Excellent question, let me try to give an equally excellent answer!
First of all, there should not be such a thing as a hungry vegan! I am almost always happily and satisfactorily fed. Every time someone says to me, “I was starving when I tried being vegan”, I tell them emphatically “You were doing it wrong!” If anything, I am often trying to cram more calories into the limited gastric space I was given! I was surprised to learn that people in rural China are far from starving, they actually consume MORE calories than their American counterparts…but Jenny Craig might starve in rural China because nobody is overweight!
A lot of people tell me they want to try the vegan thing….well, breakfast may be a good place to start. Worry about lunch and dinner later.
The most important meal of the day, Breakfast! I try to set off a nutritious bomb first thing in the morning! Vegetables! The heart and soul of vegan nutrition! What? You don’t like vegetables? OK, try this. I take tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, beet, kale, or whatever I can get my hands on (and I mean anything) and throw them in a blender. (I usually determine the contents of my breakfast bomb by what’s on sale that week) Try to cut off any parts that are going to taste bitter and make your vegetable power-potion nasty; celery tops, cucumber ends, etc. A good Rule of thumb, Taste it! if it’s bitter throw it in the trash, compost pile, or chicken bowl. (Yea, I might be the only vegan in the world with chickens) I like to add avocado (It gives it a smooth texture, has medium-chain fatty acids, and provides satiety) or cooked beans or peas (protein and calorie dense) and lastly some onion, garlic, or jalapeno for kick! I will use a little tomato juice to get it to blend so I don’t blow up my machine! You can also add salt or other spices to taste, and I will add sodium on a hot training day!! I know, I know, everyone wants a recipe; 2 tomotos, finely diced….etc. Sorry, I don’t “recipe”, I teach principles….Figure it out!!! Every morning my concoction tastes tantalizingly different, and I can make it in minutes. Best of all I can pour it into a 2 quart jar and take it on the road! (Yes, I did say 2 quarts, you can’t fuel the Ironman lifestyle on a cucumber and some lettuce leaves) Truthfully this is still a little calorie deficient, so I will often have some whole wheat bread, or oatmeal to supplement my morning meal.
Let me make some suggestions. First of all, let me quote my 11-year old son, whose least favorite food is “anything Dad puts into a blender”. This is what I do, not everyone can do it. However, I’ll bet everyone can do something similar with a few tweaks here and there. For instance, not everyone will wolf down a half gallon of power-potion, although you don’t know what you are missing! So go with less potion and more whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, raisin bran with soy-milk, banana, etc. Just make sure your staple is whole and plant-based. Do get some vegetable power every morning, but try mixing it with fruit and your favorite dairy substitute. I am amazed how good my vegetable blitz tastes with an apple or a few strawberries! Make sure you get some beans, peas, or the like-even if it is served on the side. (I tried frozen peas in my mixture once, DON’T) I hope these guidelines help, remember variety and quantity! Most importantly, if you are leaving the table hungry….you are doing it wrong!!!