The Vegan Post

Fitness/Health, Food

Let me start by stating that I am not vegan. I feel compelled to write this post because of a documentary my family watched which caused my parents to go cold-turkey on all animal-based foods.

Before we watched the film, my parents loved fish, chicken, cheese, milk, ice cream… you get the idea. Now? They are doing their best to eat a “whole foods, plant-based diet” and trying to convince everyone they know to do the same. (As for me, I’m choosing vegan and vegetarian options more often, but I can’t bring myself to give up cheese or milk in my coffee quite yet.)

The movie is called Forks Over Knives and it’s currently available on Netflix. “Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.” (read more here)

Basically, these two doctors spent their careers experimenting (independently… they didn’t meet each other until later in life) and each came to the conclusion that people who eat a plant-based diet with no animal-based products have a significantly lower chance of getting cancer. The film even features some patients who were able to survive their cancer death sentences by changing their diet. And it’s not only about cancer. The film also interviews patients who got rid of diabetes, high cholesterol, and other health problems by switching to a vegan diet.

You’d think this would be all over the news, because we are always searching for a magical cure to cancer, right? Well, here’s the thing about this possibly magical cure. It’s easy, and it’s cheap. No one is getting rich off this breakthrough. There’s no fancy pharmaceutical drug that a company can charge millions for. It’s just a lifestyle change that anyone can make, with or without the help of a doctor. Frankly, it’s cheaper to eat a plant-based diet than an animal-based one.

“It is time to let food be our medicine.”

What do you think? Are you familiar with this film or with the claims it makes about a plant-based diet? Have you made the switch to veganism?

-L

Soup to cure the winter blues

Curated, Food, Recipes

We are smack dab in the middle of winter, and it makes me want to fly a few thousand miles south to somewhere warm, or at least spend all day in a fluffy blanket drinking all the coffee in my kitchen.

But since I have a job to go to and don’t have quite enough miles for a last minute vacation, I have to find other ways to cure my winter blues.

That brings us to soup.

Soup is comfort in a pot. The act of cooking something warm and nourishing automatically makes you feel better. It forces you to slow down, and makes you feel good just knowing you are taking care of yourself.

Here is some soup inspiration for you. I can’t wait to get home and get one of these recipes cooking.

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Potsticker soup. Toss your favorite frozen potstickers and veggies in a flavorful broth. Yum. (Recipe here)

Potsticker soup
(via)

Pea and lettuce soup. Easy, healthy, delicious. The recipe suggests serving with a ham and cheese tartine (ham and cheese melted onto a roll of crusty bread) and I couldn’t agree more (although I might make mine with turkey and cheese). (Recipe)

Pea and lettuce soup

Chicken and rice soup. Classic comfort food. I want some now. (Recipe)

Chicken and rice soup

Quick spicy sriracha ramen noodle soup. A homemade take on instant ramen. And it’s spicy. Yes, please. (Recipe)

Spicy ramen

Miso soup with mushrooms and soba noodles. A little more complicated, but it’s vegan, healthy, and oh-so flavorful. Plus, mushrooms. I die for yummy, brothy, mushroomy soups. (Recipe)

Miso soup

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Let me know if you try any of these recipes! Do you have any favorite soup recipes? How else do you stay warm in the winter?

Get cooking! -L

Hardworking Lunches

Food, Recipes, Workplace

I have always struggled with lunch.

Breakfast? Savory, sweet, whatever you’re serving, I’m in. Dinner? You can be sure I’m having seconds. But lunch has always been my least favorite meal. I think it’s because once I hit a stride — a long day of classes or cubicle-sitting — I don’t like to interrupt it. It may also be that my typical diet of carbs and cheese tends to make me crash if I eat that way in the middle of the day. This means that your typical sandwich for lunch doesn’t cut it for me.

Over the years I’ve struggled with spending too much money at lunchtime, and eating too much and ruining my afternoon productivity. Now I can finally say that I have some lunch staples that are cheap, healthy, and don’t sap my energy level. Below you’ll find some examples, plus some good sides to add on to any lunch.

You might notice that my examples are all vegetarian and mostly vegan — this is just because I gravitate toward lighter fare for lunch. I love cheese and I do eat meat, but when I’m cooking for myself I end up eating a lot of vegan meals purely because they are easy and make me feel good.

Lazy and cheap:

Bagel and cream cheese. Hold up! I thought you said carbs and cheese were bad? Well… yeah. This is not a shining example of a healthy lunch, but I do not want to give the impression that I bring a healthy, homemade lunch to work every day, because that is just not true. Personally, I’m happy with myself if I bring a lunch at all. Even if it’s not the healthiest, I’m happy to save money and to have my life together enough that I can do some advanced planning the night before. So, if I am feeling really lazy and cheap, I will bring a lunch that requires no cooking at all, just a little foresight at the grocery store.

Cheap and simple:

Beans and rice. This meal is full of protein and has endless possibilities. Here is an easy example that I might make on any given night. But you could easily spice it up with avocado, pico de gallo, a little lime juice, whatever you want. Simple, filling, and definitely cheap.

Healthy and flavorful:

Quinoa tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad typically made with bulgar or couscous, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice. I like to use quinoa instead of bulgar or couscous because of the added protein. I am also not crazy about mint so I usually skip that. The tomatoes, onions, and lemon make this dish really flavorful. I also love to add diced cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro. Here is a great recipe.

Hearty and healthy:

Quinoa with asparagus and mushrooms. Really, this could be called quinoa and veggies, because you could easily throw together quinoa and whatever veggies you have on hand. For example, you might add kale, spinach, onions, or peppers. I love quinoa with asparagus and mushrooms because it’s filling, easy to prepare, and because asparagus and mushrooms are two of my favorites. This dish is very versatile and hardly requires a recipe at all, but here is a nice one to get you started.

On the side:

Fruit – berries, banana, plum, pear, satsuma orange, grapes
Baby carrots
Sliced cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Cookie
Pretzels
Pita chips
Hummus (to go with the veggies or chips)

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That’s it! I’m not a lunch expert yet, but I’m doing my best. What are your lunchtime staples?

Thanks for reading!
-L