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So, the Vegan Food Pyramid was designed to act as a "mirror" to the conventional Food Pyramid.
When most of us first go vegan, we sort of wing it because we usually have ZERO clue about what we're doing.
So when I began to study this diet more closely, and used the Pyramid to guide me, it really helped to clear things up. So the Pyramid points you in the right direction, taking the guesswork out of which foods you should eat in order to get the proper nutrition you need. So what we'll cover here is which food groups appear in the Pyramid and how to make use of the recommendations.
There's a wealth of information here that will help jump start your vegan diet and cooking adventure. But the cool thing about this Pyramid is that all the animal foods found in the conventional Pyramid have been replaced with plant foods that contain key nutrients that are very similar to those found in animal products -- without a smidge of cholesterol, of course. The recommendations for the foods in the Vegan Food Pyramid are not necessarily DAILY recommendations, but the foods you should strive to eat in a 48-hour time period. Look at the Veggie Group in the Pyramid - and note that the recommendation is 2-4 cups of veggies. This is what is meant by eating a balanced diet -- you're not perfect every day, but over the course of a couple days things even out and you're still on track.
And remember also, if you eat and eat and never seem to feel full, then you are likely not getting the nutrients your body needs. For instance, the Pyramid's Fortified Soymilk and Alternates grouping takes the place of the conventional pyramid's Dairy Food Group -- both food groups focus on calcium-rich foods. A serving of calcium-rich greens (like Kale or Broccoli) count as a serving in the Vegetables Group AND in the Fortified Soymilks and Alternates. A serving of calcium-enriched tofu, then, would fall into not only the Bean and Bean Alternates Group (soy bean), but the Fortified Soymilk and Alternates Group too (calcium-enriched). If you need help figuring out which foods fall into which groups, then visit my in-depth nutrition article where you will find a tool to help you figure out the nutritional data for various foods. And although it may take a little time to get used to, and you might find yourself measuring out your food for a while, once you begin to experiment with these amounts it will become second nature to you. Now you have a general idea of the various food groups you should be including in your diet, it's time to learn more about each group and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Take a peek at the Vegan Protein Guide to learn which foods with protein will meet your needs, how many servings you need, and finally how to select and prepare these protein-rich foods.
You'll find some important info and tips in the Whole Grains Guide, including how our grains became stripped down to their "whities", how many servings of whole grains you should eat on a daily basis, a list of grains for you to discover, and how to select, clean, soak, cook and flavor your grains to perfection. There are some very important nutrients we need to be sure to supplement with and you can learn about these in my Vegan Nutrition Guide. It's definitely worth taking a look at so you feel very confident that you are making the right dietary choices. But just because the USDA makes the proclamation of what we should eat, does that mean these food groups are, in fact, what you should eat on a daily basis? From 1956-1992, the USDA presented "The Four Food Groups", which many of us can remember from our days in elementary school.
In 1992, the USDA came out with a new fangled pyramid shape, which gave much more prominence to whole grains and cereals, bumping them from 4 servings up to 6-11 servings. But seriously, they recommend 30 percent of our diet should be grains, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent fruits and 20 percent protein.
So they started out with a chart that had a category called "Meat" and now they have switched this category to "Protein." Could it be because they have come to the conclusion that we can get our protein from foods other than meat, no problem?
So not only have they adapted the traditional USDA Dietary Guidelines, but they went one step further to actually include changes in food group composition and amounts to include the vegetarian and vegan diets! Because we are always learning new facts about food and nutrition, and it's very important to not get "stuck" in a food rut that may have been based on something you learned when you were a kid.
Although the majority of Americans consume sufficient amounts of most nutrients, some nutrients are consumed by many individuals in amounts below the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels.
It is suggested that low intakes for most of these nutrients occur within the context of unhealthy overall eating patterns, due to low intakes of the food groupsa€”vegetables, fruits, and whole grains that contain these nutrients. Many people who have major health challenges and diseases and decide to go vegan have actually been able to heal themselves through diet.
The vegan diet is here to stay, no doubt about it, and it is gaining even more momentum as time goes by. Hope this article has helped you to feel confident in choosing the foods and beverages that make up a healthy and well-balanced diet. Our content is protected by Digital Millennium Copyright ActDo Not Copy Without Permission.

If you're of small stature or are trying to lose weight, opt for the smaller end of the servings. Use it as a general guide so you understand the various food groups you want to reach for to keep your vegan diet in balance. The Bean and Bean Alternates group takes the place of the conventional pyramid's Meat grouping (protein). A serving of almond butter will fall into not only the Bean and Bean Alternates grouping (protein), but also the Fortified Soymilk and Alternates group because almonds are high in calcium. Sure, you might think you have it covered, but if you're drinking water from the tap, or from plastic bottles, or you're using a home-filtration unit, chances are you're gulping down water that is not only devoid of minerals, but filled with chemicals.
If you have been following the USDA dietary guidelines your entire life, it is certainly understandable because most of us have as well.
Dairy and eggs were included because they were consumed by the majority of these vegetarians.
However, those adaptations did not modify the underlying structure of the Patterns, but substituted the same amounts of plant foods for animal foods in each food group. I have been vegan now for eight weeks and the clear layout and endless ongoing information on your website is awesome. The scripts within this file all do something in the site, such as run your facebook or social widgets, Google analytics, fluid resizing and other functions.
If you're of a larger stature, are trying to gain weight, or have a muscular build, opt for the larger end of the servings - or more! Check out the Fresh Vegetables Guide, including WHY veggies are healthy, a primer on organics, necessary servings, juicing ideas, some general rules about veggies, and more (!), plus how to select, clean, cook and flavor your vegetables. It is natural to look to others who might know more about the topic of nutrition than we do. This Pattern can be vegan if all dairy choices are comprised of fortified soy beverages (soymilk) or other plant-based dairy substitutes.

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