’d be. I don’t plan on staying vegan but I will definitely be eating a lot less meat. After a week of not eating it, it lost a lot of appeal simply taste-wise. I’m jealous of your cooking time and skills – I find the biggest hindrance to eating well (in all senses) is prep time.

  • Amanda

    I wish so many more people I knew read your blog! People forget to eat vegetables! arghh! Anyway, I also hope you get that torte recipe up soon. YUMMM!!! <3 Happy V-Day!! :]

  • http://www.glutenfreediet101.com Ket

    So detailed! Perfect! Its really amazing. I dont have exact idea that berry creme could be a toppings for chocolate! Great!

  • Beens

    Interesting! I’m in the process of trying to make my diet more diverse in terms of vegetarian and vegan meals and ingredients; it is proving to be a real eye opener! While I can’t see myself cutting out meat (yet), I don’t actually miss it; it’s now a twice-weekly thing – it used to form at least 3 of my five meals/snacks a day.

    Much of the inspiration has come from you; seriously, three family members are asking for the homemade deodorant recipe, I have water kefir crystals on order and I now make my own nut butters. It’s great learning about so many new concepts that were previously alien to me, not to mention that it’s delivered in a engaging, intelligent and non-judgemental way, so thank you! :)

  • http://oohhello.wordpress.com Heather

    I embarked on a gluten free\dairy free diet a few months ago and it is positively amazing how different I feel. However, going from omnivore to gfdf was\is kind of a nightmare. There is loads of information on being vegan, or vegetarian, or simply gluten free, but being a gluten free vegan… well.. any and all information, recipes and suggestions you may have would be much obliged, since I read your blog almost religiously. Thank you for sharing your week in food!

  • http://www.nolonger25.com Jade @ No Longer 25

    Wow that pudding looks so good – can you share a recipe for it?

    I found some cashew butter in a local farm shop this weekend – so excited and it’s so so yummy!

    I’m getting there slowly trying 2 veggie days at a week, I’m going to increase this to add a vegan day too in the coming months.

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Court

    i agree completely. my diet is so much more diverse being vegan. i am enjoying foods that i never ate before. well done sayward.

    @meredith: i know exactly what you mean. i just marked my first year of being vegan and it has not been without challenges from my family and some uninformed friends. i bring my own food to get-togethers. that way no one is ‘put out’ and i have things that i can eat. although i am still working on it, the one thing that i have learned: no one should get upset by what I CHOOSE to eat. it is not worth it. i also always try to consider that it is just different from how they live. and that is ok.

  • Serenity

    I agree. People who eat meat or on some other regimen often eat the same thing repeatedly, When I was a child, I could tell you what day it was by what my mother served for dinner. I have to have diversity. I’d just crack up without it. Although, my guy could eat the same 3 dinners for weeks on end. SMH

    BTW… We adore our new glass straws!!!!!

  • http://www.heathers-perspective.blogspot.com Heather (Perspective Is Everything)

    as the other Heather a few posts above mentioned, being a gluten free vegan can be a nightmare at first. when i first realized i was gluten intolerant i cried. hard. i was already lactose,egg,and corn intolerant, then came the gluten.
    i thought i was doomed to ever eating a filling and fulfilling meal.
    thanks to so many food blogs out there, i’ve never eaten such filling and fulfilling meals without meat,eggs,dairy,corn, or gluten :)

  • http://www.windycityvegan.wordpress.com Monika {windycityvegan}

    @Heather & any other GF vegans: there is a great gluten free vegan community that was recently started by Kittee Berns (aka Cake Maker to the Stars). You can find it here: http://xgfxcommunity.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.shesgotaknife.blogspot.com Lenn

    Pleeeease post a recipe for that tart. Pretty please.

  • http://herbivoreclothing.com Michelle Schwegmann

    you’re so rad!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    I really need to stop making raw desserts without following recipes! Sorry guys! But, the tart was basically this crust with this filling except I blended in a cup of raspberries and replaced the cacao butter with coconut butter. Basically. =)

    @ fawn – I definitely hear you, and I think about those things too. I was actually considering doing this again in the peak of summer, to see how different the lists are. I feel like right now I”m eating more locally than I ever have before. Most of my legumes, which I buy dry, are grown in this or neighboring states. Almost all of my greens and other produce is local (relatively – depends on your definition).

    The fruit is not local but I buy is frozen, so at least it was grown and packaged while in season. There are a few things, like coconut oil and avocados and bananas, that are simply my concessions. I do believe there’s a balance that takes into account mental/emotional sustainability. =)

    Are you familiar with James McWilliams? He’s an author who writes about the lacal-vore movement from a different sort fo perspective. I found this interview (link is to audio) very interesting.

    @ Meredith – It’s true, I do surround myself with veg-friendly folks. And I am incredibly lucky in that my family and extended family have been very open minded. So truthfully, I can only really repeat advice I’ve heard others give – I can’t really speak from my own experience.

    Well that’s not entirely true. Of course I’ve been in pretty dire situations. Like when Granny chose a steak house, oi! Damian and I order green salads (undressed) and french fries, and we smile and down play it and focus on more important things. Because really, there are much more important things! The point of eating together is not the eating, it’s the gathering. If you just keep your attention off of food and on the people, they’ll most likely (eventually) do the same.

    People pick at veg*ns because they see their perceived negative qualities in your perceived positive choices. That’s *their* perception, not yours. But essentially, they use you to judge themselves and then get mad at you for judging them. It’s pretty common, and it has nothing to do with you and even less to do with what you’re eating. It’s their own shit.

    So I say, try to be compassionate to that, try to remember that food is emotional. Try to empathize with their reaction instead of getting hurt or angry. And like I said, focus on all the other stuff!

    Also, eat before you arrive, keep a Larabar in your purse and a jar of nut butter in your glove box. If you’re going to a restaurant, call ahead and speak to the chef who is probably more than willing to accomodate you. If you’re gathering at a home, bring a dish *to share with everybody* that’s safe for you to eat – and bring dessert too!

    Hope that helps!

    @ Beens – Aw, you make me smile!!

    @ Heather – Oh man, I’m new to this gluten-free thing myself (and I’m not doing it super strict, really). But since I cook from scratch I naturally tend to eschew wheat. I make a LOT of bean dishes and a LOT of lentils, mmm. I made my first lentil loaf the other night, in fact, and I replaced the bread crumbs with oats! I just processed them in the food processor to turn them into ‘crumbs’ – it worked great in the recipe! So that’s an idea. As far as resources I know there are cookbooks out there, but I’m not sure which ones to recommend. Monika mentioned Kittees new site and I definitely trust Miss Kittee – she is rad! (and *very* experienced) Luck! I’ll continue to share what I find!

    @ Heather (Perspective Is Everything) – Ooh could you share the names of those blogs, pretty please??

  • http://www.sciencegeist.net Gretchen Keller

    I love oils. Seriously. I can’t think of anything that I make that doesn’t include oil of some sort (Olive, Sesame, Canola, Coconut, Peanut, etc). BUT, have you tried WALNUT oil??? It’s seriously the best ever!. It’s slightly expensive, but I usually mix it in with some olive oil. Super great as a salad dressing base, as well as for cooking.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Gretchen Keller – Ooh, I’ve never tried walnut oil! I bet i’s friggin’ delicious though, and I know they have it at my co-op. Muahaha . . .

  • http://livecompletely.blogspot.com/ kory

    Thanks for this, I’m GF, Vegetarian, and allergic to dairy, eggs, and honey, which leaves me rather vegan as well, though in diet mostly (i love my wool, sorry!). Anyway, I’m also sensitive to soy and can’t do most nuts(serious digestive issues here) and am always trying to see what other people in similar situations eat!

    I grew up on a very traditional american diet (my poor mom has no idea what to do with me anymore, but she makes an amazing effort!) but I still find myself adjusting to how… earthy some of these things taste… I love the idea of hemp and chia, but am still adjusting to the flavor. Similar to green smoothies (I still need a lot of fruit to even out the green) and I’m still scared to try things like keifer and kombucha, but you inspire me always, so I know I’ll take the plunge eventually!

    Thanks for being you!!

  • http://kenandjen-rockymountainhigh.blogspot.com Jen (and Ken)

    Hi Sayward. You were the first person to make me say, “Huh? Raw food? What?” and now I am proud to announce that Ken and I have both been Raw Vegan’s (95%) for an entire month! I feel amazing! The best part is knowing how healthy I am becoming, but another great plus I didn’t expect was that I never really get too hungry, and I never really get too full. I always feel kinda just right. Very comfortable!

    Anyway, I saw this morning that you are taking a break from the computer for a month so next time I hear from you I expect I will have two months raw experience. :)

    Thank you for being my inspiration.


  • Bonnie

    the link to the filling is not working please can you fix it! that pie looks delicious! thank you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Jen (and Ken) – Whew, my month away from the internet is done and I can finally answer you! That is SO AMAZING that you guys are eating high-raw now. Good for you, I bet you feel great and I am majorly jealous, haha. I’ve been upping my raw and upping my raw and can’t wait to get into the full spring swing again. Hope it’s still going well. Great to hear from you (as always!)

    @ Bonnie – here it is: http://www.rawmazing.com/white-chocolate-dark-chocolate-raspberry-tart/

  • http://kenandjen-rockymountainhigh.blogspot.com Jen (and Ken)

    It is indeed still going well! I’ve lost 18 lbs, my skin is clearing up… and it’s just so incredibly spiritual I can’t describe it. I think we are only about 75% raw now since we have decided that Ezekiel bread and homemade garden burgers are okay. :D I just made my own solar dehydrator from stuff I found in a scrap pile and I’ve been making my own crackers and sun dried tomatoes, etc. We live at 8200 feet so it works really well here. Here is a link to my blog post in case anyone wants to know how to make their own.

    How was the month away from the internet? Glad you’re back!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Jen (and Ken) – You are totally inspiring me! I can’t wait to go all raw next month. Also, solar dehydrator WOW. I want one! =D

  • http://www.facebook.com/elwenelf Elliecan Pelican

    love your work (play)! but, ummmm, you do know that oats are not gluten free dont you?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oats are naturally gluten-free. Most commercial oats are contaminated with gluten from shipping and storage. But you can get certified gluten-free oats, because the oats themselves actually contain no gluten.