Food is medicine. What you put in, should fuel your body and protect you against diseases, not cause them.

After much research and learning way too much about the food industry and the shit they produce (seriously, it's shit), the only logical thing to do was to go Vegan. There is endless research on the benefits of a vegan diet. Just assume everything you've been told about nutrition has been a lie your whole life. Like the food pyramid. 12 Servings of grains/carbs is not necessary. Everything you could possible need to flourish, you can find in a Vegan diet. 

Processed foods are pretty much the worst things ever invented. They strip you of nutrients, thus making you hungrier then when you started. In turn, the food industry wins because they've now gotten you to eat more than the serving size, made you hungrier, making you spend more. Along with the added sugar which gets and keeps you addicted to their food. Instead, eat unprocessed, nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods give you more nutrients (durrrr) which in turn fills you up faster, and in the long run you will end up eating less. Your body will begin to adapt to the change. You'll first find yourself eating more as your body accepts the change, but after a week or two, you'll find your appetite has shrunk because you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to function. Simple, right?

I'm going to refer to this section as Vegan for Dummies Beginners:

What is a meal?
Silly to ask? I'm sure you probably think so. But let's be honest, our idea of a "meal" needs to change. You do not need half your plate filled with meat, 1/4 grains and a 1/4 veggies. A proper plate should be focused on vegetables, let's say 1/2 veggies, 1/4 whole grains, 1/4 protein. 

I can't give up meat!
I know what you are thinking. It seems like a big thing to give up. But do you really enjoy the taste? What is about meat that you enjoy so much? The texture or is it the taste? I'm not one who's partial to meat, so I find it difficult to relate. If you are struggling with the thought of giving it up, start slow. Cut out read meat though, hands down, no questions, do it now! It is not good for you. I'm not an expert, so don't trust me. But do some research on the subject, and I'm sure you'll begin to ween away from it.

I love cheese and milk!
I love cheese. No, I looooooooooove the taste of cheese. But my body hates it. Approximately 80% of our population is lactose intolerant. Do you know we are the only species that continues to drink milk (of any kind) after infancy? Hmmmm, why is that? We've been told our whole lives, (depending on when you were born) that "Milk does a body good". That's a lie too. You don't need milk or cheese for calcium. The calcium found in milk and cheese actually work against your body in processing it. Yes, Vitamin D is important. More important than taking a Calcium supplement. Research if you don't believe me.
Here's a thought, the next time you go to buy milk or cheese, picture in your head the cow it came from. It has been drugged with hormones it's entire life to make it lactate perpetually. It is hooked up to a machine, rubbing and chaffing the shit out of it's nipples to the point where they bleed. Guess where that blood ends up? Yup, in your milk. So then they put antibiotics in the cow or milk to keep from infection happening. Still sound delicious to you?
Find an alternative. My favorite is Coconut Milk. I use it in my shakes every morning, unsweetened of course.

How many meals per day should I eat?
To keep your metabolism going and running all day long, think of it like a wood stove. You start your fire with a couple logs, and every hour or so you need to add another log to keep the fire going. Your metabolism is very similar. You're largest meal should be eaten in the morning. Try to eat within the first 2 hours of waking up, first hour is even better. Then throughout the day you should eat every 2-3 hours. And no, I don't mean sit down and have a full out meal every 2-3 hours. But you should be having around 200-300 calories each time. Aim for 5 meals a day. Breakfast being your largest, maybe a snack, then a slightly smaller lunch, another snack, then a light dinner. 

Where do you get protein from?
Every vegan is different, but in my opinion, beans and legumes. They are your best natural resource for protein. Rinse them properly and no need to worry about the gas issue. Ideally, you should purchase organic bags of beans. Rinse them and soak over night. Drain and store. You can even freeze them after they are soaked and store them for a week or two. (Same goes for grains too.)

What kind of carbs should I eat?
Whole grains. Nothing bleached, nothing white. Anything bleached has been stripped of its natural beneficial nutrients and then replaced or "enriched" as they like to call it. Why do they bleach it? So it looks pretty. That's just plain silly. Suck it up and adapt to whole grain everything! The best grains for you, to name a few, are brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats. Fill your pantry with them. I like to make a big batch of a few grains on Sundays so I have them for the week. If you're a sandwich person, start asking for whole wheat bread or even better, wheat wraps. Don't be fooled though. If you're grocery shopping, check the back of the wrap packaging for the ingredients list. Some are endless. Don't buy those. Try to find ones that you can pronounce every ingredient.

Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants

Cafe La Mattina - Maynard, MA
1 Nason Street - 978-897-1516

EVO - Worcester, MA

Bankok Hill - Lunenburg, MA

Pickity Place - Mason, NH