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?

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

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*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.

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

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  • 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. ❤

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!

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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!

 

SAVE THE DATES: Fall Events and Online Programs

Hello everyone,

I am super excited for Fall and for the approaching holiday season.  I have two events coming up that will help us all feel more healthy, happy and confident for those family pictures and gatherings.

The first is one that everyone, all over the world, can participate in.  I am running a “Fall in Love with Fitness” online challenge.  It will consist of short workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own bedroom (I personally love to workout in my pajamas).  It is only $25.00 for the entire two weeks and starts on November 5th!

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The second event is for all of my local friends.  I am co-hosting a “Fall in Love with Food” Vegan Cooking Class on November 8th from 6:00-7:30pm.  During the class we will eat a 5 course meal (including wine) and will learn some basic cooking skills.  Everyone will leave with a recipe packet so that you can make these amazing meals at home (and for those holiday gatherings).  The entire evening is only $55.00/person.  *Please note that you absolutely do not have to be vegan to attend.

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Please contact me to sign up for either one of these events.  Also, please share with anyone who you think may be interested.  I truly appreciate all of your support!

One of the easiest dinner recipes ever!

Hello everyone,

It has definitely turned into Fall in Southern California, and the temperature has started dropping in the evenings.  I am craving nothing but warm, comfort foods for dinner and this is one of our favorites.  I am not sure that there are many healthy, dinner recipes out there that are this easy.

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Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato (serves 2)

Ingredients:

*2 medium-sized sweet potatoes

*3/4 can of black beans

*Your choice of veggies (we prefer cherry tomatoes, carrots, spinach, bell pepper, zucchini, red onion)

*Optional: salsa, guacamole or vegan butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Poke holes in your sweet potatoes with a fork.
  3. Cook sweet potatoes until they are soft, all the way through (approximately 45 minutes).
  4. In the meantime, chop and saute your vegetables and black beans.
  5. When the sweet potatoes have finished cooking, pull them out of the oven.  Slice them open (length wise) and mash the insides with a fork.
  6. Add your veggies, black beans, salsa and guacamole.
  7. Enjoy!

*I will sometimes add guacamole, salsa or vegan butter to the sweet potato before piling on my veggies.  This helps take away from the dryness of the sweet potato.

 

 

 

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