I can’t wait to start interacting with you guys my “blog friends” more now that the semester is over!!!! I already have started a list of topics that I want to write about and I’m so excited to share them with you. For this first “summer” post I am going to focus on being vegan. I know a couple people who have mentioned they are interested in a vegan post with tips and helpful how-tos to get them started on experimenting with eating a vegan diet. This all came about when a Dr. mentioned to my mom about eating a plant-based diet to help with some health issues (say what?!? a Dr. mentioned changing to a healthy diet instead of prescribing pills!?) 🙂 I was ecstatic when my mom called and told me about this because I loved being vegan and I try to do my best now but I struggle sometimes.
Where I live it is quite hard to be vegan. The grocery stores have very little options and don’t even think about going out to eat! However, it is easier when I’m not in school because I can pre-make all my food; when I’m in school finding time to prep is extremely hard. In San Diego being vegan was so simple, it took no extra thought at all (I miss that place!) I was vegan for about 2 and a half years or so while out there. Once I moved to the East Coast/the South it became much more difficult and I have been vegan off and on since. I wanted to let you all know my background with being vegan so you didn’t think I was just making these tips and how-tos up. I always like to know how much experience someone has with what they are writing about, it gives them credibility. I am by no means a perfect, know it all vegan and if I write anything that isn’t correct PLEASE leave a comment and let me know! If you want more information leave a comment and let me know that as well 🙂 Or if you just want to leave any kind of comment go for it! Okay, now to the point of this post –> Helpful tips and how-tos on going/experimenting with going vegan:
*Some Main Necessities:
Dried Beans (canned if you don’t have time to make them)
Veggies (frozen and fresh)
Milk (almond, hemp, coconut, etc)
Dried seasonings (any kind you like)
*Read food labels!!
I am not going to go through the long list of things that are animal based but I do recommend that you look it up. When you first start the easiest way is to watch out for: milk, egg, whey, butter, animal anything, cream, the obvious things. But as you continue to get more serious more research is needed because these companies like to disguise animal byproducts with crazy names. Also, just because you think something isn’t made with milk or eggs doesn’t mean it’s not in the ingredients!!! I couldn’t believe how many things had milk that didn’t make sense.
There are so many benefits to going vegan that again, I’m not going to list them all. I also don’t believe in listing benefits I haven’t seen myself. The biggest benefit I noticed (well ok I didn’t notice this but my Dr. brought it to my attention) is the fact that my cholesterol is the lowest he has ever seen. My Dr. said that he never sees cholesterol as low as mine without medicine. That made me really happy because cholesterol isn’t something I pay attention to but I know it’s important. Also, when I first became vegan I lost a lot of weight, which was great because I was overweight and it made me feel so much better. Now I don’t notice that it helps me with my weight loss but I know that is a benefit as well. Being vegan also makes me feel better overall. I can’t completely explain it but when I am not vegan I feel weighed down and sluggish but when I eat (healthy) vegan I feel much lighter and more energized. I think that the benefits all depend on your body and how you approach being vegan but I personally think it’s worth a try.
*Simple “Recipes” I Love:
Recipes is in quotations because they are not really step by step recipes but things I threw together and began to love and used as staples in my diet.
First, is Baked Veggies. I always bring this as a side to any holiday feast so I know that there will be at least one thing I can eat and everyone always loves it. What it is any veggies you like (I use zucchini, squash, peppers, kale or whatever I have that I need to use up!) , potatoes, olive oil, garlic, dried seasonings (oregano, basil, parsley), cayenne pepper, garlic salt. While you are chopping and prepping the veggies heat the oven to about 400*F Toss it all in a casserole dish. Throw in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Stir and cook for another 20 minutes are so. The time will depend on how you want your potatoes cooked. If you are using kale you can add it in the beginning or at the end just depends on how you want your kale cooked as well. I pair this with Boca Burger veggie patties or sauteed tofu or just black beans. I also have been known to eat it by itself when it’s still hot, I don’t recommend that LOL
Next, is Kale & Chickpeas. This is something I can eat almost every night and it’s super easy to make as well. Buy a bundle of fresh kale and I usually use a can of chickpeas because this is usually a last minute meal so I don’t have beans prepared. I warm a pan over medium heat with olive oil and add in garlic and sometimes onion. Wait until the garlic is almost done cooking and throw in the chickpeas (drained) and the kale (washed and cut). Mix together and add cayenne pepper and garlic salt (my main two seasonings). Toss in pan until kale is wilted to your preference and chickpeas are warmed through. Bam! Easy dinner and if you aren’t too tired or have left over cooked tofu you can throw that with it too.
A breakfast staple of mine is Scrambled Tofu. I love eggs and when I’m not vegan I eat eggs almost every morning but I always feel awful for doing so (part of the reason I try to eat vegan most the time is because I get so sad eating animals). Scrambled tofu takes the place of my eggs when I am vegan and tastes yummy and almost the same! So for the “new to tofu people” when you use tofu you have to drain it and get all the water out of the block. I try to use towels so I don’t waste paper and put something heavy (cans or coffee maker) on top of the block to push out the moisture, one day I hope to have a tofu press! When you make scrambled tofu I recommend only using 1/4th to 1/2 the block depending on how many people you are feeding (don’t forget to get a tupperware and put the rest of the tofu in water and back in the fridge!). I press my tofu for less time because it doesn’t matter as much when making scrambled tofu. You break up the block into crumbles and toss it into a heated pan (again over medium heat) and start to sautee. I usually have already warmed up olive oil and garlic (surprise, surprise!). You can add veggies if you like before you add the tofu or you can do it plain and add stuff afterwards. Sometimes I throw the finished scrambled tofu into a gluten free tortilla with some refried beans (which are usually always canned). The tofu is done before it starts to turn brown.
I hope that helps some of you guys out there! I know it is a very general post but I wanted it to be a starting point. Like I said post comments if you like. If you are interested in being vegan and want a post about something specific post a comment and I will do my best 🙂
For more recipes or ideas check out these other posts:
“Chicken” & Avocado TacosTacos