Easy Vegan What I Eat In a Day (10th Anniversary Edition)

Over the last ten years of vegan living, I’ve come up with a pretty comprehensive menu of healthy, fresh, easy, and quick meal options. Despite my dislike of grocery shopping and cooking in general, I can’t help but be overjoyed when I look down at my grocery cart filled with brightly colored produce. There is also a simple joy and meditative peace from chopping up all these fresh fruits and vegetables each day, knowing I’m giving my body the very best fuel. I see it as the ultimate act of self love, giving my body and mind exactly what they need to heal, grow, and flourish.

I’d like to share the tips, tricks, and recipes I’ve collected over the years with any new or prospective vegans who might be struggling to transition into a healthier diet. In the beginning it can be very hard to balance health, time, and money while also trying to figure out what you can and can’t eat and resisting the temptation of old favorites. Establishing new eating habits can be frustrating and in the worst cases lead to giving up efforts to live a vegan lifestyle all together. I’m hear to help make sure that doesn’t happen by providing all the knowledge I’ve gained on my own vegan journey.

Breakfast

Breakfast is actually something I only began participating in within the last year or two. For most of my life I tried to “save” my calories for later in the day. However, it’s definitely been much better for my mental and physical health to start eating earlier. It also makes it much easier to avoid binge eating at night. Because I’m new to breakfast, I usually keep it pretty simple and similar every day.

Fruit: My go-to breakfast is usually a big pile of fresh fruit. I’ll make a bowl of cut up melon and berries, eat 2-3 bananas, or have an apple with peanut butter. My favorite my far in the summer is to start my day with a ton of super sweet, hydrating watermelon.

Bagel: Usually reserved for a weekend treat, I’ll also sometimes have a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter and a drizzle of agave. This warm and filling breakfast easily keeps me happy and full until lunchtime.

Lunch

If you’re someone like me who works 40 hours a week, lunch can be the trickiest meal of all. Some people go out to lunch every day, but if you’re trying to live on a budget or live in an area that has little to no vegan options, this is out of the question. My method for getting around this hurdle is meal prepping my lunches. It’s nothing elaborate, but I’ll spend an hour on the weekend making one big batch of soup for the rest of the week’s midday meal. Yes, it may seem boring to some, but I eat soup for lunch every day. I just LOVE soup. I keep it interesting by having an ever changing menu of soups to enjoy. Soup is one of the easiest things to cook in my option. It’s also a great way to pack in lots of leafy greens and healthy root veggies. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

  1. Lentil Potato Soup
  2. Cheesy Broccoli Soup (I add potatoes to this one.)
  3. Creamy Ginger Sweet Potato Lentil Stew (I use lite coconut milk.)
  4. Potato Corn Chowder
  5. Bean Soup
  6. Gnocchi Soup (A bit more expensive ingredients, but so worth it)
  7. Chickpea Noodle Soup (I use like coconut milk, again.)
  8. African Peanut Stew
  9. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup
  10. Cabbage Potato Soup

Dinner

With breakfast and lunch being taken care of so easily, the only meal I really have to put any thought and effort into each day is dinner. As I’ve mentioned I hate to cook so all of the seemingly elaborate and complex dinners I make are surprisingly easy to prepare. If I’m especially short on time, I’ll just have something extremely simple like a couple baked sweet potatoes (I use this for quick, easy baked potatoes) steamed broccoli with vegan butter, and roasted carrots or veggies of some kind (just wash, cut, oil lightly, season to taste, and bake in the over for around 30min.) Delicious!

When I have more time to prepare like on the weekends, I’ll make one of these mouth watering options. Given that I live alone, there is always enough for at least one day of leftovers too!

  1. Creamy Chickpea Potato Curry
  2. Veggie Peanut Sauce Stir Fry
  3. Roasted Sweet Potato with Peanut Sauce
  4. Aloo Palak (Indian Potato & Spinach Curry)
  5. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  6. Vegetable Potato Fritters
  7. Potato Pepper and Kale Bowl with Spicy Tahini Dressing
  8. Chickpea Noodle Casserole
  9. Creamy Broccoli Pasta
  10. Chickpea Corn Patties Over Kale Slaw

As my ten year veganversary quickly approaches, it is an honor to be able to share some of what I’ve learned with others. I hope that these cheap, quick, easy meal options can serve you as well as they have served me over the last few years. I hope that you will give your body the gift of fresh, colorful, healthy foods this year. And I hope that this advice will help with the often daunting transition to a more ethical, healthy, and environmentally friendly lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Try these recipes out and discover how yummy veganism truly is! Let me know how it goes or if you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share. Don’t forget to like, comment, and/or share these recipes to support the incredible chefs that have come up with them. Be well, be kind, and enjoy!

Being a Vegan Emissary

Vegan and Plant-Based Diets Worsen Brain Health - Neuroscience News

Yesterday our new intern pulled me aside to ask me about going vegan. She seemed interested and eager to learn more since finding out that I was vegan a few months ago. She loves my vegan oat milk coffee creamer and told me she’s even started using it at home because she likes it so much. I was so happy that she felt she could come to me with questions, but at the same time I was immediately tense and anxious about how to respond.

This is not the first time that I’ve been in this uncomfortable situation. Many people have come to me for help when beginning their vegan/vegetarian journey. I thought I would get better at offering that help as I became more comfortable and confident in my own veganism, but it seems like it’s actually the reverse. I am so far removed from the normal meat-eater’s lifestyle that I no longer understand their questions half the time, let alone know what the most beneficial response would be. When people ask me things like: what do you eat? I can’t help but stare back dumbfounded for a few moments. What do you eat, I want to ask. I eat fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts. You know… food. The bulk of what any reasonable diet should already consist of.

There is such chaos and turmoil inside of me when I find myself having to give vegan advice. Part of me is overjoyed, part of me is annoyed, part of me is panicked. Overjoyed because my veganism has influenced someone to try to live a more compassionate life. Annoyed because their questions remind me just how far the majority of society is from doing that. And panicked because of the pressure I feel to offer the perfect answers to their questions. I want to make veganism sound easy and appealing to them. I’m afraid my response could potentially prevent more animals from suffering but that I will fail those same animals if my response instead causes the person to turn away.

My mind starts racing, trying to decide what parts of the encyclopedia of information I have inside my head is the most important, useful, or impactful. I have so much knowledge to offer. To break it down into the most relevant and easily digestible pieces seems like an impossible task. After these random encounters, I always feel disappointed in myself. I kick myself thinking I should have done better somehow, even though I’m never sure exactly what “better” would have looked like. At this point it’s impossible for me to remember what would have been most helpful to me when I first became vegan.

I wanted to write this post today to address people on both sides of the aisle. To the aspiring vegan: Don’t expect the vegans in your life to take you by the hand and make this transition seamless and easy for you or expect them to have all the answers. To the vegan being asked for advice: Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no perfect response that you can give to make someone else change their behavior. All you can do is try your best, be friendly, and be open.

With that said, here is what I would like to say to anyone interested in going vegan: It’s going to be a hard transition. Being vegan isn’t hard at all, but changing is. Especially when you are changing something so integral to your culture and day to day life. There is no amount of information you can gather or questions you can ask preemptively that will make this transition easy. If you’re waiting for it to be easy, you’re going to be waiting forever. Change is never easy. Learning how to live a new lifestyle is never easy. One way you can make it easier though is being gentle with yourself while you’re still learning. I think a lot of people either avoid or give up veganism because it’s too daunting to imagine never eating meat or dairy again. That’s a scary concept in the beginning. You find yourself thinking, what about all the traditional holiday foods I’ve enjoyed with my family my entire life? I can’t have turkey on Thanksgiving? I can’t have a Christmas ham? I can’t eat cake for birthdays? It seems like a huge sacrifice. And some militant vegans will say it’s something you’ve just got to accept and white-knuckle your way through. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with identifying as a vegan or vegetarian and still making exceptions for yourself in the beginning. I also think it’s okay to essentially go vegan without adopting the label if that lets you feel less restricted. What matters is doing our best to cause as little harm to other beings as possible. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even vegans can’t help but avoid doing harm entirely. It’s just about trying. So if the only thing holding you back from veganism is Thanksgiving dinner, let yourself not be vegan on the holidays. If you’re having a really hard day and you can’t resist one of your favorite comfort foods or don’t have time to cook and don’t have the time, energy, or accessibility to find a vegan alternative, you don’t have to cast the vegan lifestyle aside because you caved and ate meat. Just try again tomorrow.

You can also start slow. Try making a vegan dinner once a week. Make one meal a day a vegan meal. Test out some vegan menu options the next time you go out to eat. These small steps matter. They still have an impact. And if this is the best way for you to make the transition and feel confident and comfortable enough to stick with it, I think it’s an excellent way to do it. There is no one way to live a vegan lifestyle. It is going to take some time and experimentation to discover what works best for you. Your body and mind are going to need time to adjust. There are going to be days when you “screw up” and can’t live up to your own expectations and that’s perfectly okay. I still have those days over 10 years later. The important part is that you’re trying. That alone is a beautiful gift to the animals, your body, and the Earth. That alone is something to take pride in. And for that alone, I for one, thank you.

OPINION: Doctor Hits Back At 'Exaggerated' News Report On Vegan Diet

Vegan Grocery Haul

There is a common misconception that veganism is expensive. In this post I wanted to address that myth. It is certainly true that veganism can be expensive, but so can any type of diet. People seem to have a hard time imagining what vegans eat. Many think that their diets mainly consist of tofu and faux meats and cheeses which are usually quite pricey. Not many people realize that the staple foods in an average vegans diet are some of the cheapest foods you can buy: rice, beans, potatoes, and fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.

Just in case anyone is curious, I decided to show you all what a normal trip to the grocery store results in for an average low-income vegan like myself. All of the food in the photo to follow was under $45 at my local Kroger grocery store. I didn’t actually buy rice this time, but that’s because I always have that. The spices to season all of your delicious vegetable dishes can be a bit expensive in the beginning, but they are only a rare purchase as they last for a long time.

food

In case you can’t make it out in the photo, here is a list of everything pictured:

  1. Watermelon
  2. Pineapple (x20
  3. Potato (x20
  4. Green onion bunch (x2)
  5. Cucumber
  6. Celery hearts
  7. Dark brown sugar
  8. Blueberries (1lb)
  9. Zucchini
  10. Avocado
  11. Red pepper
  12. Green pepper
  13. Radishes (3 bags)
  14. Frozen corn
  15. Broccoli (2 crowns)
  16. Tomatoes (3 Roma)
  17. Sugar snap peas
  18. Spinach
  19. Cilantro
  20. Kale
  21. Veggie stir-fry kit
  22. Dried apricots
  23. Cabbage
  24. Tamari
  25. Beet and ginger bean dip
  26. Mediterranean pickles
  27. Garbanzo Beans
  28. Kidney Beans
  29. Vegetarian refried beans
  30. Kombucha

That’s 30 wonderful plant-based foods for less than $45! I want to help spread the message that veganism can be easy, accessible and affordable. It takes a little practice. You learn how to shop with the season and benefit from bargain bins. But there is no reason that someone should hold themselves back from living a more compassionate and healthy lifestyle because of their income.

I hope that this can be an inspiring example to some of you out there that have held onto the false notion that veganism is simply too expensive to consider. If a 24-year-old, single, social worker can do it, so can you!

 

Vegan on the Go

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Sometimes, when you are on the go or in a hurry, veganism is not the most convenient diet. It is hard enough to find vegan options in a restaurant, let alone a fast food place. There is always the option of ordering a salad without meat or cheese, but in my experience, a good percentage of the time you will be thoroughly ignored and receive the salad with no alterations whatsoever. Then there are some who may consider just an order of french fries. However, many fast food restaurants fry these in meat greases. Also, french fries are not very nutritious or filling. Even the veggie burgers that are served by Burger King contain egg ingredients.

The struggle to find vegan options from fast food restaurants can be a blessing and a curse. It does prevent you from eating poorly when you could be eating something a little better for you. However, sometimes a quick bite of food is necessary. So, after years of irritation, I have finally found an option that has worked for me, and it is my hope that it can work for all of you other vegans out there as well. 

When I need a cheap morsel of food in a hurry, I will occasionally go to Taco Bell. For merely two dollars you can get a delicious and moderately healthy little meal! On their menu they offer a very yummy black bean burrito. It does come with cheese on it, but you can ask them to exclude that part. (I have yet to get one that still had cheese as I have with salads.) I also ask them to add guacamole, which is a wonderful replacement. 

Mexican fast food can be a delightful option for vegans trying to get a quick meal. There are only Taco Bell’s near my hometown, but I am sure any such fast food restaurant would have similar options. I hope that this can help some of you out. Now instead of greasy fries or a limp, unappetizing fast food salad, you can get a delicious, nutritious bean burrito!

Enjoy, my vegan darlings. ❤ 

Gardein Fishless Filet Review

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I am not sure if this is a new product or if my little backward, country hick town has just now gotten it in our grocery stores. However, my sister and I seriously had a shameless victory dance in the freezer isle of our super market when we saw this. We pretty much made a scene we were so excited.

One of the hardest parts of veganism for me has been giving up all the different and delicious different types of seafood. Up until now, there wasn’t really any replacement for this type of meat. I had come across a few recipes online for fishy vegan meals, but only one seemed easy enough for me to try and I was not very impressed with the results. I feel like these frozen fish-less filets are a glorious blessing from the universe to thank me and all other vegans for our endeavors. 

These are somewhat more expensive than the things I usually allow myself to buy, but after trying some, I would say that they are well worth it for an occasional treat. They only take 20 minutes to bake. They are also extremely thick, crispy, and tender when finished. The taste is not exactly like fish, but it is pretty darn close. The glorious texture seems to make up for the slight difference in flavor. They are also relatively low-calorie at 180 calories for two pieces (which is more than enough to fill you up.)

Overall, I give this product a big thumbs up. I would also like to profusely thank the fine people of Gardein for gracing the vegan populace with this fish-less delight. If you haven’t tried this yet, go get some! and let me know what you thought of it in the comments below or give me a follow for more vegan posts.

Stay peaceful, lovelies. 

5 Affordable Vegan Snack Options

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Hello there! I have been feeling awfully lazy lately, but I fought through it today to share with you some ideas for vegan snacking options that are affordable, low-calorie, and healthy! Sometimes when first getting into the swing of a vegan lifestyle, snacking can be a problem. Most of the usual “healthy” snack options have something to do with dairy, such as string cheese or yogurt. However, I have compiled a few of my favorite things to munch on when I am on the go or don’t have time to prepare anything elaborate. I hope that these can help you out!

  1. Granola bars – Be careful to make sure they are vegan as some types and brands are not.
  2. Baby food (Fruit Puree) – These are so yummy and extremely good for you. They can even be purchased in a convenient pouch, which makes them an easy on-the-go snack!
  3. Lara bars – These are a great snack that are very dense and filling.
  4. Popcorn – I pop mine myself on the stove then just add salt. You could do the same or use microwave non-butter or kettle corn instead.
  5. Wasabi Peas – These may not be for everyone. They can be somewhat more pricey than other snacks and they are also quite spicy.

These yummy morsels have always worked for me. I hope that I have provided you with a few ideas that you had not previously considered. Let me know what you think and what your favorite vegan snacks are in the comments below! I will try to combat my overwhelming apathy in order to post something better tomorrow.

Have a peaceful day, everyone.

Sausage, Sauerkraut, & Noodles Recipe

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One of my favorite meals when I was growing up was my mom’s sausage, sauerkraut, and noodles dish. After becoming vegan, it was torment to smell her cooking this for my father, knowing that I could not allow myself a single bite. So, I did what any determined vegan does in such a situation. I fashioned a vegan replacement! This recipe is cheap, easy, quick, and even more delicious than the non-vegan version of the dish. Also, you end up with a ton of food!

Ingredients:

  1. Tofurkey Italian Sausage (or any other brand, this is around $4)
  2. 1 can of sauerkraut
  3. Your favorite type of noodles (I usually use spiral ones, but spaghetti is cheaper)

Instructions:

  1. Boil water and start cooking your noodles
  2. Cut up 2 vegan Italian sausages into small pieces
  3. Place Italian sausage into frying pan
  4. Add 1 can of sauerkraut to the pan
  5. Cook until warm and noodles are tender
  6. Mix together
  7. Enjoy!

Note: I realize that my recipes are not very specific when it comes to the amount of different ingredients. However, that is just how simple these recipes are! Using different amounts of ingredients will not alter the outcome very much, except for how much food you end up with, and that is up to you. 

Enjoy, my darlings! 

 

 

Inexpensive Vegan Meal

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Once you become vegan, it may be hard to think of cheap food options. For the most part, fast food is out of the question. Which, in the long run, is a wonderful thing. However, being a college student, I know that sometimes an extremely cheap meal is necessary. Today I would like to share with you one of the cheapest, most delicious vegan meals that I make myself.

This meal consists of only two ingredients, not counting simple household things. Better yet, these ingredients only cost around two to three dollars! And you will be able to make a ton of food! This meal is also extremely simply and quick to make. So here you are, dears.

Vegan Cabbage and Noodles:

Ingredients:

  1. Spaghetti noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer, spaghetti is just the cheapest)
  2. Cabbage
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. Olive Oil (or any type of cooking oil)

Instructions:

  1. Boil water and begin to cook noodles
  2. While noodles are cooking, put a thin coat of olive oil into a frying pan
  3. Add chopped cabbage
  4. Cook until tender, adding salt and pepper to taste
  5. Mix cooked noodles and cabbage together

I generally don’t measure the exact amount of noodles or cabbage I use. You can make more or less depending on how hungry you are or how many people you are cooking for. I found that this meal can come in very handy for the vegan with not much to spend. It is yummy, filling, quick, cheap, and easy to prepare! I hope that this can help any struggling vegans out there or any that would just like a quick vegan version of an old favorite.

Stay peaceful, my loves.