Craig Ballantyne’s Vegetarian Diet Needs Help!

Vegetarian Diet Plan

Vegetarian Diet Plan

Fat loss expert and writer for Men’s Health and Oxygen magazines, Craig Ballantyne recently designed his very own vegetarian diet meal plan.

The task seemed simple enough to him, but when he came down to visit me in California, I had to set him straight on a few things about his vegetarian nutrition meal plan!

There are so many factors to consider when planning a weight loss diet, and when you throw vegetarian into the mix it only compounds the confusion.

So let’s have a look at where Craig went wrong and we’ll offer suggestions on how he can improve his vegetarian weight loss diet.

First of all, Amy’s Organic Chili is a staple in Craig’s diet, offering a really great source of protein in the beans. However, the real concern is with the high levels of sodium.

On average, most adults should consume between 1500-2200mg of sodium a day. Yet, in one can of Amy’s Chilli you will find nearly 700 mg, almost half to one third of your daily intake.

So, if you are going to have a bowl of canned chili (or any canned food) just make sure to find a low sodium alternative.

You can watch Kardena “scold” Craig here…

For vegetarians, beans and nuts tend to be the predominant source of protein and this is no exception in Craig’s vegetarian diet, where he regularly consumes an assortment of nuts, including almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios.

Just remember to eat raw nuts, and not nuts that have been roasted in hydrogenated oils.


However, many people have problems digesting almonds.

To combat this digestive issue, I recommend soaking the almonds in water for up to 24 hours.

By treating your raw almonds to a good soaking, you release the enzyme inhibitors, thereby allowing for better digestion while also increasing the nutrient absorption by up to 300%.

This neat little tip can also be applied to seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds.

With eggs, meat, and dairy omitted from a vegan diet, a common concern is whether or not one consumes enough protein on a daily basis.

But it shouldn’t be a big concern. After all, the body possesses its very own conservatory system, meaning it recycles about 75% of protein. For example, when you work out, some of the protein will break down, but your body will actually reabsorb 75% of it.

Therefore, the amount of protein that you need to replace is fairly small, despite what the bodybuilding magazines say!

As well, plant-based proteins are far easier to digest and absorb than animal-based proteins. As a result, your body will require less protein on a vegan diet then it would if you were following a regular diet. 041570054185But still there are plenty of high protein vegan foods.

Chocolate milk is Ballantyne’s drink of choice following a workout, but on a vegan diet, milk just isn’t an option.

So, I recommend unsweetened Almond Milk or Hemp Milk, with raw chocolate powder and a little bit of honey or stevia to sweeten the taste. Next, blend the ingredients together and you now have an excellent alternative to chocolate milk that is much easier to digest.

Peanut butter tastes great, especially in a bowl of oatmeal or in sandwiches. The problem with peanut butter and many other nut butters is they tend to be roasted, changing the structure of the oil thereby making it harder to digest.

So, if you are going to have a nut butter choose a raw one, such as raw almond butter and raw cashew butter.

Even if you are a lazy person, transitioning to a vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be hard. There are good and bad vegetarian diets, but the key is finding the healthy food options that are readily available.

If Craig can do it, so can you!

Kardena Pauza

12 Comments Leave a Comment

Comment by Chasey
2009-07-13 16:27:32

I know Craig was always mentioning peanut butter in his diet.I was informed,as well as found the information myself,that peanut’s carry a “mold” within them.Even organic peanuts.Therefore,I removed it completely from our house/eating habits.We consume other nuts/nut butter’s instead.My youngest daughter,(4yrs)loves “sunbutter”,made from sunflower seeds.I love eating raw almonds myself.Thank you so much for all of your wonderful information Kardenza!I’ve always felt better after eating raw veggies/fruit,in comparison to meat.I’ve incorporated far more “raw” eating habits into my life and have lost weight/felt better as a result!(The story of your father was amazing to read as well).All the best to you!

Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-08-06 02:21:05

Thanks Chasey, Yes I have also cut out peanuts except in very rare occasions. I also eat almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Keep up the great work! Congrats on your weight loss!

Comment by Debra
2009-07-15 11:21:20

Thank you Craig. I am very excited about this. I had a stem cell transplant in 2007 and due to chemo still have issues with my stomach so I have been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and stay away from meat. But needless to say, I have no idea what I am doing. I am looking for easy (I don’t cook), budget friendly way to get vegan. Thanks you so much. I look forward to learning this new way of eating.

Comment by Hayley
2009-07-16 14:23:28

I am so glad I followed the link from Skwigg’s Blog ( to yours. This is a fabulous blog! I’m slowly making my towards becoming a raw foodist and right now I’m feeling amazing. What a difference in makes in just changing your diet. Thank you again for this site!

Comment by admin
2009-07-16 23:57:48

I couldn’t agree more! I feel amazing also.
Take baby steps and master each step along the way.

Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-08-30 21:36:36

Hi Hayley, I hope you’ve gotten a chance to start the 90 day meal plan. I have some raw dishes, snacks and breakfasts in there. It will help with transitioning. Glad you found the site! Eating healthier food definitely translates to feeling great! Have a passionate day! Kardena

Comment by Karen
2009-07-21 16:58:38

You mention the importance of raw nuts but I am getting the information from others that it is difficult to find truly raw almonds locally (locally to each US person…). I have been told that even almonds labeled ‘raw’ “have been pasteurized or irradiated, under a new law passed in 2008″.

to Debra: check out Dr Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat 2 Live” book (and the yahoo support group). His initial 6-wk “diet” plan is virtually vegetarian and very easy to follow.

Comment by Lowell
2009-07-22 13:41:24

You mention using honey. Is it vegetarian? It doesn’t come directly from a plant.

Comment by James
2009-08-18 23:23:40

Hi Lowell, honey is usually considered not-vegan, but is typically considered vegetarian.

Vegetarian typically removes foods containing animal flesh/blood from the diet, while vegan is no animal products (often non-food items as well).

Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-08-21 02:49:29

Hey James, great response. yes vegans consider honey to be off limits since it is made by bees (animal/ kind of). They have labored to make the honey. Now I personally take the raw stance on honey and will have it once in a while in the raw form since it has healing properties. good or bad, I am ok with having honey sometimes as long as the bees are taken care of in the process.

Comment by blacki
2010-02-27 01:10:26

Hi everyone! I don’t know where to start but hope this site will be useful for me.
In first steps it’s very good if somebody supports you, so hope to meet friendly and helpful people here. Let me know if I can help you.
Thanks in advance and good luck! :)

Comment by Kardena Pauza
2010-03-03 13:02:38

This is a great resource for information on being healthy and lean. The posts will be very helpful to you.

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