All posts in Vegan

 
kitchen

What’s in My Vegan Kitchen?

What’s different about a vegan kitchen? By pure definition there are no animal products to be found. This means no meat, no dairy and no eggs. What’s different about my vegan kitchen than maybe some other vegan kitchens? It’s not just about what you don’t eat; it’s also about what you do eat! We are looking at a healthy vegan kitchen. Any lifestyle has the capability of being unhealthy if not implemented correctly.

A healthy vegan stocks her kitchen with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds with the emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The only way to improve upon this diet would be to buy organic foods. These foods supply you with all your nutritional needs except for B12 and possibly Vitamin D. B12 must be taken as a supplement. Vitamin D can be found in fortified foods, a supplement or good old-fashioned sunshine! A probiotic is something everyone can benefit from too. A good probiotic will keep your intestinal flora in tip-top shape.

Counter Top

On my kitchen countertop you will see a rice cooker, a vitamixer, a grill and a juicer. Apparently, you will not actually see my counter top! In the cupboards are sauce pans and large salad bowls. In the drawers are utensils for food preparation, e.g., two different sized santoku knives, a paring knife, and a peeler. I also have two cutting boards, one small and one large.

What do I do with my small kitchen appliances? A rice cooker is not just for rice anymore. I use my rice cooker for all sorts of grains. I cook whole grain brown rice in addition to quinoa, teff, amaranth, buckwheat and millet.
My vitamixer is the most useful item in my repertoire of cooking aids. I can make hot soup, fruit smoothies, green smoothies and frozen treats! I can puree, dice and chop all kinds of things too. The secret to the vitamixer is the high grade commercial motor.

My grill is a little George Foreman healthy cooking grill. There is nothing like a grilled onion, pepper and mushroom sandwich. It always reminds me of going to the carnival when I was younger. A more adult meal is grilled asparagus with garlic salt. It’s delicious and nutritious. I’m sure George doesn’t know how healthy his grill can really be!
I recently bought a juicer and it is fantastic! You will be amazed how much you can get into a glass of juice. This is a great place for organic foods to come into play; concentrated organic nutrition. When you just can’t juice try a green mix to make sure you are getting enough phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Stove Top

Sitting on my stove top are a non-stick skillet and a pasta pot. I use the non-stick skillet to avoid using added oils. This is very useful for skillet greens, eggplant, pancakes and stir-fry. My whole grain pancakes are made with egg replacer and plant-based milk. I add walnuts, carob chips and sometimes I throw in blueberries too! The stir-fry consists of tofu or tempeh with rice noodles and lots of veggies with peanut, soy or hoisin sauce. My pasta pot is used for whole grain organic brown rice pasta or as a steamer for vegetables. A great use for a saucepan is to make quick and easy curry. All it takes is lite coconut milk, curry paste, vegetable broth and a little onion.

Pantry

My pantry is filled with all kinds of beans, canned and dried, split peas, whole oats, nut butter and sweet potatoes. Besides huge amounts of organic produce in my fridge there is also hummus, flaxseeds and plant-based milks. Hemp and almond are my favorite. I add the ground flaxseeds to my smoothies for a dose of omega-3s. A good protein powder can be a healthy addition too.
Even making some small changes to your current kitchen set-up can benefit your health. Shopping smarter and thinking ahead instead of impulse shopping are strategies for success. Having the right equipment to make your time in the kitchen more convenient and efficient is also a step in the right direction.

 
veganprotein

Veganism And Protein

By Lia Allen

As western-influenced people grow increasingly larger, nutrition studies grow in number, and the environmental impact of our food production goes under tighter scrutiny, there is a trend toward eating less meat and fewer animal products.  Many of us scoff at the idea of forgoing animal products such as meats, dairy, and eggs, but thousands of people do so by choice.  Veganism, as defined by the Vegan Society, “is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of, exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.”  Many people are introduced to veganism through the media, as an increasing number of celebrities are going vegan, through association, or through books like Skinny Bitch, introducing mostly women who are weight conscious to the concept of veganism as a lifestyle, and the Thrive Diet, an informational for athletes who want to improve their abilities through diet.  An unfortunately large portion of people who have dabbled with veganism have done so as a form of “detox” or a weight-loss attempt and found it to be lacking in both variety, and energy.  This should not be the case for the well-informed.

A main concern is “what do I eat instead of my meat?  How will I get enough protein?!” Protein is found in many sources, and most people have a tendency to overestimate the amount of protein needed.  The USDA recommends a high-end average of 56 grams of protein per day for males and 46 grams per day for females.   Other sources argue that between .25-.50 grams per pound of body weight is more than sufficient for the average to moderately active individual.

What to Eat

Nuts and seeds tend to contain a lot of protein per oz and are excellent sources of energy too. Eaten on salads, mixed into oatmeal, used in Asian dishes, or simply spread on some whole wheat toast, they can add a substantial amount of protein and nutrients to the vegan diet.

Beans have been the go to source of protein for many cultures who do not rely heavily on meats.  Lentils, with their versatility can become a base for a vegan burger, a hearty soup, a vegan meat loaf, or just as is.  Black beans, kidney beans, and black eyed peas are great ingredients for vegan chili or bean soups.  Even vegan re-fried beans are great sources of healthy fats, fiber, and protein.

Though not initially thought of as a protein source, grains carry this macro-nutrient. Whole grain products will have higher amounts of protein  and can act as a base to a higher protein item like beans, tofu, or nut butters.  Quinoa is a complete protein and is often cooked and treated like a grain.  It is a rice-like product, and carries a heavy protein load with it, making it ideal for vegans.

Tofu is typically what is thought of as a vegan’s protein option, and while it is high in protein and calcium, there are other options that have the bulk and potential meat replacement status.  Tempeh is another soy based protein source, made from cultured and fermented soy, found in a cake-like form.  A great non-soy meat alternative is seitan, made from wheat gluten.  It can be made at home and, especially when marinated, has a great meaty texture and taste.

While whole foods are typically considered healthier, cleaner, sources of nutrients, there are the fake meats and highly processed vegan food substitutes available in most grocery stores.  These include vegan cheeses, sausages, prepackaged burgers, vegan mayonnaise, and other processed products.  These are often considered good transition foods for people who want to begin reducing their intake of animal products, but do not want to completely up heave their menus, or are more reliant on convenience products in general.