Eat less? No. Eat better.
How many of you have ever made your own flavored seltzers? My favorite combo is cucumber and lemon.
This month, the Global Poverty Project’s Live Below the Line Challenge returns. From 29 April to 3 May, participants from the UK, Canada, Australia and the USA will get a taste of what it’s like to live below the poverty line by pledging to spend only £1 a day on food for 5 days. You can get involved too by visiting the webpage for Oxfam’s Live Below the Line and signing up for the challenge.
My greatest tip I can give is to go for it. There is so much food out there that no animals are used for or harmed in the making of, and it’s all available to us. By go for it, what I really mean is open yourself up to having an entirely different relationship with food—learning how to cook new things, learning how to bulk prep meals for the week, learning when to stock staple pantry items like quinoa and legumes and how much fresh produce you need every week.
Veganism, as far as food is concerned, is something I hardly even think about anymore. It’s second nature to me and the idea of animals as food turns my stomach, even fish, even honey. The only way to have a cruelty-free diet is to not eat any animals, at all, in any form.
Cheese was hard for me, especially cream cheese, believe it or not. I was a vegetarian before so I didn’t miss meat at all, but once you start eating a mostly-raw, diverse vegan diet, all the cravings go away pretty quickly. Cravings are largely the result of a lack of some mineral or nutrient our body needs, and when you’re eating a diverse diet of plants, whole grains, and legumes, everything sorts itself out.
We indulge in some substitutes/processed foods every now and again, maybe once a month, but although we love vegan cheeses and desserts it’s not a daily or even weekly thing. Processed food just bottom-line isn’t good for your body. The less ingredients the better!
Save the best (i.e. Daiya and Vegan Gourmet) vegan cheeses as a treat. I promise you vegan cheese has come a long way—it’s totally crave-able itself.
Our brunch game is strong. Tried out a new method for tofu scramble and it is basically perfect. #avocadoismybf #scramble #vegan #govegan
I perfected tofu scramble today.
4 medium russet potatoes, diced into small cubes
1 large zucchini, diced into small cubes
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 firm tofus, fully pressed
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tTbsp. coconut oil, divided
1 generous handful of nutritional yeast
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. black salt (very sulfuric, great for scrambles)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
salt and pepper to taste
Microwave the diced potatoes in a mircowave-safe bowl for about 7 minutes on high to get the cooking process going. This is always my trick for breakfast potatoes and cook through and brown beautifully. Heat a large skillet with one Tbsp. coconut oil and layer in the potatoes, zucchini, and onion, mixing to evenly coat. Lightly salt and pepper these to taste and let cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and fork-tender and cooked through. Turn up the heat for a minutes or two, stirring to prevent burning, which lets them, brown up a little. Remove from pan and set aside.
We have a tofu press and I highly recommend one if you don’t have one yet, they save a lot of paper towels! I do two at a time because we love leftovers. Press the tofu as much as you can and crumple it evenly into a medium-hot pan with a little coconut oil coating it, mix, and let it start cooking up.
Then, in a liquid measuring cup add a good handful of nutritional yeast, a tsp. of chili powder, a 1/4 tsp. each of black salt (sulfuric), turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and garlic powder and whisk it thoroughly in unsweetened almond milk, about 1/3 cup of it.The nutritional yeast should make it like a thick sauce. Pour that evenly over the tofu early in the cooking and mix it so the tofu will absorb as much of the flavor as possible. You can also hit it with some hot sauce but we like to do that after.
Let it cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, on medium for the most part and turn the heat up a little to get it browning toward the end. Gives it a really good texture. We added chopped spinach in this step, too—a lot of it. These were our eggiest yet—I normally just add the seasonings right to the tofu, but the sauce technique made all the difference.
Combine all noms into the pan and remove from heat, stirring to combine. Top with more nooch, some Frank’s Red Hot, and avocado.
Second all-vegan Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. Here you see cranberry from scratch; sourdough stuffing with Italian “sausage”, Brussels, butternut squash, walnuts and all the trimmings; crescent rolls of course; homemade #seitan, garlic mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy; and stuffed acorn squash with quinoa. #getonmylevel #vegan #veganthanksgiving
I just realized I only posted our Thanksgiving feast on my personal blog! How are the holidays going for you guys?
Life changes work, diets are bullshit.
Lather, rinse, repeat until it sinks in.
This recipe is so easy to make. It’s a great treat for dinner parties or just for indulging on the sofa. For the base of this delicious sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free dessert you need only three ingredients.
The reason this is so wonderful for you lies with all three of the the ingredients…
Bananas are known for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana. Additionally one banana provides about 15 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin c. Since b vitamins are more commonly found in animal products, it may come as a surprise that bananas are an excellent source of vitamin b6. One banana supplies 35 percent of your daily b6 requirement. A large study by the Internal Journal of Cancer illustrates that the probability of developing kidney cancer is greatly lessened by frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, though especially bananas. Very nice.
Additionally the avocados are packed with fibre, vitamin k, folate, vitamin b5, potassium and vitamin b6. Although they have a high fat content it is important to note they are very unusually healthy fats, such as phytosterols, oleic acid and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFA). These fats have important anti-inflammatory properties and help the digestive track absorb other vitamins at a much better rate. Researchers at Nutrition ImpactNational determined from the Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES 2001-2006) that avocado consumers were lower in weight and lower in body mass index than non-consumers. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s down to the humble avocado, but it’s likely it plays a part in a well balanced healthy diet.
Last but not least the cacao powder, giving you a nice addition of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. It also contains lipid anandamide, which is known as the “chocolate amphetamine”. It can help lift your mood and even decrease depression.
More yummy, healthy and vegan recipes on my blog, please come visit!
Plant Powered Thanksgiving with Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Before I get to the lovely food & photos above, I need to share a bit of a back story. This past summer a good friend, invited me to a vegan cooking class at a wine bar in her neighborhood. Of course I accepted the invitation - vegan food & wine? Totally up my alley! Who knew that class would be the first of many & the start of some great new friendships?!
The classes are taught by plant-based chef, Katie Gluck, who is a recent graduate of The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (my dream cooking school) where she was trained in the art of vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic & raw cuisine. Upon graduating, Katie returned to her home town of San Diego & launched Katie’s Healing Kitchen. Katie teaches monthly cooking classes at The Wine Vault & Casa de Luz, caters small scale events, & hosts private cooking classes & kids’ cooking parties. In addition, she kindly volunteers her time with the International Rescue Committee’s “Youth Food Justice,” an after school gardening program at local high schools, where she teaches healthy cooking classes to students using the organic produce they grow. Katie is passionate about harnessing the power of food to heal disease, & her it’s her lifelong goal to inspire others to make the connection between the food they eat & its effect on their body, the environment & the world. I am so inspired by Katie & the wonderful work she is doing. Her recipes are always vegan, gluten-free, & refined sugar-free. She has a gentle spirit & a genuine enthusiasm for spreading the good word about living a healthy & healing lifestyle. Her classes are fun & informative & her food is delicious. I have made many of her recipes over & over in my own kitchen. If you are San Diego based, I highly recommend visiting Katie’s site & signing up for her newsletter so you can get up to date info about her class & event schedule. And FYI, space is limited at Katie’s classes & they fill up fast!
So back to the food you see above! Last weekend’s theme was "Plant Powered Thanksgiving," the faire for this festive fall menu was scrumptious: Roasted Carrot Soup, Squash Mac & Cheese, Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash topped with Mushroom Bacon, Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Simple Steamed Kale, & Apple Crisp with a dollop of Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream & a surprise Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle. And yes, it was certainly as delicious as it looks! Katie’s recipes are healthy, yet hearty, thoughtfully crafted, easy to follow & absolutely delectable. I enjoyed each & every one of these dishes, but the star of the evening for me was definitely the stuffed squash, which will be making an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. And if you are still in search of a main event for your turkey-free celebration, look no further, ‘cause you’re in luck! Katie graciously allowed me to share the recipe!
Wild Rice & Lentil Stuffed Squash from Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 cup dried green lentils
- Sea salt or tamari to taste
- 4 winter squash, delicata, acorn or kabocha
- avocado or olive oil
- Squash - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash down the middle, & scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until squash is tender. Remove from oven.
- Onion - warm saute pan (with a fitted lid) over low heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion & cover with the lid. Stir every 5 minutes until onion is caramelized (about 40 minutes)
- Rice - In a medium pot, over medium heat, cover the bottom of the pan with oil. Once oil is hot, add the garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add rice & vegetable stock to pan & bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer & cover, about 40 minutes or until rice is done. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook lentils according to package directions.
- Combine caramelized onion, lentils, & rice together. Season with salt or tamari. Stuff squash with lentil rice mixture & bake at 400 for 10 minutes
What a perfect centerpiece on a compassionate Thanksgiving plate! Katie served the dish topped with simple steamed kale, a sprinkle of mushroom “bacon,” & a side of maple dijon roasted brussels sprouts. Yum! When I recreate this dish, I’ll likely add some chewy dried cranberries to the rice & lentil mixture.
Now before I set you free to go whip up this lovely dish for yourself, I want to introduce you to the talented photographer behind the gorgeous photos you see above. Amy Angelo, of Amy Angelo Photography, is a San Diego based photographer who specializes in babies & children, but also takes beautiful wedding, event, family & food photos. Amy is responsible for all of the photography on Katie’s website, helping to bring her dishes alive on film. Amy is also vegan, a cat lover, an activist, & makes a delicious raw pumpkin pie! If you are looking for a photographer who is as compassionate as she is talented, then Amy is your gal!
I am super grateful to have these talented ladies as friends & am so excited to share the wonderful work they do to spread wellness, beauty, & compassion.
If you are San Diego based, why not join us for Katie’s next class, "Make Your Own Christmas Presents." We’ll sip on minty hot cocoa & nibble on Christmas cookies while we learn how to make vegan friendly giftables, (think vanilla coconut body scrub, hot chocolate gift bags, baking mix). Also includes: adorable packaging and take-home recipes. Visit katieshealingkitchen.com/classes/ for more info. Hope to see you there!
Many commonly eaten plant based foods are high in iron. In fact, some of the top iron sources are vegan. So why are vegan and vegetarian diets dismissed by disapproving omnivores as “anemic?” Not understanding the science behind nutrition is what leads to common misconceptions in plant based diets. So let’s set things straight:
Iron is an essential nutrient because it helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to the body. However, taking too much iron can result in iron overload. Excess iron can lead to a number of complications, so it’s important to keep track of your intake.
There are two types of iron:
1⃣ Heme iron, which is found in animals (meat, poultry, and fish)
2⃣ Non-heme iron, which is from plants.
Heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme iron. However, it is easier to overload on heme iron than non-heme iron. Interestingly enough, vegans and vegetarians are no more likely to become anemic than an omnivore. There’s also evidence that shows that low-normal iron (which is what vegans and vegetarians store) are actually beneficial and lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
Now that we know vegan iron is non-heme iron, it’s just as (if not more) important to focus on iron absorption than to just eat a lot of iron rich foods.
Here are some tips:
1⃣ Combine Vegan (non-heme) iron foods with foods rich in Vitamin C. Even better is to eat foods that are rich in both iron and Vitamin C like leafy greens, broccoli, and tomato sauce.
2⃣ Avoid hefty meals and eat smaller amounts throughout the day to maximize absorption.
3⃣ Avoid absorption inhibitors like coffee and tea 1-2 hours before and/or after a meal.
Sadly, spinach which is very high in iron, also contains oxalates that block absorption. That is why it spinach did not make this list. Regardless, Popeye The Sailor Man is still a badass. #VegansofIG