Mashed Sweet Potato

Who doesn’t like sweet potatoes? The vegetable is a staple food at most Thanksgiving dinners. Sweet potatoes form the base of most comfort foods from french fries to pies. On my weekly grocery run, I tried some mashed sweet potatoes at Whole Foods and decided to make the treat at home.
This vegan recipe uses coconut milk and cinnamon for a candied spin on traditional mashed potatoes.

sweet potatoes mashed ebl eatbrightliving

Ingredients
– 4 sweet potatoes
– 1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk
– Salt and pepper (optional)
-1 tsp of cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

-Preheat oven to 400.
-Carefully wash sweet potatoes. Using a fork, poke holes in the potatoes. Line the vegetables on a lined baking sheet and cook for 45-60 minutes (or until soft enough for your liking). Set potatoes out to cool.
-Once cooled, peel the potatoes and mash in a bowl. Transfer mashed potatoes into a deep pan on medium-low heat. Gradually add 1/2 can of coconut milk and continue to mash until well blended.
– Add salt, pepper, and cinnamon to the mashed potatoes, if using, and blend well.
-Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Flavors

(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.

 

It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

 

Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.

 

For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.

 

Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.

Watermelon Buddha Bowl

 

Citrusy Tahini Dressing:

3          tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)

1/3       cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/4       cup rice vinegar

1          teaspoon soy sauce

1          teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2       teaspoon salt

 

Buddha Bowls:

2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed

4          mini cucumbers, thinly sliced

1          cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved

2          avocados, sliced

2          cups cooked black rice

1          cup sliced, toasted almonds

 

Citrusy Tahini Dressing Instructions

To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.

 

To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

14090_B

Sweet Watermelon Pizza

Vegan Greek yogurt

Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice

Shredded coconut

Mint

Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries

Slivered almonds

 

Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.

 

Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.

Meet a Vegan: Professional Chef Quessie

This week’s Meet a Vegan feature is Quessie, personal chef, and owner of the blog qbcookin.com, where she shares recipes, lifestyle tips and personal chef services for plant-based eaters. We sat down with her and asked her a few questions about her journey as a vegan.

Name (or Nickname): Quessie/ Q

Age: 33

Website: Qbcookin.com

What makes you unique?

I’ve always been a bit unorthodox and untraditional. I question everything, and I’m a seeker of truth, wherever I can find it, whatever subject it entails! I like to dig deep and study multiple sources for my answers and form my own opinions, rather than having someone else’s opinion projected onto me.

How has your life experiences shaped who you are as a vegan today?

I believe becoming aware and in tune with my body–the reactions to the foods I eat–have had the most significant impact on me as a vegan. Noticing how I felt after meals, fatigued, moody, or having my skin break out the next day, made me realize it could have something to do with the way I eat. Going vegan has stretched my energy, helped my skin (I still break out when I eat junk food!) and made me more alert and clear-headed. I also don’t suffer from as many anxiety attacks or depression, and I 100% believe its only because I changed the way I eat. I’m not one of the people who went vegan for the animals (although, now vegan, I feel tremendous empathy towards the treatment and slaughter of animals for consumption) my reasons were more health-related. I don’t want to be 50, diabetic, high blood pressure, joint pains, and a slew of other ailments. I want to LIVE my life!

How did your parents/significant other react when you changed to a plant-based vegan diet?

My parents have no qualms about my choice to live a vegan lifestyle, and they don’t have a problem with their grandchildren being plant-based either. My dad put up an argument or two, but he quickly realized the reasoning and logic behind my diet made A LOT of sense. My mom is also vegan now, so no complaints from her. I believe if my dad lived closer to me, and I could show him how to prepare vegan meals that, he would go vegan too.

What’s one thing you wish somebody would’ve told you before you went vegan?

I wish someone would have mentioned that the cravings for meat and dairy subside quickly and that once you get over that, you’ll likely never go back to animal products again. Becoming vegan is work, just like dedication to ANYTHING. For me, it took only one short week of craving meat before it disappeared. Cheese, on the other hand, was a lot harder not to crave. There is a naturally occurring chemical in dairy that makes it addictive, however, so that explains that! Once both cravings diminished, I was hooked.

Do you own vegan business?

I am a personal chef, offering catering, cooking classes, dinner parties, meal prep, family meals, and single meals. I also run a blog and share recipes on my website qbcookin.com.

What’s the biggest reward of being vegan, in your opinion?

For me, the most significant reward is raising vegan kids, guilt-free. I don’t have to worry about the drugs, hormones, and toxins found in animal products, and the effects they will have on them. Although transitioning them into veganism wasn’t the easiest, I’ve noticed that they don’t get sick as often, their attention spans have improved, and they are excited to be vegan now!

The Mindful Eater

What is a mindful life? Is it perfecting a challenging yoga pose, or can it be found in a scenic view of a mountain range? While things like stretches and meditations most often come to mind when talking about becoming conscious, mindfulness can and should extend beyond physical attributes. Being mindfulness should infuse into every part of a person’s life, including what she or he eats.

Mindfully eating promotes a better quality of life, stability, balance and a mind and body free of diseases. This article focuses on three healthful, plant-based ways of living

that promote mindfulness in the most critical area of life—the food you eat.

Vegetarian Diet

A person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons can be called vegetarian. People become vegetarians for many reasons, including, concerns about animal welfare or the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, or a desire to eat in a way that avoids excessive use of environmental resources.

A vegetarian diet focuses on plants for food. These include fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds, and nuts. There is no single type of vegetarian diet. Instead, vegetarian eating patterns usually fall into the following groups:

  • Vegan: Excludes all meat and animal products and includes only plant-based foods. Additionally, vegans avoid animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey. Vegans do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or any products derived from animals, including eggs, dairy products, and gelatin.
  • Ovo vegetarians: Doesn’t eat meat, poultry, fish, or dairy products, but does eat eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Includes plant foods plus some or all dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats plant-based foods and both dairy products and
  • Pescatarian: Eats plant-based foods and seafood.

Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. Some veggie foods that can provide all nutritional needs like the following vitamins and minerals: Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D, Zinc, Protein and Vitamin B12.

If you are considering giving it a try, you don’t have to think black and white. You could start by preparing a couple of meat-free dishes each week, and gradually make more substitutions—tofu in a stir-fry instead of chicken or grilled veggie burgers instead of beef.

Vegan Diet

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. In addition to following a vegetarian diet, vegans do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. Some people avoid these items because of conditions associated with their production (vegans are often animal rights activists who don’t believe in using animal products for any purpose).

Some macrobiotic diets fall into the vegan category. Macrobiotic diets restrict not only animal products but also refined and processed foods, foods with preservatives, and foods that contain caffeine or other stimulants.

Health-conscious vegans substitute animal products with plant-based replacements, such as:

Tofu, tempeh and seitan, legumes, nuts and nut butter, seeds, calciumfortified plant and nut-based milk and yogurt, algae, nutritional yeast, whole grains, cereals and pseudo-cereals, sprouted and fermented plant foods, fruits, and vegetables.

On the other hand, many vegan versions of familiar foods are available so that you can eat vegan hot dogs, ice cream, cheese, non-dairy yogurt and vegan mayonnaise along with the more familiar veggie burgers and other meat substitute products. However, your genetic makeup and the composition of your gut bacteria may also influence your ability to derive all the nutrients you need from these vegan foods.

One way to minimize the likelihood of deficiency is to limit the amount of processed vegan foods you consume and opt for nutrient-rich plant foods instead. Some vegans may find it difficult to eat enough of the nutrient-rich or fortified foods to meet their daily requirements. Therefore, supplements are an essential part of vegan diets: Vitamin B12, vitamin D, EPA and DHA, iron, iodine, calcium, and zinc.

Ayurvedic Diet

Anything related to fresh and organic fruits or vegetables, including whole grains and nuts are part of the ayurvedic diet. This diet is an outcome of “Ayurveda” the ancient medical system of India.

Ayurveda is a personalized approach to health, and knowing your mind-body type allows you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, supplements, and all other aspects of your lifestyle. If you eat foods uniquely suited to your physiology and follow a life-supporting routine that enhances digestion, your body will reap the benefits, and you will find that your days will be happier, healthier and filled with real vitality — at any age.

Ayurveda = Personalized Health. Individualized in its approach and suited to our physiology.

According to Ayurveda, each meal should contain all six flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent.

The three Ayurvedic body types are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each of them has a unique set of characteristics. Most people are a combination of two, but one typically predominates. For example, a Vata-predominant person will favor bigger meals with sour and salty tastes. A Kapha-predominant person may prefer more pungent foods, while a Pitta predominant person craves more sweet flavors. Remember, having all six tastes in your meals means that while the spices are present, you don’t overly taste one flavor.

Your body possesses the natural intelligence to process the foods that are closest to nature, such as fresh whole grains and organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Eating nutrient-dense foods makes sense when we consider that we have evolved as a species over millions of years eating whole, natural foods.

Whenever possible, choose organic, unprocessed foods. Your body will thank you!

Below few websites to expand your knowledge.

Reference

Chopra, D. (n.d.). What is Ayurveda? Retrieved from https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

Harvard health. (2017). Becoming a vegetarian. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

Petre, A. (2016). The vegan diet. A complete guide for beginners. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-guide#section8

Ten Ayurvedic dietary must-do’s. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/ayurvedic-diet/nine-ayurvedic-secrets-to-a-healthy-diet.html

The vegetarian resource group. (n.d.). Veganism in a nutshell. Retrieved from http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm

US news best diets. (n.d.). Vegetarian diet. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/vegetarian-diet

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Book Recommendations:
Vegan Cookbook for Beginners: The Essential Vegan Cookbook to Get Started

Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides)

Stuffed mini potatoes

Becoming vegan means that you will spend a lot of time cooking. And while others settle for meals of lentils or rice, I like to be a bit more creative with my food. Sometimes I think of challenges I can do, like vegetables as main dishes when I was trying to limit my soy intake. I also have a ‘use-the-leftovers’, where I use up the last bit of vegetables I have before they spoil. Often times, I write two or three of the remaining ingredients and the word ‘recipe’ into Google and see the results.
Other times, I take non-vegan recipes and practice what I would like to call substitutions. I swap out the meat/dairy ingredients for vegan options.
I did this with my stuffed mini potatoes recipe. Now, I only use mini potatoes, because that is what I had on hand (which, of course, has its difficulty), so feel free to substitute with regular potatoes and adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Ingredients

12 mini potatoes (or six regular potatoes)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 small red onion chopped
1 cup of fresh, chopped broccoli
2 cups of Daiya cheese (I used the pepper jack style)
1/2 cup of plain veganaise (You can use vegan sour cream, but I did not have any on hand)
1 cup of cooked and chopped veggie bacon (I use Benevolent Bacon from Sweet Earth)
1/4 cup of plain almond milk or non-dairy milk of your choice
Parsley or another herb of your choice

Directions

Heat oven to 400. Clean potatoes and, using a fork, poke holes all over the potatoes. Bake mini potatoes in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until you achieve your desired softness (obviously longer if you’re using regular potatoes)

While the potatoes are baking, heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic and cook until transparent and aromatic. Set aside.

Cut baked potatoes in half and scoop out most but not all of the insides. Transfer potato guts into a medium bowl. Save skins.

Mash the potatoes. Stir in the veganaise, one cup of the cheese, veggie bacon, broccoli, onion, garlic and salt and pepper, if desired

Fill each potato skin with the potato mixture, and place filling side up in a baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake 30-35 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Meet a Vegan: Animal Activist John Oberg

Director of New Media for The Humane League, John Oberg, talks about what veganism means to him and how his lifestyle changed for the better.

What makes you unique/different/special?

What makes me unique is my approach to animal advocacy. When it comes to creating a vegan world, I think strategically and think in the long-term. I’m pragmatic and utilitarian, so I want the greatest amount of good to come from my advocacy for animals.

How has your life experiences shaped who you are as a vegan today?

I learned a deep sense of compassion for animals and the vulnerable from my mom. So it has been ingrained in me since I was young.

How did your parents/significant other react when you changed to a plant-based vegan diet?

My mom was very supportive of my decision and shortly after I became vegan, she went vegetarian. So, it was fun to go on similar journeys at the same time. She is the reason I learned to love animals, and I was the reason that she thought to go vegetarian. We had a very positive influence on each other.

How do you deal with being social as a vegan?

In social situation, being subtle about your veganism is ideal. Yelling it from mountaintops may feel cool, but if you want to truly influence, be sure to not put people on the defensive. If someone asks you, definitely tell them you are vegan. But if the fact that you are vegan comes out like that, you’re much more likely to make a positive impact than if you just started talking about it randomly.

What advice would you give to young vegans (vegans just starting out)?

The first 30 days are the hardest, then it gets significantly easier. Seek out vegan friends, but don’t feel like you need to convince your friends and family to be vegan. You can do more good in a single day engaging in effective animal activism than you could in years of trying to convince your friends and family to do it (and become very frustrated along the way). I don’t even bring veganism up with non-vegan friends; I just let them talk to me when they want to and that works perfectly.

***

Follow John on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

The Humane League’s mission is to reduce the suffering of as many animals as possible, as effectively as possible. To learn more about The Human League, visit their website at www.thehumaneleague.org. 

SaveSave