**Disclosure: If you think I am here as this crazy raging vegan to try and transform you into eating tofu and carrots for dinner you will not be satisfied. Also if you think I am that person sitting next to you at dinner judging you for eating a burger, you’re wrong again… I ate meat my whole life consistently up until about 4 years ago so no judgments here. I am solely here to share with you my renewed beliefs on food, meat, dairy, and animals from a conscious position and just trying to bring awareness to the truth of what is on our plates. Also I am very open to everyone’s point of view as I understand this is a touchy subject from some. Feel free to argue, debate or leave additional information.
I am very passionate about this subject because I saw it transform my life and I can see how we can all make a huge step in the right direction for a more loving, caring, green planet. I mean, it’s greener to be vegan for a year than to drive a hybrid car!
I understand this is a crazy amount of reading, to watch a video that sums up everything I agree with and support watch this, starting at 1:00 minute:
First I would like to start with the everyday misconceptions of vegans and vegetarians. Lets start rolling with the “shit meat eaters say”…and later on I will have all the answers for you.
“How do you get enough protein”
“This can not be healthy for you. You need milk and all those vitamins in meat and dairy”
“I could never be vegan, it is so much work!”
“What do you eat?”
“Plants have feelings too” ←- give me a f*%#ing break to compare pigs and cows to celery!
“Is all you eat soy? That is so bad for you”
“ How can you sacrifice pizza and desserts and all those yummy things that come along with cheese and butter?”
“I would loose so much weight, and always feel hungry if I tried that”
“What about B12 vitamins and Iron?”
And my favorite…
“You’re crazy, and you’re a an athlete!” Let me answer this one real quick, actually at the end of this you might understand a little more of why I don’t feel crazy eating this way and actually 3 Olympic athletes were the initial influencers for me.
I have titled this “A Practical Vegan” because realistically, with traveling, being social, all in all living a 2012 lifestyle there is always going to be sticky situations with being a vegan. Having a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving or eating some birthday cake or just traveling and wanting to try the culture/location’s food in moderation is all understandable. Do it, enjoy every bite and feel the gratitude. Most importantly don’t deprive yourself. There are many things I will add later that make it so much easier and with this movement becoming more and more dominant in our society, when you have the option why not eat vegan? I feel like I am still on the path of becoming a true vegan. I do as best I can but still eat little bits of non vegan food. Even if it’s a subtle change, in the big picture is a huge change ☺
The first, very empowering, step of this process is to switch from the cheapest mark down meats and dairy to —→ Organic, free range, grass fed, hormone free, meats, eggs and dairy. This is huge because this is the difference between eating antibiotics and hormones which are given to animals, and in turn we are ingesting, also supporting cruel practices to the animals like abuse, standing in their own poo, and this is just the start. For a better understanding here is a video that explains it all and gives you a visual of what you do not think about when purchasing these items.
**This video is graphic and will have you enter your age in order to view. It may seem surreal but it is the truth. This is what the meat and dairy industry have come down to with our high demands of these products. Maybe the first step is changing to Organic but hopefully in the long run to not support this at all.
Yes, I do understand that sometimes the organic, free-range route may cost a little more, but in the end I am sure you will feel better paying a few cents extra for your meats and dairy knowing it came from somewhere humane and healthier for you. It’s an investment for your health. Be careful to not fall for all natural labeled products and stick to true organics that are certified.
Re-learning how to eat, and yes I found it a refreshing lifestyle change, creative, and empowering feeling. Maybe you will find the same? You’ll never know until you try… Here are some pointers that i found helpful:
Proteins – are endless, and all don’t have cholesterol which is good because that leads to many many health issues and obesity. Quinoa is one of my favorites for protein. Also, all types of beans from black, pinto, northern, garbanzo, and mung are high in protein. Lentils are another favorite of mine and are very nutritious. Nuts, seeds, tempeh, tofu (I am not a fan of soy products, but they are still healthier for you than meats when you break it down), grains and veggies are all great protein options too. The list goes on. Still, to this day, I find nuts and beans or other grains that I have never heard of. There is so much out there that is cheaper than meat and work as great substitutions that you can season to get the same taste.
In addition to the above protein options almost everydayI have a protein shake. There are numerous vegan shakes out there and after trying many I found my favorite brand is Vega. I mix this in with a smoothie and it’s delicious. Your body absorbs, breaks down and digests these proteins much easier than animal protein so in the end you may actually be getting more nutrients and vitamins from your well rounded diet.
All the above proteins and meal supplements come in travel packs too which I take with me on trips. Macro Greens makes great traveling bars too.
Desserts/ Dairy/ Butter and eggs- This is my favorite part of being vegan, experimenting with new ingredients and making creations that are yummy. I would never eat something I didn’t think wasn’t tasty.
Basics for baking and substitutions: A good milk supplement is almond or coconut milk but there are so many other options as well. Find what taste you like and stick with it. Coconut is very sweet which makes it good for desserts but there is also rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk, etc. For butter I use Earth Balance which tastes and functions the same as butter but it is vegan. In some cases, applesauce works in exchange for butter and is a healthier option. For an egg substitute use a 1 tbsp. chia seed to 3 tbsp. hot water ratio. Let the seeds soak for 5 minutes and it creates the same consistency as an egg.
There are about a million and one recipes for vegan desserts. Google any recipe, put vegan in front of it and you will find a way to make it yummy and vegan. For ice cream, Coconut ice cream is my new favorite; the cookie dough flavor is so good! Another easy quick one is this Chocolate Milk Shake I made the other night:
1 frozen banana chopped, 1 cup almond milk, 2 dates, 1/2 cup coconut and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. blend until smooth and enjoy!
~Protein Packed Quinoa- with cranberries, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds and apple with syrup drizzled on top.
~Power Oats- Oats with blueberries, walnuts, strawberries pumpkin seeds and cinnamon on top.
~ Creamy fruit smoothie- Coconut Yoghurt with pineapple, mango, blackberries and protein powder or oats.
~ Vegan pancakes with peanut butter and bananas. Just sub the Chia eggs as listed above, vegan milk of choice and Earth Balance butter.
~ Tempeh bacon on Ezekial bread with hummus and tomato with side of fruit.
~ Vegan toast with peanut butter and banana
~ Snap peas
~Rice chips with guacomole and salsa
~ Trail mix, I love making this homemade with almonds, cashews, peanuts, coconut flakes, dark vegan choc. Chips, and raisins.
~Rice cakes with sunflower seed butter and Jam
~ Fruit and lots of it
~ Bean dip, with vegetarian refried beans, guacomole, salsa, soy cheese and lettuce with corn chips
~ Black bean tacos with mango salsa
~ Red pepper hummus with veggies and tempeh in a whole wheat wrap.
~ Broccolinis with quinoa salad- almond, coconut, mango, red quinoa, edamame beans, little vinegar and salt.
~ Vegan lasagna, any recipe just sub rice vegan cheese.
~ Quinoa pasta with veggies and pesto sauce.
~ Curry stir fry with Coconut milk, veggies, brown rice, pinapple and lentils.
~ Vegan pizza, tomato sauce, loaded with veggies and roasted garlic, fresh basil and rice vegan mozzarella cheese on top if you still want the cheese for looks and texture.
~Garden burger with avocado, spinach, tomato on whole wheat bun with side of sweet potato fries.
~ For fast food, there are numerous frozen options that “Amy’s”, “Whole Kitchen”, and “305” make from pizza to burritos, raviolis, mac and cheese, waffles, enchiladas, stir frys etc.
Below is a food pyramid to show you the break down of a vegan diet:
If you choose to go vegan it is a change, but the good news is that more than ever there is so much support out there. Vegan restaurants, numerous blogs and recipes online (you can literally type in anything from meatloaf to rice crispy treats and you will find a vegan recipe for it), and every grocery store carrying the ingredients you need.
If you are going to give it a try another tip is to be prepared. Eat a little before going somewhere you know won’t have much vegan food or travel with trail mix, bars, fruit, protein bars and meal shakes. Here are some of my favorite websites that I go to if I want some new ideas for meals or desserts:
Something else that also helped me transform my new lifestyle was purchasing a Vitamix blender. There are endless recipes for soups, breads, smoothies, juices, dips, sorbets, and desserts that are all really easy to make with this because it acts like a food processor and a juicer but keeping all the nutrients. It is spendy but worth the investment for your health. I got mine refurbished which saved some money.
There is so much to explore and learn that I could go on for pages and pages, but take it into your own hands, create your own journey and see what you find. No lies, people will call you crazy and argue with you to the end about it but stay strong, true to your beliefs and informed so you can defend any negativity. I wish you luck and love. I know that whatever you put out into the world returns back to you and by making a peaceful change like this only good things can return. Thank you for listening and allowing me to open up about my passion, it holds a special place in my heart. I love animals and our planet, and it is really quite simple… Much Love.