I was encouraged to try the vegan diet for twenty four hours. My first thoughts consisted of ways to implement the diet change, however, I found there was so much more to this lifestyle. Vegans not only eliminate meat consumption, but they eliminate hygiene, hair, makeup, and household products made from animals. This made me realize the true challenge behind this transformation. Would it be a change implemented right away? No. But, I do find myself more aware and slowly eliminating the amount of animal based products I use.
Before I started this challenge, I immediately started researching everything the lifestyle consisted of. Digging in deeper, I understood the difference between veganism and vegetarianism, the reasons for the change, and even the health benefits.
Vegetarian vs Vegan
The average American is said to consume around 75 pounds of meat a year. Consuming meat is a nutritional way for most individuals to meet their suggested daily protein intake. For men, it is important to receive around 56 grams of protein a day. In contrast, women should consume 46 grams. As a result, vegans and vegetarians believe ending the consumption of meat will protect and save animals, as well as, live a healthier lifestyle.
Vegetarians do not consume meat, fish, or poultry. In contrast, vegans, restrict themselves from all animal products, such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. Due to this, meeting the suggested protein intake may seem difficult, however, individuals have found supplements to fuel their bodies with protein. Some of these protein supplements include lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peas, soy milk, and so much more.
Why make the change?
Why change lifestyles? Following the vegan diet has many health benefits. This lifestyle focuses on an all-natural, organic diet. Researchers state that plant based diets minimize or completely eliminate an individual’s genetic propensity to develop chronic diseases. This diet helps limit fat and cholesterol intake and provides vast amounts of fiber.
This change will also promote environmental and ethical awareness. When ordering a burger, or purchasing produce, many of us ask, “I wonder where this came from.” In most cases, the answer is one we do not want to hear. The animal farms are far from what we see at a petting zoo. This environment is nothing more than abuse, overcrowded space, and cruelty. Vegans protest these farms in hope to make a stop to these harmful acts.
Example of Meal Plan
There are thousands of delicious recipes one can try when making the switch! I found the recipes below to be a great start to the transition. Each meal left me with a full, clean, and satisfied feeling.
Metabolic Booster Smoothie
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (vegan)
- 4-6 ounces of water
- 6 ounces pre-made coffee cold
- 1 tbsp. of almond butter
- 1/2 frozen banana
- handful of ice cubes
- cinnamon to taste (optional)
- Blend the protein in the water until smooth.
- Add the coffee, banana and ice. Keep blending until desired consistency is achieved. add the almond butter
Hearty vegetable soup
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic with one teaspoon of salt for 4-5 minutes. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, diced tomatoes with the juices, and Italian seasoning. The broth should cover about half of the saucepan; add more if necessary. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the zucchini and cook for 15 minutes more. Serve hot.
SPICY BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER POPCORN
- 2 heads of cauliflower
- Spicy Buffalo Sauce
- ¾ -1 cup dates
- ½ cup filtered water
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 – 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons raw tahini
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Chop your cauliflower into tiny pieces, cutting the florets as small as possible to get the crunchiest and most flavorful popcorn!
- Place all ingredients for spicy buffalo sauce in a high speed blender and blend until mixture reaches a thick uniform consistency.
- Pour or spoon your spicy buffalo sauce into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Toss the florets into your spicy buffalo mixture and stir until every piece is well covered with the sauce.
- Place your spicy buffalo cauliflower florets onto your dehydrator trays.
- Optional: Sprinkle a little sea salt or favorite herbs over top of your cauliflower.
- Dehydrate at 115 F for 12 – 24 hours, until desired crunchiness. The longer you dehydrate the crunchier your cauliflower will get.
Soak sun-dried tomatoes in warm water at least one hour ahead of time.
If you are not using soft, fresh dates then soak your dates in warm water at least one hour ahead of time.
Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days.
If you don’t own a dehydrator, bake on the lowest temperature (mine goes down to 170F).
Sweet potato veggie burger
- 1½ pounds sweet potatoes (smaller potatoes cook faster)
- ⅓ cup uncooked millet or quinoa (or 1 cup cooked)
- 1 cup old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you are avoiding gluten)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups cooked black beans)
- ½ small red onion, diced
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- High quality vegetable oil for cooking burgers (or coconut oil, if you don’t mind the coconut taste, olive oil may burn)
- 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (optional)
- your favorite burger fixings (avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese)
- Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the sweet potatoes down the center lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and roughly chop the insides. Set aside to cool completely.
- Cook the millet: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Stir in the millet, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain off any remaining liquid and set aside to cool. OR cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander, then combine with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Then drain off any excess water and set aside to cool.
- Grind the oats: Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
- Mix the burgers: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cooled sweet potatoes and millet, black beans, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne (optional, add to taste for spicier burgers) and salt. Use a potato masher, big mixing spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix really well. It’s ok if the black beans get smashed in the process.
- Mix in the oats: Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).
- Shape the burgers: Use a measuring cup to measure out ½ cup of the mixture. Gently shape it into a patty about 3½ inches in diameter. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers and smooth out any jagged edges. Repeat the process for each patty; you should end up with 8. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.
- Pan fry the burgers: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place several burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook each patty until browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet for each pan of burgers you fry.
- Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Vegan mocha brownies
-3 scoops vanilla about time vegan protein powder
-1/2 c old fashioned oats
-1/2 c organic, raw cacao powder
-1 c room temp coffee
-2 T organic agave nectar
- Combine all dry ingredients
2. Add coffee mixture to dry ingredients
3. Mix to combine
4. Press into a 9×5 baking dish
5. Chill until firm enough to cut
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