How to Make Your Favorite Recipes Vegan

How to Make Your Favorite Recipes Vegan

#1 Flax instead of eggs

Eggs are a common ingredient in many recipes, but fortunately, flax works just as well. According to Minimalist Baker, in order to make a single flax “egg,” you just combine 1 Tbsp of ground raw flaxseed with 2 ½ Tbsp of water. You can also grind your own flax seed in a blender instead of buying the store-bought milled version. This is what the final product should look like:

how-to-make-a-flax-egg-e1491788029312.jpg

Try using flax to make chocolate chip cookies! Just use the Nestle Toll House recipe, but replace the eggs with flax and the butter with Earth Balance vegan butter.

#2 Almond milk instead of cow’s milk

You can easily buy almond milk at the store, but you can also make it yourself — here’s the recipe by WellnessMama. My favorite thing to use this type of almond milk for is to make my own smoothies that consist of a banana, frozen fruit (usually mango), and almond milk.

Here’s an example of a recipe you can use almond milk for:

PANCAKES

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can also use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 ¼ cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda

Measure out the almond milk and add the vinegar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Now add in the almond milk mixture and vanilla extract. Stir only until incorporated.

Make the pancakes whatever size you want, but cook the larger ones longer.

#3 Everything else

The good news is there are also store-bought substitutes for just about everything. Here are some of my recommendations for vegan substitute brands:

  • Cheese: Daiya
  • Sour cream: Tofutti
  • Butter: Earth Balance
  • Ice cream: So Delicious (My absolute favorite is their Cashew Milk Salted Caramel Cluster!), Ben & Jerry’s (dairy-free version)
  • Meat: MorningStar Farms (from vegan chicken nuggets to vegan ribs, they have just about everything — although I won’t be able to tell you if it actually tastes like meat or not, I can tell you the products I have tried are delicious)

This list is certainly not conclusive and I would love to hear your favorite brands! Comment below 🙂

Note: Recipes pictured in the top image do not reflect the recipes I listed. I have listed the photo credits below.

Photo creds.

 

http://foodviva.com/pancake-recipes/vegan-pancakes-recipe/

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/the-ultimate-veggie-burger/

http://bloomforlife.org/favorite-cooked-vegan-spinach-lasagna/

http://archives.quarrygirl.com/2011/04/20/the-best-vegan-chocolate-chip-cookies-ever-yes/

FAQ: Veganism

#1 What do you eat?

When I explain to people that I don’t eat meat or any kind of dairy, they often start to think there are no other options and they wonder what it is that I can eat. There is actually a HUGE variety, so I certainly can’t list everything here. But I grew up eating mostly fruits and vegetables, so for breakfast every morning I make myself a smoothie with a banana, frozen fruit, and almond milk. As the day goes on, I will often eat fresh fruit like watermelon, apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, and anything in between. Before dinnertime rolls around, I like to eat carrots and/or pretzel crisps with hummus or avocado. For dinner, there are a lot of options as well. When I’m at home, a few examples of what my mom might make for dinner are build-your-own burritos with fajitas, rice, beans, guacamole, vegan sour cream, etc.; a number of different pastas; a number of different soups; pizza with vegan cheese and vegetable toppings; pancakes with vegan sausage . . . and the list goes on! After some practice and experimenting, it becomes easy to substitute dairy ingredients with almond milk, flax, and other vegan substitutes you can buy at the store. While I’m in college, staying vegan proves to be much more difficult because I don’t have access to a kitchen, but there are microwaveable vegan meals that can be bought at grocery stores as well as the frozen leftovers I bring back from my house.

#2 Where do you get your protein?

In short, I get protein from beans, nuts, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, I can consume different types of amino acids, which build up to become protein. Most Americans actually have a misconception about protein, which I wrote about last week in The Truth About Protein.

#3 What’s the difference between vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat at all. A pescatarian is someone who does not eat most meat, but does eat fish. A vegan is someone who does not eat animal products. So not only does a vegan avoid eating meat, but vegans also do not eat anything containing milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.

#4 Is honey vegan?

This is a debated topic amongst vegans. An article by PETA explains that vegans should not eat honey because bees are factory-farmed animals that suffer. For example, many bees are killed during transportation and queen bees often have their wings cut off. Still, a lot of vegans are willing to eat honey because they figure that insects don’t suffer as much as other animals, or they don’t really see insects as animals. In my opinion, honey is not vegan because insects are indeed animals producing this honey, and to be vegan means to eat no animal products.

#5 How do you get Vitamin B12?

I am often low on vitamin B12. To combat this, I take B12 supplements once a week. There are also a number of B12 fortified foods that vegans can eat.

#6 Doesn’t the Bible endorse eating animals?

Yes and no. There are passages that support eating meat and there are passages that support eating plants. In the original state of the earth, however, Adam and Eve did not eat meat — they only ate plants. Genesis 1:29-30 says this:

“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”

After the Fall, however, death was introduced to the world, and God allowed people to eat animals. Genesis 9:3 says this:

“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

So, eating meat is not a sin. I choose to be vegan for the sake of being healthy and for the sake of the factory-farmed animals who suffer badly.

Did I miss a question? Ask it in the comments below!

How to Stay Vegan while Traveling

#1 Google is your best friend.

When you’re traveling, most of the time all you have to do is google “vegan restaurants near me” and you can find places to eat. There might not be an all-vegan restaurant within a couple of miles, but the search will include places that have vegan options. I have noticed also that a lot of ethnic restaurants have vegan options, like Thai, Italian, Japanese, and Indian.

#2 Ask!

Don’t be afraid to ask for vegan options. A lot of restaurants actually have vegan/gluten-free/allergen menus. If they don’t have a specific menu, you will most likely have to explain what it means to be vegan, but sometimes the chef will even create a simple vegetable dish for you that has no meat or dairy. That way, when you are out with non-vegan friends or co-workers or family, you can still eat with them and have a good time.

IMG_5443

(Delicious quinoa salad that was served only for me at our sports banquet. Also I’m admittedly not so good at taking pictures of food ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

#3 Plan ahead.

Before you get to the hotel, do the necessary research to find vegan food options near your destination. When you live on the standard American diet, you can just stop anywhere to eat. But vegans need to know what’s on the menu before sitting down for a meal. The best way to find that out is to look online first.

#4 Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.

My experience as a college athlete has led me to this conclusion. I used to feel as if I was inconveniencing my teammates or my coaches because we might need to stop at a Subway, but I soon realized this very simple thing: they are making a conscious choice to consume animal products, while I am making a conscious choice NOT to consume animal products. I don’t have to conform to the popular opinion just because it’s what everyone else is doing. Out of courtesy, I will certainly try to make a way for myself at the restaurants they choose, but if I need to go somewhere else, I won’t be afraid to speak up for myself. I have a right to choose a healthy path for myself. Fortunately, I have had coaches that are willing to help me at those times and they try to do what they can to ensure that I get what I need. But if I don’t speak up, how will they know what I need?

#5 Sometimes . . . cheat?

With all that being said, one of the biggest things I have to ensure when I’m on road trips for basketball is that I am getting enough food. A salad is not a good dinner for me when I have a basketball game the next day. I play a high-energy sport that requires a LOT of physical activity and therefore I need to make sure I’m getting enough calories to sustain myself. So for example, I am not afraid to eat mashed potatoes that most likely have milk and butter in them, because sometimes that’s the best I can do. I never eat cheese or meat, but certain foods that have milk or butter within them won’t bother my stomach. So yes, sometimes I cannot eat a fully vegan meal on the road. I HAVE to get calories in. I just do the best that I can.

Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

The Question All Vegans Hear: How Do You Get Your Protein?

Girl, you’re too skinny.

How do you get your protein?

You need to eat a whole jar of peanut butter a day.

You need some more meat on your bones.

I’ve been getting statements like these my whole life. My body type is naturally long and lanky, and I have always struggled to improve my physical strength in accordance with playing basketball.

You might be thinking, “It must be because she doesn’t get enough protein since she’s vegan.”

Not exactly.

My older sister is a couple of inches shorter than me, but she is 15-20 pounds heavier. She has a naturally thicker and more curvy body type than me. We have the exact same diet, but she’s a lot stronger than me. People don’t tell her she’s not getting enough protein.

Americans seem to have a slight obsession with protein. The first question I get when I tell people that I am vegan is: “Where do you get your protein?” My short answer is that I eat beans, nuts, and a variety of fruits and vegetables to get my protein. The longer answer is this:

There are a couple of common misconceptions about protein. Firstly, that it is only or mostly found in meat. Actually, plants have what’s called amino acids in them, specifically the nine essential amino acids needed to create protein. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, it’s actually very easy to get plenty of protein in a vegan diet. Plant protein is actually better for you because it doesn’t come with the hormones, saturated fats, cholesterol, and antibiotics that are in processed meat.

Secondly, many people think a lot more about protein than is necessary. According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the year 2000, 15 percent of the average American’s calorie intake is protein. A study done by the World Health Organization states that 5% of calorie intake should be protein. And according to the Vegetarian Resource Group, the average vegan gets about 10-12% protein.

%PROTEIN

This means that Americans, vegans and non-vegans alike, get PLENTY of protein. In fact, protein deficiencies are extremely uncommon in America — they are much more likely to happen in third-world countries where malnourishment is common.

To further prove my point, the diet of a wild gorilla consists of 67% fruits, 17% leaves, and 3% termites and caterpillars. Why am I talking about this? According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States, but wild gorillas just don’t get heart disease. Not only that, but gorillas are one of the largest and most powerful animals on the planet. We’re not gorillas, but we can learn from them.

 

vegan meme

 

To be honest, this whole protein thing used to be very frustrating in my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I had several coaches who wanted me to eat certain things or add more protein to my diet. I have always tried hard to lift weights and get stronger, but it is more difficult for a body type like mine. Over the years, I have gotten stronger and I am especially dedicating this summer to building muscle. But in those early years of high school, I was a late bloomer still maturing and adjusting to my growth spurt.

I don’t mind when people ask questions, but I am not okay with people telling me what to eat and what not to eat when they know nothing about my diet. I am not judgmental of what other people eat — you don’t have to feel bad when you eat a steak in front of me. I ask that others are understanding of my own choices. I want people to always feel free to ask questions by all means, but if I have one thing to say, it’s this . . .

You do you, and let me do me

 

Sources:

 

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.php

 

http://www.vegsource.com/news/2009/11/the-comparative-anatomy-of-eating.html

 

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43411/1/WHO_TRS_935_eng.pdf?ua=1

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/databriefs/calories.pdf

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tana-amen/healthy-diet_b_2867253.html

 

https://seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-infobooks/gorilla/diet-and-eating-habits/

 

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/explain-like-im-five-why-is-plant-protein-better-than-animal-protein/

 

 

Photo creds:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33290043
http://www.proactive-health.co.uk

3 Main Reasons to Go Vegan

#1 Animal cruelty

It’s no secret that the cows, pigs, and chickens that Americans eat are brought up in harsh conditions. Pregnant sows are often confined in gestation crates where they cannot even turn around. For veal to be made tender for human consumption, young calves are kept in small crates where they are forced to lie down in their own feces. Dairy cows often spend their entire lives within concrete walls. Manure management is poor, so animals often live in their own excrements. These are just a few of the inhumane practices common at factory farms. According to ASPCA, 99% of meat bought in the U.S. comes from factory farms.

But how does this affect humans?

Animals kept in such unsanitary and stressful conditions are prone to contracting viruses such as H1N1 (swine flu) and are linked to bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Eating meat that comes from factory farms comes with risks of contracting diseases.

#2 Environment

It has long been a generally accepted belief that vegetarianism/veganism is better for the environment. This reasoning is a little more debatable. Articles by CNN (2017) and the Washington Post (2015) cite studies claiming that less meat in the American diet is not guaranteed to provide environmental benefits, since production of vegan items such as rice also has high greenhouse gas emission.

However, a report released in March of 2014 by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed that 39% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, especially beef cattle.

Also according to FAO, there will be 9 billion people on earth by 2050 — and if the 40% of cropland used for animal feed is converted to food for direct human consumption, there would be enough food for all 9 billion of us.

It takes about 2400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef. A pound of wheat, however, only takes 25 gallons. An infographic by CulinarySchools.org clearly illustrates this problem:

meat-graphic

#3 Health/Nutrition

My parents became vegetarians a long time ago, when I was a baby. They were introduced to the idea by Dr. Douglas Graham, a professional athlete advisor and raw foodist, while my dad was still playing in the NBA. After doing their research on the health benefits of vegetarianism, they slowly and progressively made the switch to a vegetarian diet. Yes — that means I have never been a meat-eater. About 6 or 7 years ago, our whole family became fully vegan.

Here’s a list of just a few of the health benefits of the vegan diet:

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Helps fight Type 2 diabetes
  • Improves arthritis
  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Relief for those who suffer from frequent migraines
  • Fewer allergy symptoms

You can read more about this list here, and I would encourage you to look deeper into these issues and research for yourself. There is so much information out there. But on this blog, I want to share with you more than that.

I have grown up vegetarian/vegan my whole life and I have never had any significant health issues. I have never been low on protein or calcium, or really anything other than vitamin B12. My visits to the doctor are simple and easy because my body works well.

As a college-level athlete, I can tell you this: I am not the fastest runner, but my stamina has always been at a high level, giving me the ability to be in great condition for basketball. On days where I don’t follow my typical diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, I can immediately notice the difference in my workouts — I get tired so much faster. If you are an athlete, you might think that fruits and vegetables do not fill you up or give you enough calories, but you will soon realize that with the right plan, your body will be able to adjust and I promise you won’t be hungry. Even though I personally never had to make the switch from meat-eater to vegan, my parents most certainly did . . . and they are both in great shape in their 50s.

Lastly,  I want to encourage you. People always say to me, “I could never go vegan.” Yes, you CAN! My parents are living proof of successful conversion to the vegan diet. Treat it as a process and take it step by step rather than jumping in all at once. It will not be easy — but I promise you the rewards will be great.

Photo credits include:

https://www.rundisney.com/blog/articles/are-you-eating-enough-fruits-and-vegetables-02-11-15/

http://animalhealthmedia.com/efficient-monitoring-of-antibiotic-use-on-pig-farms/

http://www.ikedaquotes.org/environment/

http://www.culinaryschools.org/yum/vegetables/