I hope that you had a wonderful ThanksLIVING! We had a wonderful holiday and I am trying to get myself back in gear 🙂
Today I wanted to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart, and it’s also something that most people do not know about. This subject is dairy!
I was vegetarian for years and often ate cheese, whey, ice cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese, all while thinking that I wasn’t contributing to any animals being harmed or killed. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong.
The dairy industry does a fantastic job at hiding the truth and telling us that it is perfectly okay to be consuming milk from another species. In fact, we need it for “strong bones” and “it does a body good”.
*Look at these happy cows, surrounded by family, living in green pastures.
Let me give you a quick summary of what actually happens in order for humans to drink cow (or goat) milk. First, how do you think a cow produces milk? Just like other animals, she needs to be pregnant! The farmer will artificially inseminate a female cow on a device that is often referred to as a “rape rack”. She will be pregnant for 9 months, just like a human, and will give birth to her baby. As soon as the baby is born, he or she will be ripped away from their mom (they don’t want the babies drinking OUR milk) and the mom will cry in agony for days. If the baby is a boy, he will be killed for veal. If the baby is a girl, she will be raised as a dairy cow. All dairy cows will be considered “spent” at about 4-5 years old and will be killed for beef.
In addition to the animal cruelty, the dairy industry has done an incredible job of hiding the harmful effects of dairy on our health. Dairy has been linked to certain cancers (including breast and prostate), is full of saturated fat, cholesterol and contains PUS. It has also been linked to asthma, acne, type 2 diabetes, bloating, constipation, and osteoporosis (you read that right! Because milk is so acidic, it actually depletes calcium from our bones!!!). Dairy definitely does NOT do a body good!
So next time you are at the grocery store, instead of reaching for dairy milk, just walk over 5 steps and try some plant based options instead. No animals had to be killed for them, they are better for your health and they are delicious!
Also, please know that I am always here for you if you have questions about making the transition ❤
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
- 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
- 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.
- While onions are carmelizing, cook pasta of choice using directions on package. Strain and set aside.
- Add pureed pumpkin, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to carmelized onion sage and garlic mixture. Stir/mix together. Cook 4 minutes.
- Add shredded kale leaves, stir everything together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine pasta with pumpkin and kale mixture.
- 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.
- 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 ❤
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!
Makes 2-3 servings
- 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!)
- 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).
- While the potatoes bake, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the juice of both of the limes in a small mixing bowl.
- Make the cashew cream sauce by simply blending all of the ingredients together. Add more water to create your desired consistency.
- When the potatoes have finished cooking, arrange them on a plate/serving tray. Top them with the salsa and add some cashew cream sauce.
I originally made the full transition to a vegan diet in 2016 after my dog died. When I was watching him suffer, I realized that I never wanted to contribute to an animal’s suffering for as long as I lived. I also made the connection that “meat” came from an animal, an animal who was tortured and killed for my five minutes of pleasure.
Although the animals were absolutely enough to keep me vegan for the entirety of my lifetime, I truly love the health benefits of being vegan as well. I had hoped that I would feel better but some of these benefits were truly unexpected. My body has completely transformed inside and out. I will take you through some of the major health benefits that I have experienced over the last two years.
Lyme Disease Remission: for those of you who haven’t been following my blog for long, you may not know that I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2015 (for more information on this please click here). I had awful symptoms including severe leg pain, digestive distress, anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, memory loss and fatigue. I spent $1000’s on treatment and at one point was taking over 90 supplements per day. Within a few months of switching to a vegan diet, almost all of my symptoms disappeared.
Less constipation and bloating: okay this may seem like TMI, but going to the bathroom is a really important part of our health. On a diet that consists mostly of animal products, we are not getting the fiber that we need (meat, dairy and eggs contain 0g of fiber!!!!). This can lead to constipation and bloating. (Side note: did you know that a healthy person should go to the bathroom 3 times per day?!). Going vegan definitely helped me with this issue.
No more thyroid pills: just like many people around the world, I was put on thyroid medication at a very young age. I had been taking thyroid medication for 15 years prior to going vegan. After a year of being (mostly) a whole food plant based vegan, my thyroid had healed itself and my doctor took me off of my medication. No more of those nagging pills!
Clear skin and strong nails: this one may not seem very important but I am sure that most of us know what it feels like to wake up with a giant pimple on the center of your face! It can truly halt your confidence and put a damper on your day. Whenever I would consume dairy, I would almost immediately develop cystic like acne on my face and body. My skin has cleared up dramatically since being vegan. In addition, my nails are stronger than ever!!!
Less pain during that time of the month: I can vividly remember the days of curling up in a ball on the floor because my menstrual cramps were trying to kill me! This would happen every single month and I truly dreaded my period. Nothing seemed to help including Midol or chocolate. Although I still get a tiny little cramping, it is nothing like it used to be.
Transitioning to a vegan diet has truly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love the feeling of saving animals, but it has improved my health dramatically, and in only two years. I cannot wait to see what the future holds and to see how my health will improve from here. I bet that it will just keep getting better and better ❤
I would love to hear from you; what health improvements have you seen from switching to a vegan diet?
A few months ago I took a wonderful class in San Diego with a business called Veg-Appeal. It was incredibly informative and we ate ahhhh-mazing food! This was one of my favorite recipes from Veg-Appeal and I wanted to share it with you (with their permission, of course!). It may look like a lot of work, but it really isn’t, and it is SOOOO worth it!
Quinoa Power Bowl with Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing
- 4 cups Mixed baby greens, chopped
- 1/2 cup Red cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 cup Cucumbers, chopped
- 1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Cooked great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp Smoky Maple “Baco Bits” or your favorite nut or seeds, toasted or raw
- 2 cups Anti-inflammatory Quinoa, cooled
- 1/2 Avocado, cubed or sliced
- 2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds (if in season) or chopped apple or soaked/drained dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing (see below)
Smoky-Maple “Baco Bits”
- 1 cup Raw Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
- 1/2 tbsp Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 tbsp Tamari, Braggs Liquid Aminos, or soy sauce
- 1-1-1/2 tsp Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed, drained well
- 2 cups Low-sodium vegetable broth, or water
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- Black pepper, to taste
Tangy Lemon -Herb Dressing
- 1/4 cup Dates, pitted and soaked (about 3 large or 6 small)
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1 small Zucchini, chopped (this thickens and extends the dressing without adding additional fats and calories)
- 2-4 medium cloves Garlic
- 1/3 cup Lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Chia seeds
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp Salt or 1 tbsp light miso
- 1/4-1/2 cup loosely packed Fresh herb, or a mix of herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, scallions, oregano, for example, going lighter on stronger flavors like oregano and basil)
Prepare the Smoky-Maple “Baco Bits”
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Marinate the nuts/seeds for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place them on a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and place back in the oven to bake for 3 more minutes, or until getting a little browned and crispy-they will crisp up further as they cool.
Prepare the Anti-Inflammatory Quinoa
- Bring all of the ingredients to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir well. Reduce the heat to a low-simmer. Cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork, replace the cover and let cool.
Prepare the Tangy Lemon-Herb Dressing
- Soak the dates in the water for about 1/2 hour, using warm water if you are in a hurry. Do not drain.
- Add the water and dates to a blender along the rest of the ingredients, and blend.
- Add more liquid (water or lemon juice) to achieve the desired consistency.
Serve, or refrigerate for up to one week, adding more lemon/water as it thickens over time.
Assemble the Power Bowl
- Toss the salad ingredients well in a large salad bowl. Drizzle on the dressing and toss to mix.
- Divide into two large salad bowl. Serve immediately, or chill for about an hour.
Click here for more information on Veg-Appeal.