How to Eat Out as a Vegan

Hello everyone and happy Friday!

Since the weekend is approaching, I thought that it would be a great time to discuss how to eat out as a vegan.  Honestly, this was something that I was hesitant about when I first made the transition, but we have found it easier (and more fun!) than ever!

First, because I have readers in many different parts of the world, I would recommend downloading the App “Happy Cow” on your phone (you can also pull up their website).  This is a fabulous resource; all you have to do is type in your zip code, and it will tell you all of the vegan restaurants in your area.

Unknown

Second, I highly recommend studying the menu of the restaurant you will be visiting before you go.  Most places have vegan menus or vegan options.  However, you can also look at the ingredients in meals and stay away from eggs, meat, dairy, cream, gelatin, honey, fish, whey, chicken stock, bone broth, etc.  If you have a difficult time choosing something, don’t be afraid to ask your server for help.  You may need to explain what “vegan” is to them, but they should be happy to offer suggestions.  If you get really stuck, stick to the basics like a salad or baked potato (no butter).

Some of our favorite places to dine in or pick up food from are:

*Rubios (nothing like a veggie burrito or veggie bowl.  Stay away from the chipotle cream sauce though)

*Chipotle (we love their Sofritas!  Add those to a burrito or a veggie bowl.  Do not add cheese or sour cream)

*Veggie Grill (enough said!)

*On the Border (ask your host/hostess for the “vegan” menu)

*Sushi Lounge (we have found that sushi is incredibly easy to make vegan.  You can order all kinds of vegetable rolls, sushi rice, miso soup, edamame)

*California Homemades (this is for all of my local friends.  They offer a full vegan menu)

*Jimbos (order all kinds of vegan sandwiches and sides from their deli menu daily.  They also have an enormous, salad bar and smoothies)

*Craft and Taco (this is also for my local friends.  They offer a vegan taco menu)

IMG_2359.JPG

If all else fails, stick with bean burritos at Mexican restaurants, pasta and marinara at Italian restaurants and veggie stir fry at Chinese restaurants.

I hope that helps a little!  Please contact me if you need more assistance.  Also, I would love to hear from you.  Where are your favorite, vegan options for dining or taking out?

 

 

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole (Great for Thanksgiving!)

Hello all,

Yesterday we discussed why I think it is important to leave turkeys off of our tables (on Thanksgiving and always).  You may be wondering what to make for your holiday meal instead.

This was one of the many recipes that we made during our cooking class last week and it is incredibly delicious.  Plus, it is comforting, warm and perfect for this time of year with its’ main ingredient being pumpkin.

I hope that you will give it a try and let me know what you think.

*This recipe has been modified from Fresh Creations.  For more information, check out @freshcreationssd on Instagram.

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole

(4 servings)

IMG_3301.JPG

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs Pureed Pumpkin (*we used organic, pureed pumpkin from cans instead of whole pumpkins. The directions below are for the canned option)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (small dice)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 can Organic Coconut Milk (15 oz can)
  • 2 cups Kale Leaves (removed from stem and leaves cut thin)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Sage (minced)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/3 tbsp Bread Crumbs (*we used gluten free)
  • 1 Bag of Macaroni (*again we used gluten free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In an extra large sauce pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and sage and continue cooking until onions are carmelized.
  2. While onions are carmelizing, cook pasta of choice using directions on package. Strain and set aside.
  3. Add pureed pumpkin, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to carmelized onion sage and garlic mixture. Stir/mix together. Cook 4 minutes.
  4. Add shredded kale leaves, stir everything together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine pasta with pumpkin and kale mixture.
  6. Scoop into individual ramekins or a 9×9 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs of choice. Bake for 10 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
  7. Garnish with green onion or chili pepper flakes (you can also add some tempeh bacon).

 

I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe!  Please remember that it is absolutely possible to have an amazing, and satisfying, holiday meal without consuming animal products ❤

 

 

 

The Hardest Time of Year to be Vegan and Some Fun Facts About Turkeys

Hello everyone,

I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!

I have a confession to make: I AM REALLY GRUMPY!  It took me a minute to figure out why I cannot snap out of this horrible mood, and then I realized that Thanksgiving is only one week away.  Some of you may be wondering why this holiday would possibly be anything less than something to be excited about, but let me explain it to you from a vegan point of view.

*Let me start by saying that I know that not all vegans feel the way that I do.  There are some people who are vegan for their health or the environment and may not care about the animals.  When I say vegan in today’s blog, I mean the ethical vegans who are in it for the animals.

I have decided that the holidays are the hardest part of the year for ethical vegans.  Somehow in our society we have decided that it is impossible to celebrate and to be thankful without a dead animal in our mouths:  gelatin and dairy for Halloween, turkey for Thanksgiving, pigs for Christmas and cows for the 4th of July.

And because our society is built upon these traditions, there is no escaping it.  When you go to the store, there are signs celebrating that “the turkeys are coming” and employees gleefully running around with turkey-leg headbands.  I will never understand why we count down the days until the dead corpses arrive at our stores for us to eat!  And do we actually think that these sentient beings are smiling and are happy about being bred, tortured and killed so that we can enjoy them for dinner?!  And did you know that turkeys are babies when they are killed?

IMG_3284

*This sign was in front of Trader Joe’s last week and their employees were wearing turkey-leg headbands.

IMG_3285.jpg

*This was a flyer inside of Jimbos today.  I am so glad that their cute turkeys “don’t do drugs!”

 

As if going to the store wasn’t bad enough, it seems that every non vegan is talking about “Turkey Day”.  They are planning their entire week around cooking their turkey!  We had a power outage in our neighborhood this week and the biggest concern was what was going to happen to the turkeys in people’s fridges.

And how can an ethical vegan possibly attend a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, while sitting there staring at the corpse on the table, knowing what that animal went though to get where it is?!  You see, an animal only has one life (that I know of) and I think it is incredibly selfish of us humans to take that away from them, for a fleeting pleasure on one’s tongue (and the irony is that it isn’t even good for us!!!  But that is for another day).

So that is where my bad mood has come from.  I plan on trying to stay away from the grocery stores as much as possible next week and to enjoy a vegan dinner on Thanksgiving with my family.  IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE TO CELEBRATE WITHOUT PAYING SOMEONE ELSE TO KILL AN INNOCENT BEING.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I don’t want to leave you on a bad note, so here are some fun facts about turkeys to make your day:

Unknown-1.jpeg

 

  • Turkeys enjoy hearing music and will sometimes chirp along.
  • They can run up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.
  • Turkeys are highly social and very affectionate.  They create lasting friendships with each other.
  • They have unique voices, which is how they recognize each other.
  • Turkeys have great geography skills and can learn the precise details of an area up to 1,000 acres.
  • They love to be petted.
  • Newborn turkeys search and call for their mother; they never get to be with them.

 

Please consider leaving these beautiful animals off your dinner table this year.  I am here to help if you need holiday, meal ideas. ❤

How I Feel About Prop 12 and Why I Didn’t Vote on It

Hello everyone, happy post Election Day!  I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that it is over!!  The decisions, the signs and the anxiety are enough to drive anyone crazy!  I found this ballot to be pretty easy to make my mind up about, except for one proposition that we had here in California, proposition 12.

Proposition 12 “establishes minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals. Prohibits sales of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncomplying manner. Fiscal Impact: Potential decrease in state income tax revenues from farm businesses, likely not more than several million dollars annually. State costs up to $10 million annually to enforce the measure.”

Unknown.jpeg

Having read the information you would probably wonder why, as an animal rights activist, I didn’t immediately jump on board with this proposition.  Here are my reasons why even today I am quite unsure….

My first thought when the prop came out was who is going to regulate this?  Many propositions have passed before and have not been regulated.  For example, cage free hens are absolutely not cage free and rarely see the light of day.  My worry is that people will think that these animals have a better life and better standards, when nothing has changed.  This will only encourage them to eat more meat without feeling guilty over their decisions (I used to do the same thing; I would buy the most expensive, organic, and humane meat thinking that it made a difference.  In reality, there is no difference other than the term that the industry uses to make us feel better about our choices).

Here was a CON on the proposition 12 page: “This outrageous sell-out to the egg industry betrays animals and voters. Californians already voted to ban cages by 2015. This cruel measure legalizes cages until at least 2022! And hens get just ONE SQUARE FOOT of space. Vote NO on farm animal cruelty by voting NO on Proposition 12.”

The other reason why I was confused by this proposition, was because so many people from the animal agriculture industry supported it while strong animal rights groups like PETA were against it.

While I completely understand that not everyone is going to stop eating meat and that animals should have a better life while they are here, I am not quite sure that this is the step in the right direction.  Are we just misinforming and lying to the public?

images.jpeg

Regardless, proposition 12 passed by a landslide!!!  And here is the positive side of this entire campaign trail.  The commercials opened people’s eyes about how animals are suffering and are being confined.  In addition, the “yes” vote shows how compassionate people truly are about animals (I am hoping someday that people realize that if they are so compassionate about animals, then they should stop eating them….). In addition, I have had some amazing conversations with people who are ready to be educated about where their “food” actually comes from and it’s opened their eyes.

Having said all of this, I completely admire and respect everyone who worked so hard to get this proposition passed and to fight for the animals!  You are all amazing and we have to do what we can to take steps in the right direction.

Quick Arms and Abs Workout

Do you ever get tired of doing the same workouts over and over and not seeing the results you want?!  That was me a few weeks ago.  I was stuck in the same routine and realized that my body wasn’t changing because I had plateaued (you have to keep your body guessing in order to become stronger and to see results).

So, I went from circuit training and HIIT workouts to doing Tabata.  And I have to say that I love it!  I look forward to my workouts and I do feel that my strength has increased.

Tabata is basically doing one exercise for a designated time amount, having a small break, and then performing the same exercise again.  There are many different styles of Tabata.  Lately, I have been doing one exercise for 20 seconds, with a 10 second rest in between, for 8 rounds.  Other variations include doing an exercise for 50 seconds, with a ten second rest or even one exercise for 50 seconds and another for 10 seconds.  There are many variations but the key is repetition!

I have two Tabata workouts on my Youtube playlist and think that they are both effective (although I am a bit biased :). ). Here is the Arms and Abs Tabata if you want to give it a try.  All you need is a pair of dumbbells (or water bottles), some comfy clothes and some water.  In addition, this workout is less than 20 minutes so it can easily fit into a busy day.

Have a great workout and please let me know how you feel about Tabata ❤

Baked Potato Nacho Recipe

Hello everyone,

Happy Food Friday!  Today I wanted to share one of my new, favorite recipes.  This recipe has been modified from Medical Medium’s Thyroid Healing book. I tried to make this for the first time this week and may now be making it every day!  It was absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious!

IMG_3034

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced (optional)……I used the whole thing by accident.
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream (see recipe below)
  • a drop of olive oil/coconut oil to dust potatoes with

Cashew Cream (modified from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill (we like a lot so I tend to just pour in a ton!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Slice the potatoes into “chips” that are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.  Lightly dust them with your choice of oil and add the sea salt.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, flip, and then bake for 10 more minutes (or until crispy to your liking).
  2. While the potatoes bake, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the juice of both of the limes in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Make the cashew cream sauce by simply blending all of the ingredients together. Add more water to create your desired consistency.
  4. When the potatoes have finished cooking, arrange them on a plate/serving tray.  Top them with the salsa and add some cashew cream sauce.
  5. Enjoy!