Vegan Diet: What to Eat to Heal
What To Eat
Bear in mind you should check with your physician before embarking on any diet - even though this is not a weight loss diet.
Here are the food choices if you follow a vegan diet. All of these items should be fairly available foods. You can simply eat just what is listed here, trying to focus on higher protein three times a day and greens, or you can incorporate higher protein, the dark leafy greens, whole grains and fruit into your existing diet.
However, if your diet is filled with sugary carbs, white flour, processed products and sodas, it's not going to work at all, and in fact we have found vegans who eat poorly can have equal-to-or-greater healing issues than smokers. Stick mainly, if not solely, to these foods and you will heal quickly.
The keys in this diet are a heavier load of dark greens and some added plant-based protein, such as quinoa, chia, beans and legumes. We aren't big fans of tofu or tofu-based meat replacements. Unless clearly marked organic, most soy today is genetically modified, and either version can affect estrogen levels and wreak havoc on our systems, particularly at this time. Use with caution.
Increasing your greens and other fruit and vegetables can actually meet your protein needs sufficiently. Have you ever seen a weak 400 lb gorilla? No. There are sufficient proteins in plants. It's the addition of meat to plants, and namely refined carbs that create most of the health issues we see today in meat-based diets.
There are also foods that seem healthy, such as soy, protein powders and bars, but in quantity simply won't give you what you need for healing. We don't recommend certain things for this reason, so feel free to join us for unlimited one on one help where you can ask all the questions you may have, including what other foods are good to add.
Remember this is not a time to lose weight. We'd also like to caution you against fried, refined or fatty foods at this time. It will hamper your healing. Don't restrict your caloric intake at this time of the foods we recommend. Just eat what you need to eat.
Truth of the matter is, if you follow this and don't over stuff yourself, a side benefit of balancing your blood sugar is we find many patients will drop quite a few pounds despite this not being a weight loss diet. Heal correctly and get trimmer - what could be better?
If you're vegan, select your foods from this list.
Sample Food list: Bolded foods are key
Apples, Pears, Peaches, Oranges, Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Mangos, Papaya, Plums, Lemons, Bananas (not limited), peanut butter, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts - raw, unsalted (small amounts - 10 is a serving), Tofu, Soy & Meat Alternatives, Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Mushrooms, Romaine Lettuce, Red or Green Lettuce, String beans, Broccoli, Green or Red Peppers, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fresh herbs, Zucchini, Artichokes, Asparagus, Red Potatoes - only, Sweet potatoes - fresh, simply prepared. Onions, Shallots, *Garlic - after surgery only. Whole Wheat-berry bread, short grain brown rice, Beans, Legumes, Quinoa, Chia seeds, Olive oil, Walnut Oil, butter - moderate amounts. Herbs, Spices, Cinnamon.
Avoid salt, canned soups, boxed and processed foods, sodas, sweets and sugary bakery items.
The vegetables should be fresh when possible and frozen is acceptable as well. Avoid canned vegetables . Include a very hearty 100% whole wheat-berry sprouted type bread and a quality, nutty short grain brown rice. Limited whole wheat pasta is acceptable, but check out some new Quinoa recipes as a better grain and protein option than soy based products.
Do not use artificial sweeteners during your recovery.
Salad dressings are fine, just don't overdo it because the fats from nuts and dressings can create health issues similar to the meat-based diet you left behind. A light drizzle of olive oil or walnut oil and a little garlic/parsley salt on a salad is one of our favorite salad dressings. Try it, you might be amazed.
In limited quantities you can use: sugar, brown sugar, honey, real maple syrup or stevia (we like the Sweetleaf liquid varieties in Lemondrop or Valencia orange) for your lemon tea - more about that here.
With sugar usage during recovery, be it sugar, honey or maple syrup, use some restraint as you can unbalance your blood sugar and undo the benefits of your Vegan Healing Diet. Stevia is so great in our Lemon Tea and other recipes because it doesn't add to your sugar load at all.
What To Drink
You'll need to increase your daily water intake from between 10 and 12 glasses a day if you aren't already, and that is sufficient. No need to drink gallons, you will wash your minerals away that this diet is actually providing. You can cause yourself harm by flooding yourself with more than the recommended amount of water per day.
Once or twice a day in either cold or hot water, add the juice of one lemon and sweeten to taste with sugar, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar or stevia. This is our recipe for 'Lemon Tea'. Please do not use any artificial sweeteners during this time.
Lemon is a natural purifier and diuretic. It will help to flush surgery meds, dead fat cells, body fluids and toxins out of your system. Your skin will become clearer and you may even register a loss on your scale from the loss of water weight.
Those of you that know us are used to us recommending the 'lemon tea' as a way of flushing out surgery meds and reducing water retention - thus reducing soreness in breasts before and after surgery. It really does work and many of our physicians are now recommending the same. See our expanded info on Lemon Tea.
Avoiding caffeinated beverages at this time, and stopping caffeinated beverages before your surgery can prevent you from going through caffeine withdrawal in the first few days after surgery, which is a horrible double whammy.
Caffeine is not going to aid your healing, and it's counter-productive to your hydration. Our patients report increased pain and swelling with caffeine use during their recoveries.
According to the Mayo Clinic, while caffeine does not directly cause benign breast lumps, large amounts of caffeine can cause hormone levels to fluctuate, which can be a cause of pain and breast cysts. Although the benign fibroid cysts that are linked to caffeine use are non-cancerous, they can be very painful, as well as emotionally distressing for a woman suffering from them.
Again, we recommend getting off of caffeine, at least temporarily, prior to your surgery to avoid going through a new surgery and caffeine withdrawal all at the same time. The fact you will not be able to have caffeine the morning of your surgery and for around 24 hours, or longer, depending on your post op plan, is enough to launch you into a painful caffeine withdrawal.
We have an entire food section dedicated to the Healing Diet, with a variety of choices, beautiful full color photos, and options for meat as well as plant-based diets, so after reading this section on your personal diet type, move onto our Healing Diet page to find the recipes and combinations you need.