What do vegans eat?!

You have decided that you are ready to go vegan, you’ve found your “why”, you have studied all of the benefits, but now you are wondering…..what do vegans eat????

The short answer is that vegans eat everything that non vegans eat!  They just happen to do so without including animal products of any kind 🙂

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Let me explain with a little bit longer of an answer…..

A vegan diet is one that doesn’t consist of any animal products: meat, dairy, eggs, fish or honey.  And depending on your “why”, you may eat differently than other vegans.  If your reason for going vegan is strictly for the animals, then you may go the vegan junk food route in which there is literally a vegan version of everything: vegan sausage, vegan ice cream, vegan burgers, vegan pizza, vegan fish, vegan chicken nuggets, so and on and so on.  However, if are transitioning to a vegan diet for health reasons, then you may stick with a whole food plant based version: vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains.

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For fun, imagine going grocery shopping.  All you have to do is avoid animal products.  What’s left?  Everything else! And the options are endless: fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, potatoes, herbs, tofu, seitan, tempeh, rice, plant based milks, plant based ice creams, vegan meats, vegan cheese, nuts and seeds……

To show you how easy it can be, let me take you through a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit, hemp seeds and a green tea

Lunch:  a giant salad with lettuce, red cabbage, peas, sauerkraut, cucumber, tofu, pumpkin seeds, bell pepper, avocado, and miso/lemon dressing

(you absolutely don’t have to eat salads, but I enjoy them!)

Snack: a giant smoothie (which will sometimes include a plant based protein powder)

Dinner: pasta, vegan sausage, veggies and marinara sauce, chickpea salad sandwich, potato soup, Mac and cheese or a baked sweet potato

Dessert: if I have dessert it’ll often be fruit or “nice cream”

The trick to switching to a vegan diet is to not complicate things and to try to make it fun!  This should be something that you are excited and are empowered to try.  And if you get stuck, there are tons of resources on the Internet.  Go to Pinterest and type in “vegan” __________________ (pizza, Mac and cheese, sausage, burger, etc).  You will find a recipe for anything that your heart desires.

Best of luck and please remember that I am always here for you if you have any questions or if you need support ❤ 

 

 

The Surprising Foods that May Contain Animal Products

Sometimes the hardest part about switching to a vegan diet, is the surprising amount of foods that contain animal products (that you would never even think of!).  Most people know that giving up animal products means giving up meat, dairy, eggs, fish and honey.  But did you know that switching to a vegan diet may mean that you need to find a vegan wine or beer alternative?  Or that your gummy vitamins could be made from insects?!

Here are some ingredients that are made from animals and which foods you may possibly find them in:

*Bread products may contain L-cysteine, which often comes from feathers, to keep them soft.

*Gelatin is made from the connective tissue of pigs and cows.  It is used in Jello, Gummies, and many candies.

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*Refined sugar, which is found in a plethora of sweet foods, was possibly lightened with bone char, derived from the bones of cattle.

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*Isinglass, comes from fish bladders, and is often used in the making of beer and wine.

*Shellac, an insect-based product, is sometimes used to wax fresh produce or in candy.

*Deep fried foods and fresh pasta often contain eggs.

*Whey, casein, lactose are all derived from dairy and can be found in many packaged foods and protein drinks (dairy can also be found in vitamins and pain medications).

*Cochineal, or carmine, is red food coloring that is made from insects (although we are discussing food, this one is often found in cosmetics).

*Some food additives are also derived from animals.  These include; E120, E322, E422, E471, E542, E631, E901, E904.

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The easiest way to avoid the use of animals for your food is to stick to a whole food plant based diet.  However, if you want to purchase foods that have been processed, please look for “Vegan” on the label and make sure to ALWAYS read the ingredients.

And of course, I am always here to help you!  Contact me anytime ❤

 

*This information can be found in the book Vegan Recipes and Preparation by Saskia Fraser

 

 

It’s easy to give up dairy with these awesome alternatives!

Have you ever thought about giving up dairy but just don’t know how you will live without ice cream or cheese?!  With these awesome alternatives, you don’t have to.  Here are just some of my favorite, plant based alternatives to make the dairy free transition an easy one.

Cheese:  There is a vast array of vegan cheeses on the market!  We have tried many and found that Violife is the most like dairy cheese.  It tastes extremely similar and melts just like the real thing.  We use it on pizza and even in grilled cheese.  Unfortunately, it can be a bit tricky to find, but Whole Foods just launched it in their stores, nationwide.  You can also visit Violife’s website to see where it is sold near you.

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Some of my vegan friends also love the brands: Chao, Kite Hill, Myoko’s and Follow Your Heart.

In addition, we have found that it is truly easy to make your own “cheese” at home.  Here is our absolute favorite, dairy free Mac and Cheese recipe from Vegan Yumminess.

Ice Cream:  Confession time: now that I am vegan, I eat a lot more ice cream than I used to 🙂 I am amazed by how creamy and delicious some of the plant based ice creams are.  My personal favorite is Nada Moo but my husband loves So Delicious (cashew milk).

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There are many dairy free brands on the market now and you can even find them at places like Target and Walmart.

If you want to try to make your own at home, you could try making “Nice Cream”.  There are thousands of recipes on Pinterest and Youtube and it is incredibly simple: blend some frozen bananas with a little plant based milk, add a bit of vanilla and you’ll have a healthy dessert.  Here are 10 nice cream recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Mayonnaise and Butter:   Here are our favorite alternatives for dairy based mayonnaise and butter.  You will be amazed at how these two taste like the real deal!  My favorite mayo is Follow Your Heart Vegenaise and our butter of choice is from Earth Balance.  Earth Balance also makes sticks of butter for baking.

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The dairy free life is taking off in the markets and there are many other alternatives for plant based milks, yogurts, creamers, pizzas….you name it!!  You just have to be open to possibilities and keep trying until you find one that works best for you.

Have you tired any of these dairy free alternatives?  Please comment below with your favorites!

 

***Please remember that any dairy free alternative is going to be better than the real deal.  Dairy contains hormones, saturated fat, cholesterol and PUS…not to mention how they treat the animals (for a review, click here).  Also, please keep in mind that a whole foods plant based diet is better for our health than using alternatives; however, these are great as a treat or during the transition period 🙂

I’ve decided to go VEGAN…now what???

You have watched the documentaries, you have figured out your “why”, and you are motivated to make the transition to being vegan.  But now what do you do????  Although going vegan was the best decision that I ever made, I find that it can be daunting in the beginning to know where to start.

I would love it if everyone could go vegan overnight, but this may not be the best strategy for long term success (and this should be your goal: to sustainably go vegan so you can stay vegan for the remainder of your lifetime).

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Here are some approachable ways to make the change.  You know yourself better than anyone, so choose a level that will work best for you.

*Eliminate one animal product every two weeks: for the first two weeks, you would eliminate dairy.  The next two weeks you could eliminate poultry.  The following two weeks, you could eliminate fish.  So on and so on….

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*Switch one of your meals to being vegan at one time: for the first two weeks you could have a vegan breakfast.  For the next two weeks you could add in a vegan lunch.  The next two weeks you would add a vegan dinner.  And then all you have to do is add in vegan snacks!  Pretty soon all of your meals will be vegan without the overwhelm.

*Find ways to make your favorite recipes or meals vegan:  if you are like me, you probably have 3-4 meals that you truly love and eat over and over.  Start with your favorite recipes and switch them to being vegan.  You could try vegan cheese in your macaroni, plant based milk in your oatmeal, chickpeas in your tuna fish salad, tofu in your breakfast burrito, pesto on your pizza.   Click here for more ideas. Pinterest is also an amazing resource for vegan recipes.

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*Veganize your restaurant experience: if you are someone that eats out a lot, maybe your first step should be to try to “veganize” your restaurant meals.  If you have a favorite restaurant, look up the menu ahead of time and study what you could possibly eat as a vegan.  If it’s an Italian restaurant, you could try a marinara pasta and lentil soup.  Stir frys are great at a Chinese restaurant and you certainly cannot go wrong with veggie fajitas at a Mexican restaurant.  There will always be something vegan to eat at every restaurant and if you are struggling, you can always ask your server for help.

In addition, to going to old restaurants, it can be fun to try something new.  Visit a vegan restaurant to see what they have to offer and to see how yummy vegan food can truly be.

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                                                          (photo from Veggie Grill)

If you are having a difficult time finding a vegan restaurant near you, make sure to add Happy Cow to your phone.  It is a free App/website that will show you the vegan options in your area.

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There are so many ways to start your vegan transition.  Every bit counts and every small change will add up in the long run.  Just remember that it should be fun!  You are making the commitment to your health, the planet, the animals and this is something that should be celebrated!!!

And please remember that if you ever get stuck, that I am here for you to offer accountability, support and resources.  Contact me anytime!!!  I mean it…..

See you next time!

 

The First Step to Going Vegan

I often talk to people who are thinking about going vegan but they have no idea where to start.  It can seem like an overwhelming process to someone who has been consuming meat for their entire life.  But it doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing.

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I believe that the first step to going vegan is to find your “why”.  This can seem like a simple process, but it is also a crucial one.  Are you considering going vegan to save animals, to reduce climate change, to protect your body from disease, to increase your energy, to improve your skin, to lose weight, to improve your digestion, to align with your morals and spirituality or to save our planet?  The reasons are endless!

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So how do you find your “why”?  I highly recommend watching the following documentaries to see what resonates with you the most:

*Forks Over Knives on Netflix  (Health)

*What the Health on Netflix (Health)

*Cowspiracy on Netflix (Environment)

*Food Inc. on Netflix (all encompassing)

*Earthlings on Youtube (Animals)

*Dominion (Animals)

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I also recommend visiting a local sanctuary.  Not only will you get to be up close and personal with animals who have been rescued from the animal agriculture industries, but you will also get to hear their stories and to learn about what happens to animals destined to be on our plates.

(Two of my favorite,  local sanctuaries are Farm Animal Refuge and Sale Ranch Sanctuary).  If you aren’t local, there is always Google 🙂

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Now that you have your “why” make sure to post it everywhere!  Post pictures of your why around the house, on your computer, on your phone and on your refrigerator.  Changing old habits isn’t always easy and having this reminder will give you constant motivation so that you will stick with the transition to going vegan.

I hope that helps!

If you have already found your “why”, please comment below with your reason. I would love to hear from you!

 

 

Easy Way to go Vegan

Hello everyone,

Have you ever considered going vegan but just don’t know where to start?  Maybe it seems scary or overwhelming?  If this is the case, please check out my latest video where I try to make this transition a little, less intimidating 🙂

 

Thank you for watching and please make sure to share this video with friends and family. <3.

See you next time.