Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide

You wanna do WHAT?

So you want to do something amazing for your body, mind and spirit? What to do, what to do? Well how about you eat only plant-based, unprocessed whole foods for 3 weeks? That means 21 days, 504 hours, 30,240 minutes, or 1,814,400 seconds? If you are used to eating a traditional American diet (eggs for breaky, turkey sammy for lunch and grilled chicken for dinner) you are definitely in for a challenge. Are you up for it? Can you give up your beloved morning mochacino, your afternoon pick-me-up pepperoni pizza, or your favorite delicious double fudge cookie crumble ice cream sundae? Well if you are ready to experience real life, then all I can suggest is that you eat REAL food for 3 weeks! This means eating foods that only contain ingredients that you could make yourself.  You will notice a huge difference in energy, mood, digestion and cravings. Don’t believe me? Well over these next few days I will be revealing “Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide”  including tips, meal ideas, recipes and fun facts!

Who am I?

No I am not a doctor, scientist or even a nutritionist… No I don’t even have my degree yet. But I have spent a lot of hours reading book after book, article after article and blog after blog on eating a plant-based diet. Everything I am telling you is mostly from my readings, and I am not pulling this information out of my you-know-what! I have 3 suggestions for you ; (1) read this post (2) start googling like a crazy person. There are numerous blogs out there trying to educate people on eating a whole, unprocessed plant based diet (see the end of my post for a few of my faves). (3) When you are convinced (probably right away) you need to buy my favorite book; “The Thrive Diet” by Brendan Brazier. He is a vegan Ironman athlete, and he teaches the everyday Joe Shmos (us) about eating for a vibrant life!

Hmmm.. I heard protein and calcium are important.

Are you still questioning whether or not a vegan diet can be healthy? You are probably wondering where you will get your protein, or your calcium? Well I hate to break it to you but the everyday Joe Shmo actually eats much more protein than required. Remember that old saying “quality not quantity”? Well when it comes to food that saying is spot on. The quality of the protein is the most important, not the quantity. Well now you are probably thinking that animal sources of protein are much higher quality? WRONG! Plant based proteins are easily digested and more readily available for absorption in your body. Your body will thank you for feeding it foods that don’t take too much effort to break down. Why waste energy on digestion when you can spend it on other fabulous things like dancing around in your underpants? :)

What will I eat??

Well if you start this challenge thinking you are going to eliminate all animal products and only eat the remaining foods (veggies, fruits and salads), you won’t get making it 21 days. The point of a vegan diet is not deprivation, but instead adding in wonderful nutrient dense foods. A vegan diet consists of grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, fruit, and veggies. You won’t be measuring, counting, or calculating anything. You don’t need to starve yourself or limit food intake. Instead you will be feeding your body nutritious nutrient dense foods that are naturally lower in calories in comparison to meat and dairy. You think nuts are fattening? Check out the nutritional breakdown of your favorite hamburger! Yikes!

If you are still lost and confused, that is okay. Over the next couple of days I will be posting shopping lists, meal ideas and tons of recipes! Until then here are a few links to my favorite blogs!

If you want nutrient dense meal ideas visit:

If you want ideas for yummy vegan desserts as well as a ton of meal ideas visit:

If you want interesting information on all aspects of living a holistic life visit:

If you still aren’t 100% convinced about trying out a vegan diet visit:




I hope you enjoyed reading my first post of “Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide”. Stay tuned for a shopping list and meal ideas.



Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide Part 2

She is so crazy!!

Welcome back to Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide! Are you still asking yourself questions like ‘what am I going to eat?’, ‘will I starve’ and why is Krazy Karlee asking me to eat vegan for 21 days?? Well that’s just it. I am not asking you to give up meat, dairy and eggs for the rest of your life! Then why am I challenging you to go 21 days without animal products and suggesting you to focus on whole, real, nutrient dense foods? Well my little food loving friends, I am challenging you because once you eliminate salty, fatty and sugary processed foods your taste buds will no longer crave or desire these foods. No I am not saying that you will never want ooey gooey cinnamon buns ever again, but you won’t experience that gotta have it feeling everyday. Everyone gets food cravings once in awhile, but when your taste buds are accustomed to these processed foods your taste buds won’t be satisfied with anything less. Once you train your taste buds to enjoy wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, you won’t need to rely on quick and easy pre-packaged foods. You will actually start to lose your taste for fake foods and start to crave REAL wholesome food!

On top of allowing our taste buds to have ‘cheap’ taste for processed foods, many of us have come to rely on meat, dairy and eggs as staples in our diet. Wait, doesn’t the Canada’s Food Guide suggest eating said items? Well yes it does, but it also recommends that fruits/veggies make up the largest percentage of your diet. How many of you can say that you eat more produce than say grains, or dairy? Not many people can. I know a few years ago, before I really started learning about natural nutrition I would consume anywhere from 3-5 dairy servings a day. Milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese strings were a staple for me, and a day without dairy was hard to find. Now I have learned a new way to eat that doesn’t involve a heavy reliance on meat or dairy. That is why I started this 21 day challenge – I want people to realize how much they rely on certain foods, and how they can easily tweek their diet to include more natural foods. After you go 21 days without your ‘go-to’ foods, you will realize that there are soo many yummy snacks and meals out there that don’t revolve around Kraft Singles and cream cheese.

How to be the most prepared vegan ever:

Since I am a student I like to do all of my grocery shopping on the weekend and spend a chunk of time preparing meals. I usually make a big stew/soup/stir fry at the beginning of the week and take it for lunches.

To ensure success on your 1 week vegan challenge try making:

-1 or 2 grains: brown rice/quinoa

-Make a batch of sweet potato fries/chunks

-Make chick peas, lentils or other beans.., Or open up a few cans and keep them in tupperware

-Grind up flax/chia seeds in the magic bullet

-Cut up a bunch of veggies for snacking on and for adding to salads

-Make up other salad toppings such as corn, edamame beans, peas and keep them in the fridge

-Make a big batch of any type of soup, stew or curry that you can take for lunch

-Slice, steam and then marinate a block of tempeh… You only need to stir fry it in a pan for a few minutes to make it warm/crispy

-Make up a few different fresh salad dressings

*If you are confused what you will be using some of these foods for, that’s ok. I will be posting some meal ideas (including my favorites) tomorrow. The best way to learn how to cook certain foods above is to simply google directions or search within some of the blogs that I posted yesterday. I will also be posting some of my favorite recipes on the weekend.


Suggested grocery list:

*You won’t need to buy all of these things, but having a large selection of these foods will make your vegan meal prep much easier.



-whole wheat pasta

-brown rice


-brown rice crackers

-whole wheat bread

-whole wheat wraps

-rolled oats




-dried or canned beans (combination of chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)

-dried or canned lentils (red, green, brown)


-edamame beans

-frozen peas



-raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts)

-seeds (sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds)

-all natural nut butters


-flaxseed oil

-olive oil

-coconut oil


Fresh Veggies and Herbs:


-sweet potatoes



-bell peppers






-romaine lettuce














-frozen blueberries

-frozen strawberries







Post 3 Sept 25, 2011

Break Away From the Norm!

As I mentioned in my previous post, so many of us have learned to rely
so heavily on meat, dairy and eggs. Breaking away of our regular
eating habits can be very difficult. Once you eliminate your
dependence on processed foods, meal planning will revolve around
nutrient dense, whole foods. So what does that mean?


You have heard it before “breakfast is the most important meal of the
day”. But honestly it really is! Starting your day with a
high-sugar cereal or pastry is like fueling your Mercedes with urine.
You might be able to run off fumes for a bit, but soon enough you
will be face down in a ditch with no energy to get back on the
highway.  Just like you, your metabolism needs an alarm clock. So why
not wake it up with a burst of energy and nutrient dense food?

BreakfastMeal Ideas

There are many options for a delicious and filling vegan breakfast! Can’t
think of any? Well keep on reading my friend.

Try using a rice/hemp/pea protein powder to kick start the day with some
easily digestible protein.  Use frozen fruit as a base and add in
banana/avocado for creaminess.

 To supercharge:  Try adding in ground flax or chia seed. If you are
feeling extra adventurous add in a handful of spinach.  I promise you
won’t taste it, but your body will definitely notice the extra
addition of phytonutrients.

Karlee’s Fave #1: strawberries, banana, avocado, spinach, almond milk and
sprouted brown rice protein powder

Karlee’s Fave #2: blueberries, banana, molasses, spinach, almond milk, ginger,
cinnamon, squash puree

Karlee’s Fave #3: blueberries, banana, cocoa powder, spinach, almond milk,
mint extract, vanilla


Toppings: almond butter and banana/apple, avocado, hummus/tomato

To supercharge: Try using sprouted whole wheat bread instead of regular
whole wheat. Make sure your nut butter is all natural (no added salt
or sugar).

Karlee’s Fave: sprouted wheat toast with almond butter, cinnamon, banana,
unsweetened coconut flakes and chia seeds


Make oats with almond or rice milk instead of cow’s milk

Add ins: nut or rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, mint,
pumpkin, nut butters

 Toppings: fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut

To supercharge: try using regular oatmeal and not quick oats. Add in
some ground flax/chia to up the healthy fats.

 Karlee’s Fave: oats cooked with almond milk, banana, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger
and pumpkin puree! Top with unsweetened coconut flakes and chia



I am not a huge fan of 98% of the cereal on the market. You need to be
very diligent and make sure there are not any modified milk
ingredients added in. Cereal has become a convenience food and it
usually loaded in fat and sugar. If you don’t have the time, energy
or resources to make your own make sure you read your labels!

Avoid any cereal with ingredients that you don’t know how to pronounce.

Don’t be tricked by fancy organic cereals! Sugar can be organic so that
doesn’t stop them from loading their cereal up with it.

 Try adding puffed rice, millet or quinoa to increase volume without
adding sugar/fat.

Eat your cereal with nut or rice milk, topped with fresh fruit, nuts,
seeds etc.

To supercharge: make your own granola with oats, honey, coconut, nuts,
seeds and dried fruit!

Karlee’s Fave: homemade granola with puffed millet/rice, topped with banana,
blueberries and almonds!



Do you still think it is hard to eat vegan? Well lunch and dinner are just
as simple as breaky. Just remember “BEAN + GREEN + GRAIN”.

Lunch & Dinner Meal Ideas:

*Big green salad

GREEN: Start with a base of mixed greens or spinach

BEAN: chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils

GRAIN: sweet potato chunks, brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole wheat pasta

Toppings/Add-ins: nuts, seeds, tempeh, fruit, raw veggie chunks

Dressing: please oh please do not ruin your salad with a bottled dressing! Take
one second and read the label and tell me if you still want to eat
it? Homemade dressings are easy-peasy! All you need to do is combine
oil, vinegar and some flavor. I will be posting some of my favorite
homemade dressing recipes soon 

To supercharge: Use organic veggies in your salad. Google the ‘dirty
dozen’ to see what produce should always be purchased organic. Try
topping with hemp seeds for a boost in digestible plant based

Karlee’s Fave: bed of spinach, curried lentils, sweet potato chunks, quinoa,
raw tomato, shredded beets, sunflower sprouts, almonds, pumpkin seeds
and my curry paprika dressing.


You can cook up a yummy vegan soup with only using 1 knife, 1 cutting
board and 1 pot… No reason to pass on this yummy meal!

Simply add a grain and bean into a pot with veggies and stock/water and
simmer away. Once the grains are soft add in some greens until
wilted. Voila, fresh soup!

It is very simple to find vegan soup recipes online – Google is your

Supercharge: add in cayenne pepper to help promote circulation and increase

Karlee’s Fave: Curried lentil stew with sweet potatoes and swiss chard!

*Grain/Bean salad

Use brown rice pasta, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, millet, brown rice

Follow same concept of a green, bean and a grain

Try to keep the veggie/grain ratio high. I like to make my grain/bean
salads with a 1:1 veggie to grain ratio

Try using fresh parsley, cilantro or basil for a blast of fresh

Karlee’s Fave: I recreated a Greek salad without feta and added into quinoa
and chunks of sweet potato! Use all the veggies you would in a
traditional greek salad (green/red/orange bell peppers, tomato,
cucumber, onion, olives) and top with a tasty salad dressing. I like
adding lemon and dill for flavor.

Afternoon Snack:

*It is important for the metabolism/hunger to have a substantial afternoon
snack. It will help curb hunger and cravings, allowing you to make it
to dinner.

Snack Ideas:

*Almondbutter and crackers, or apple

*Hummus and crackers/veggies

*Small bowl of oatmeal or cereal


*Trail mix

*Vegan muffin

Now tell me those meals don’t sound delicious! Remember this is only a
21 day challenge. Soon enough you will be reacquainted with your
favorite foods – that is if you still want to eat them. Again, no
one is expecting you to be a hardcore tree hugging, granola munchin
vegan for the rest of your life. This challenge is about retraining
your taste buds and finding the joy in eating nutrient dense, whole

So you aren’t ready to complete 21 days of eating vegan? Why don’t you
try to go 1 meal a day, or 1 day a week without animal products. Then
after you have heard about my dad’s great experience you can give
it a try for yourself 

Ciao for now my food lovin friends,

Karlee aka Lentil Lady

Contact Karlee:  karlee@peterdiesing.com

One thought on “Karlee’s Vegan Survival Guide

  1. Hi Karlee and Pete,

    I made a super delicious salad dressing from the Rebar cookbook. It’s a basil vinaigrette and I’m even using it as a drizzle over veggie sticks because it is soooo yummy.

    yields 1 1/4 cups = 300mL

    2 garlic cloves, mince
    1 1/2 Dijon mustard
    2 tbsp honey
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 1/2 (45g) fresh basil leaves
    1/2 tsp salt (I didn’t use this)
    1 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
    1 cup olive oil

    Put all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil in a slow, thin stream until thick and creamy.

    Season to taste and serve, or refrigerate up to 3 days.


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