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Eating Wisely

Living a Vegan Lifestyle

By Brenda Goldstein
Los Angeles CA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 22 No. 3, May-June 2005, pp. 129-131

A vegan lifestyle involves not consuming or using any animal products. For example, a vegan doesn't eat meat, eggs, dairy, or honey, and avoids wearing leather, fur, and using products tested on animals. Vegans eat only grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Some people may confuse veganism with vegetarianism, but they are distinctly different. Vegetarians do not consume meat, but may eat eggs, dairy, or both.

I began eating a vegan diet around six years ago and am now raising my baby boy as a vegan. I started out as a vegetarian, but I decided to go completely vegan about a month later. I wanted to eat foods that made me feel good, and I discovered that I felt better on a vegan diet.

People raised concerns about my nutrition during my pregnancy and now often question whether my son receives the nutrients he needs. I had a healthy pregnancy and have researched what types of vegan foods are needed for each stage of an infant's life. Now, at 13 months old, my son loves tofu! THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING states that it is important for a mother on a diet that includes no animal protein to take a vitamin B12 supplement in order to avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency in her baby.

Vegan cooking is pretty simple. Many recipes that involve animal products can be adapted to suit a vegan diet. Regardless of the lifestyle you choose, vegan meals can be tasty, healthy, and enjoyed by all.

Editor's note: A vegan diet is only one of many ways to make the La Leche League whole foods philosophy part of your life. Many people find that foods from animal sources (eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products) can be an important part of a healthy diet.

>Vegan Recipes

Planning and cooking vegan dishes can be easy! These tantalizing recipes will help you get started. You might be surprised to find that you already have most—if not all—of the ingredients in your kitchen!

Summertime Salad

2 cucumbers, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 3/4 C. chopped onion
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 t. salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. No need for dressing! Yield: 5 servings.

Bean Salad

1 C. cooked pinto beans
1 C. cooked garbanzo beans
2 C. sliced green beans, steamed
1 C. bean sprouts
1 C. chopped green bell pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 mild onion, chopped
Vinaigrette dressing


2 C. chopped broccoli or cauliflower, blanched
2 carrots, sliced

Combine beans, sprouts, green pepper, celery and onion in a bowl; mix well. Pour dressing over salad, tossing to coat. Chill until serving time. Yield: 8 servings.

Potato Casserole

28 oz. ground tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
4 large potatoes
1 onion, sliced
3 1/2 C. cut fresh green beans
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano in bowl. Cut potatoes into large chunks. Combine potatoes, onion, and green beans in a bowl; mix well. Spoon into large baking dish. Pour tomato mixture over top; sprinkle with pepper. Bake, covered, at 375° Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Yield: 8 servings.

Lentil Burgers in Pita (or Lentil Stew)


1/2 C. dried lentils
1/2 C. uncooked brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1 T. oil
2 C. water
1/2 C. tomato juice
1 T. tamari soy sauce
1 potato, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 C. wheat germ
Oil for browning
3 pita bread rounds, cut into halves

Optional toppings:

Shredded lettuce
Thinly sliced onions
Sliced tomatoes

Combine lentils, rice, onion, water, tomato juice, and soy sauce in a 2-quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add vegetables. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes longer. Mash mixture. Shape into patties, adding additional liquid or a small amount of wheat germ if needed for desired consistency. Coat with remaining wheat germ. Brown in hot oil skillet for 5 minutes on each side. Tuck 1 patty into each pita round. Add toppings of choice. Yield: 6 servings.

Lentil Stew:

If it has been one of those days, call it quits after simmering mixture, omit pita rounds and toppings, and serve lentil stew!

Marinated Tofu

1/4 C. tamari soy sauce
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. sherry
1 clove garlic
1 t. ground ginger
1 lb. tofu, thinly sliced
1 C. sliced mushrooms

Combine soy sauce, water, sherry, garlic, and ginger in bowl; mix well. Add tofu. Marinate for 4 hours or longer. Combine with mushrooms in skillet. Simmer until done to taste. May drain tofu and broil until golden or brown in hot oil skillet, if preferred. Yield: 4 servings.

Blender Spaghetti Sauce

4 C. chopped tomatoes
18 oz. tomato paste
2 1/4 C. water
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 t. (or less) salt
Dash of pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Process in batches in blender until smooth. Combine in saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours or until of desired consistency. May omit green peppers. Serve over pasta of choice. Yield: 8 servings.


2 T. sesame seeds
3 T. raw peanuts
3 T. raw cashews
3 T. unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 T. raw wheat germ
2 T. ground raw almonds
3 large apples
3 firm bananas
2 oranges, peeled
1 ripe pear
1 ripe papaya
1 ripe avocado
1/2 C. dried raisins
8 dried apricots
12 dates
8 prunes
1/3 C. currants

Toast sesame seeds, peanuts, and cashews in cast-iron skillet over low heat, covering to prevent seeds from popping out. Add coconut, wheat germ, and almonds. Toast over medium-high heat until golden brown. Cool to room temperature. Cut fresh fruit and large dried fruit into bite sized pieces. Combine all fruit in 3-quart bowl. Sprinkle with seed and nut mixture. Serve with soy cream. Yield: 16 servings.

Brenda Goldstein is an LLL Leader in Los Angeles, California, USA. She lives with her husband, Don, baby son, Aharon, and their two cats. “Eating Wisely” is edited by Lesley Robinson.

Page last edited .

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