MsHurricane Lives Here

Vegan Help To The Rescue!

Posted on: September 17, 2009

Now before you write this off as, “This crazy vegan is going to tell me to swear off meat.” Yatta yatta, I hear you. I don’t want meat eaters telling me that I should eat meat. I’m not about to flip your world upside down and tell you to go eat some bark, so relax. Also, I’m on a VERY tight budget, so anyone can eat like this.

My best friend Brenda Lee sent me an email with “Vegan Help!” as the subject last night. She asked about what my kitchen staples are to help her and her friends get out of some bad eating habits (I’m talkin’ Micky D’s and Cheetos here, ick!). Being the total nutritional nerd that I am I sent her back this EPIC email listing what I keep around the house and some recipes. I thought this would be something that my blog readers and friends could benefit from too. I’m not saying “go vegan” here (although it would be nice!), I’m not a preacher. Improving eating habits is an ever present battle and I’d like to share what I’ve found works for me as an athletic, healthy vegan (don’t you dare ask me where I get my protein from or I will flex on you!). This is my first installment. I will post recipes with photos in a few days or so.

Nutritional Yeast and Flax Seeds. put them in burritos, sandwiches, flax in cereal or oatmeal. Go to the health food store for these. Nutritional yeast has a nutty flavor, it will soon be your favorite thing on earth.
Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice, Sprouted Bagels and Bread. Just tastes better to me! Whole grains have all the nutrients in tact, when grains are bleached they are stripped of their nutrients, empty calories and carbs. (You can find the bread in the freezer, Ezekiel is popular. Be warned, it’s hearty)
-The only thing I buy with bleached flour are my tortillas, cuz nothin else rolls like those ones made down the street.
Sweetners. Agave nectar, not sugar or even honey, and jam with all fruit.  Agave has the lowest gycemic value for a sweetener (no sugar crash), you can get it raw, and it dissolves in cold water easily.
-I cook everything in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, no butter or vegetable oil. Extra virgin olive oil controls LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
BEANS!  All kinds! That includes tempeh and tofu.
Yerba Mate. Mate is full of vitamins, won’t strip your colon (I said it!!!) of healthy flora that absorb nutrients (coffee will do that), and has a much more subtle caffeine high that will last much longer without a crash. Buy loose leaf and put it in your french press, make it with a touch of soy milk and agave nectar – oh dang. Or buy it at your coffee shop as a “yerba mate soy cambric”, that’s half steamed soy, half hot water with tea, it will rock your universe.
Avoid things in packages. Look out for “hydrogenated oils” those are trans fats, fats your body stores and can’t process. Even if the package lists 0 Trans Fats it still may hold some, in the US a product can list 0 grams if it is under 0.5 grams per serving. Those bastards are sneaky.
Raw Fruits and Veggies – I swear a raw diet is the best thing you could try out.  Just go 70% raw for a week, you’ll feel like a god. (That of course means no drinking, etc) I go raw once or twice a year, great for the beginning of winter when you start to get depressed, it will get you out of the funk, I promise!

I think the best way to look at improving your diet and eating habits is not to OMIT things (I don’t think of being vegan as omitting things from my diet because I wouldn’t have it any other way) but to REPLACE your old habits with better ones. Get rid of the Wonderbread and try whole wheat or something with seeds, it has so much more flavor, will keep you full longer, and is rich in vitamins and fiber. Instead of grabbing a candy bar when you want some sugar grab an apple. Cook large dinners and keep the left overs for work at lunch so you don’t end up running to Subway in your 30 minute lunch break dash. It takes a little bit more planning, but your body will thank you for it.

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2 Responses to "Vegan Help To The Rescue!"

The easiest and best to do is simply avoid things in packages. If you spend a little more time planning and cooking your meals with fresh veggies and eating more fruit and less cookies, bars, and fast food, you will greatly improve your health.

A great read on the subject is the book “In Defense of Food” read it and you’ll never have a what should I be eating question again.

FYI- yerba mate may feel like their is caffeine in it, but actually it has matein in it. This is like caffeine and has the feeling you described, but it does not have the negative effects of caffeine, hence no crash. One yrba mate company just says it has caffeine, so as to not add to confusion. Other yerbamate companies may profess that there is no caffeine in yerba mate. It’s not that they are trying to fool people, or insulting people’s intelligences, it’s because it is true!

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