All About a Vegan Lifestyle

Over the course of the last few years, I have started to notice a significant increase in “vegan” products available in my local grocery store. My first impression of the new dietary lifestyle was that it was a cousin of a vegetarian lifestyle — similar… but not quite the same. However, I have always been curious as to what vegans eat and why people choose to eat this way.

What Being Vegan Means

The word ‘vegan’ is far more significant than just a symbol on food products at your local market. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines veganism as “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals.”

In fact, being vegan is more of a lifestyle change than a dietary change, because a vegan person will turn away from any type of product created with animal origin in it. This means avoiding products with animal origin in clothing, footwear, accessories, toiletries, household items and products tested on animals. It is truly an animal product free lifestyle.

Sources of Protein

Discovering high protein products that are vegan approved does not have to be difficult! Some of my favorites include:

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Almonds
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame

Foods Vegans Typically Avoid

As noted previously, a person adapting to a vegan lifestyle avoids all foods of animal origin. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Honey

Since vegans don’t eat any animal products, red and white meats, fish , eggs, or dairy and insect products, such as honey are not included in their daily diet.  Vegans are more likely to pack their diet with a wide range of mindful, foods high in vegetable protein, fiber,  vitamins, minerals and good fats. These include fresh fruit and vegetables, peas, beans and lentils, whole grain pastas, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices.

Transitioning to Vegan

If you are one of the many people interested in learning more about adapting to a vegan lifestyle, but are unsure of the proper steps to take, know that this transition does not have to be a difficult one. Remember that going vegan is a learning curve. While quitting your typical diet cold turkey is a passionate and dedicated approach, it may not be the most practical one for you.

If you do not necessarily adapt well to an overnight lifestyle change like I do, there are other ways to slowly ease yourself into joining the vegan club. Start out by searching your local grocery store for protein substitutes and adjusting your weekly grocery list to incorporate more of these foods. Then, make it a goal to replace one meal each day (or every other day) with these proteins and ingredients. Start doing some recipe research in your free time; either in your local book store or on Pinterest boards to discover which recipes you’d crave and how to cook these new and somewhat foreign protein replacements.

Easing into a new lifestyle choice is nothing to be ashamed of and quite frankly, cravings for new foods don’t always develop overnight. Make it your goal to develop more vegan lifestyle choices at a pace that is comfortable for you.

 

Types of Veganism

Within the vegan lifestyle, there are several different adaptations. Healthline shares a few examples:

Dietary vegans: You can become a vegan through just your diet alone because veganism was originally defined in dietary terms. In fact, dietary vegans are those who choose to avoid products of animal origin in their diet, but continue to use them in other everyday products, such as clothing, hygienic products, and cosmetics.

Whole-food vegans: This refers to Vegans who develop their diet to include dishes rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Low-fat, raw-food vegans: This refers to a subgroup of “raw vegans” that choose to limit their consumption of high-fat foods, including nuts, avocados and coconuts. This type of veganism relies mainly on fruit and small amounts of other varieties of plants.

Recipes

Treat your taste buds to new vegan foods and different flavors!  There are thousands of vegan recipes out there. During this culinary journey, you’ll encounter delicious new recipes and fascinating variations on your all-time childhood favorites. You may be surprised by the amount of dishes you can prepare from things already in your pantry.

Tofu Benny with Hollandaise

Property of Hot for Food Blog

If you are looking to spice up your Sunday brunch, this Tofu Benny with Hollandaise sauce from Hot for Food Blog is your recipe for success.  There are several ingredients necessary to create this culinary masterpiece. The tofu benny requires:

  • 1 pkg of smoked tofu (try sunrise soyganic or wildwood)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 5-6 C baby spinach
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 2 vegan whole wheat english muffins

You will want to start off by cutting the brick of smoked tofu into quarters. Then heat a pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and fry the smoked tofu on either side until lightly browned or crisp and heated through. Remove the tofu from the pan, and add the spinach. Sauté it for a few minutes until wilted and cooked through, but still bright green in color. Toast your english muffins while you’re frying the tofu and spinach.  Then assemble your tofu benny by placing the tofu and spinach on top of your toasted english muffins.

Now that you have created a serving of tofu benny, you’ll need to top it off with The Hot for Food blog’s secret sauce. Some ingredients you will need to make a delicious batch of hollandaise sauce include:

Property of Hot for Food Blog

  • 1/2 C sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond or soy milk (can also sub water)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Combine the ingredients listed above into a large bowl and mixing on high until the mixture is rich and smooth. Once your sauce is completely blended, pour into a large pot and heat over the stove for several minutes to warm before serving. Be sure to wait until your tofu is almost finished before heating, as overheating the batter will make the sauce thick and clumpy.

Sticky Buns

Property of Minimalist Baker

There is arguably nothing more satisfying than the aroma of freshly baked sticky buns traveling through your home on a Sunday morning. Be the star of next weekend’s family brunch with this perfectly spiced vegan sticky bun recipe courtesy of Minimalist Baker. Some ingredients you’ll need to satisfy your sweet tooth include:

DOUGH

  • 1 cup Unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 packet rapid-rise (instant) yeast (~ 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I mixed all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry 2:1)

FILLING

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

STICKY GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the culinary process of making these mouthwatering sticky buns step-by-step with the help of Minimalist Baker’s helpful instructions.

Step One: In a large bowl microwave both the almond milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance in 30 second intervals the ingredients are melted. Once the ingredients are warm, let the mixture cool to 110 degrees

Step Two: Sprinkle on in yeast and let the yeast activate for 10 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp sugar and the recommended amount of salt and stir.

Property of Minimalist Baker

Step Three: “Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so until it forms a loose ball, adding more flour as you go and as it will absorb. Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with canola or grape seed oil, and add your dough ball back in. Roll around to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size”.

Step Four: “While dough is rising, prepare sticky glaze by mixing butter and brown sugar and spreading it in an even layer on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Top with pecans and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 1/4 cup melted vegan butter and top with 1/2 cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar) and 1/2 – 1Tbsp cinnamon.

Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 – 2 inch sections and position in your 8×8 dish with the glaze layer on the bottom (you should have about 10 rolls). Cover with plastic wrap and set on top of the oven to let it briefly rise again while you preheat oven to 350 degrees (176 C).

Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, carefully invert, and then serve immediately.”

 

For more delicious recipes, check out the recipe section of our blog here.

 

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