So, What Exactly Can You & Can't You Eat?
A question that I often get asked is "So, what can you eat?" ...but a better question would be "What can't I eat?!" A vegan/plant-based lifestyle has changed my life in so many positive ways, and has opened me up to a world of abundance, and not just in relation brightly colored, living foods, but to a world of caring compassion, boundless energy, and an insatiable hunger to explore the world and experience life to the fullest...all because I choose to fuel my body with foods that love me back!
I eat a 100% whole foods, plant-based (or vegan) diet, consisting of an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains as close to their natural state as possible. I eat a high volume of raw foods throughout the day, primarily in the form of sweet fruits and soft greens, with small amounts of fat-based fruits, nuts, and seeds, either whole, blended, juiced, or chopped into a salad. I am not dogmatic about eating only raw foods, nor am I concerned with counting calories, weighing my food, or documenting what I eat on a regular basis. I do consume a combination of some raw and cooked foods at dinnertime, especially in the colder months of the year.
More important than eating raw vs. cooked are:
eating more whole foods and eliminating processed foods (including added salt, sugar, and oil)
eating seasonally, for maximum freshness, nutrient content, availability, and reduced cost
I follow a high-carb, low-fat vegan diet, or 80/10/10 caloric nutrient ratio. At least 80% of my daily calories come from carbohydrates, 10% or less from protein, and 10% or less from fat. The beauty is that there is no need to measure macronutrient quantities, as this is generally the naturally-occurring ratio in most fruits and vegetables (with the exception of overt fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds).
My Diet, In A Nutshell
Check out my 3 Go-To, All-Time Favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe PDFs!
And, of course, a one-ingredient, oh-so-simple dessert (that you can eat for breakfast!): Nice Cream
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and be sure to check out my Recommended Reading + Resources there, as well!
What I Eat In A Day
vegan / plant-based, gluten-free, raw 'til 4
I absolutely love Saturdays spent at home playing around in the kitchen! I eat a high-raw diet consisting of an abundance of fruits and veggies, and I feel fantastic! In the plant-based/vegan-enthusiast community, eating completely raw until dinnertime is called "Raw 'Til 4," which is what I personally feel the best on. Below is a run-through of a colorful day-in-the-life of what I eat, with links to accompanying blog and YouTube recipes if you want to try them out!
32 oz. Fresh H2O
I love starting every morning with a tall glass of water. After 8+ hours of fasting, the body's organs need a gentle wake-up. Fresh, filtered water (sometimes with a squeeze of lemon), is the best way to flush your system, energize your cells, and prep your body for the digestion of food.
Fresh-Squeezed Valencia O.J.
I've been loving all citrus fruits lately--1) because they're in season and taste incredible, and 2) because they're packed full of Vitamin C--a powerful antioxidant that gives your immune system a much-needed boost during cold and flu season; it also does wonders for collagen production, which slows the aging process. I love drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice (extra pulp intact), before moving on to solid foods because, again, it's a gentle ease into digestion and it's super-energizing, but doesn't spike your blood sugar when the pulp (fiber) is present.
I purchased a 40lb. case (100 count) of organic Valencia oranges from my local co-op, Open Harvest, here in Lincoln, NE and received a 15% discount for buying in bulk, so it was well worth it. I highly recommend picking your favorite seasonal fruit to give buying in bulk a try!
Breakfast / Pre-Workout
Lean Green Protein Smoothie
Because it was a Saturday, I decided to go for a run, late-morning. I made my green smoothie as a more calorie-dense, follow-up to my fresh-squeezed orange juice to give me the fuel I needed for my workout. On most weekdays, I make this smoothie to take on-the-go as I'm headed to work, but it also makes a fantastic pre-workout smoothie because it's full of antioxidants, plenty of energizing carbohydrates, and a bit of protein, thanks to my favorite, SunWarrior raw vanilla Warrior Blend. My favorite fruits to blend into this green smoothie are green apple and pineapple, because they give it the perfect combination of tart and tropical sweetness! On top of that, pineapple (especially the core) is high in bromelain, which is great for reducing inflammation and speeding up muscle recovery.
SunWarrior Protein (use code EatMoveRest for 20% off)
Mixed Berry Bowl
Berries are my jam--and they're another powerful source of antioxidants. I know they're expensive, but berries are for real my "guilty" pleasure! It's funny how your tastebuds truly do change, the cleaner you eat and the healthier you become! I always used to have a bag of Skittles buried in my purse, or Starbursts floating around in my backpack; my glove compartment always housed a half-melted, half-eaten bar of chocolate, and I always made sure to top off a dish of M&Ms on the kitchen counter. Now I think of berries as Nature's candy, and I, for one, think it's worth the extra money to satisfy your sweet tooth! If you're ever out-and-about and unarmed with something healthy, do what I do, and swing by the nearest supermarket and pick up a pack of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries, (or any fruit!) to hold you over until you can get in a healthy meal! I promise, it takes just as much time to go through the drive-thru--and you'll be getting a little exercise!
Raw Rainbow Fiesta Salad
I used to eat a 6-inch sub almost every day for lunch, but I'd always feel like I was still hungry afterwards. If you feel similar, it's for two reasons, 1) you're not eating as much volume as the human body was designed to hold, and 2) your cells simply aren't getting the amount of nutrients they require from fast foods that are just empty calories. A green smoothie is going to do wonders for your body, no doubt, but nothing can replace good ol' sliced and diced veggies and greens in a big bowl. I make a point to eat a heaping salad every day, whether it be for lunch or dinner. It is so important to chew your greens, because that is when the most nitrates are converted into nitrites, which are going to help improve your heart health and keep you stroke and heart attack-proof! Not to mention, all of the other vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, water, and fiber that are going to feed your cells.
I love to top my green salads with a dollop of heart-healthy avocado or guac in order to get my dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Along with a squeeze of half a lemon mixed in, there is no need for oily, salty, sugary dressings!
Navel + Cara Cara Oranges
While fresh-squeezed orange juice is good in the morning, I've also been enjoying a lot of peeled citrus fruits. Especially while in season in the winter, oranges are extremely juicy, sweet, and nutrient-dense. It's pretty amazing how Mother Nature provides us with different seasonal fruits and vegetables year round, to keep our tastebuds excited and our bodies well-nourished. There is no reason why you can't still be eating a high-raw diet in the winter, with the fabulous array of oranges, apples, and bananas!
Fiesta Super Bowl Salad
For dinner I included a scoop of my leftover Fiesta Super Bowl Salad, which made the perfect sweet, side dish alongside the main course. This sweet and salty recipe is high in protein and fiber, thanks to the black beans and corn.
Brown rice is superior to white rice in that it doesn't cause as much of a rise in blood sugar due to the hull being left intact--this also bodes well for digestion, thanks to the extra fiber. Brown rice is a fantastic, gluten-free, grain alternative to pastas and breads.
While leafy greens tend to be best when raw, some greens are healthiest when lightly steamed. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli are great at fighting cancer, and actually show an increase in nutrient-bioavailability when cooked until a dark green color is achieved.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are extremely high in Vitamin A, which is great for the skin, and happen to be one of the cooked foods I simply can't live without! Many of us have been led to believe that carbohydrates are the enemy, however, it all depends on the kind of carbohydrates you're consuming. Refined carbs like white bread, white pasta, white flour, white sugar, donuts, and cake are nutrient-void and low in fiber. Unrefined carbs like fruits, veggies, and potatoes contain a powerhouse of nutrients and fiber--which keeps our cells nourished, our digestion in-check, and blood sugar stable. Carbohydrates like these are the body's preferred energy source over excess proteins and fats that take much more time, effort, and energy for the body to "sort through" and digest. I love to chop my sweet potatoes into cubes, bake them in a covered baking dish, and then top them with a touch of pink Himalayan salt, cracked pepper, and Vitamin B12-fortified nutritional yeast.
Recipe(s) Coming Soon
Cacao Banana Nice Cream
I typically don't eat "dessert" after dinner, but because it was a late Saturday night, I treated myself to a small bowl of banana nice cream with antioxidant-rich cacao powder mixed in. Generally, you'll want to eat smoothies and whole fruits before a cooked meal, simply because transit time in the gut is quicker, and if you put fast-digesting fruit on top of slower-digesting cooked foods, then you could be in for stomach upset! If you're going to indulge in something sweet after dinner, give it a couple of hours, at least!
Total Day's Calories: ~2400
* Note: The Cronometer app and Cronometer.com can be fantastic tools to help determine if you're getting enough of/too much of what your body needs. I like to plug in my meals from time-to-time to see how things are looking!
Follow me on Instagram @ErinStanczyk for more of what I Eat, as well as how I Move & Rest!
As Seen On YouTube
For a more in-person experience, join me in the kitchen to watch as I whip up What I Eat In A Day on YouTube! Be sure to Subscribe to the EatMoveRest channel, hit the bell symbol to turn on Notifications to stay up-to-date on new videos, Like the video by giving it a thumbs up, leave a Comment, and Share with family and friends!
A plant-based lifestyle is so freeing! Allow yourself to experience the beautiful variety of colorful fruits and veggies in abundance, and watch your entire relationship with food change for the better! What's even more exciting are the changes that you'll experience beyond the plate! Watch as your outlook on life begins to shift and your attitude towards others begins to
I challenge you to make yourself a leafy green, rainbow salad every day for 7 days and experiment with one new fruit or vegetable the next time you go to the grocery store.
If you want to experience "a day in the life" in real life, Dusty and I will be hosting our first full-day, hands-on EatMoveRest Retreat this spring! Be sure to Join In by signing up for my monthly motivational In The Raw newsletter to the right, to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and posts on the EatMoveRest blog and YouTube channel! More info on the retreat coming to your inbox, soon!