My Recent Love Affair With Vegan Cuisine

First things first: I’m not a vegan. I don’t consider myself really any type of eater except, an eater of all (ok you got me, most) things. I really will try anything once and look forward to new flavors and recipes showcasing various types of foods from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

For some reason, I’ve been craving vegan cuisine these past few months. This is not saying that I’ve become a vegan, because I have not. But, I’ve definitely increased my intake of vegan inspired menu items, whether I’m making it or I’m enjoying it at one of my favorite vegan restaurants.

Aren’t Vegans Hippies?

Vegan RecipeSo before I go any further, some of you may be asking, well what is a vegan? Veganism is a type of eating lifestyle where you don’t consume any animal byproducts or products. For example, vegans do not consume any dairy (milk, butter, ice cream, cheese), eggs, or meat. Some of you may have just read that and thought, well what in the world do they eat? A lot! Vegans eat a lot of vegetables, legumes, grains, and many interesting and flavorful additions to their diet including one of my favorites, nutritional yeast.

Ok, so what is an example of a vegan meal? Well, something that most people have had at least once in their lives (and if you haven’t, come over, I’ll make you one) is a salad, minus the cheese. If you’re a vegetarian or a lover of vegetables, I’m sure you can think of many dishes that you’ve recently had that fits the vegan lifestyle.

Meat Free Days

So, as I said before, I’m not a vegan, but I do think that it’s really important to eat a large amount of vegetables in your diet. Yes, there’s the whole “Meat Free Monday” gimmick, which is great, but I definitely would suggest that you try and eat “Meat Free” on many other days as well. There are easy substitutes that will trick your meat loving friend or family member so that they will feel satisfied. Need some inspiration? Check out my veggie burger recipe!

Vegan DietAnother question you may be asking is: why would I want to eat a vegan meal? Yes, we all love cheese, which is one of the reasons that I personally am not willing to commit 100% to the vegan lifestyle. If you just switch one or two of your meals during the week from a meat dish to a vegan dish, you’ll be eating a lot less meat and replacing all that meat with anti-oxidant rich vegetables. When you eat a vegan meal, you’re challenging yourself to eat an array of colors and the more colors you have on your plate, the more nutrients you’re getting! Another reason to cut down your meat intake is to do your part in saving the environment for future generations. Did you know that cattle are the biggest source of greenhouse gases? They account for ¾ of all emissions – if that doesn’t drop your meat habit I don’t know what will.

Now that I’ve given you the who, what and why – here are some things that I’ve become obsessed with over the last month. Hopefully they’ll inspire you just like they inspired me.

  1. The Vegan Cheat Sheet Book – I had the pleasure of meeting co-author Lisa The Vegan Cheat SheetMcComsey at an event a few months ago. She’s a marathon runner, writer, and now a vegan. This little handbook (it can literally fit in your purse) aims to help those people out who are confused about how to go vegan. It includes shopping information, recipes, and examples of what you can eat at major restaurant chains. It’s basically the “How to be Vegan 101 Book.” (You can find me guest blogging as the sometimes vegan girl.)
  2. The Blonde Vegan’s Instagram. If her pictures don’t make you drool, then I don’t think anything will.
  3. The new recipe book developed by ‘from seed to sprout.’ I love love love their kale salad with nutritional yeast (one of my favorites at their restaurant) and of course their macaroni and ‘cheese’ (hint they use butternut squash instead). I made macaroni and cheese with butternut squash many times before having this recipe in my possession, but upped the anti in my dish once I saw their secret ingredient.

Like I said, I’m not a vegan, but I love celebrating and tasting delicious food. My suggestion to you is, try it out! Even eating just one or two vegan dishes a week will not only ensure that you’re eating more vegetables (note that chips and salsa are vegan, but don’t qualify as a meal), but that you’re also helping the environment. Remember, it’s not about the label of your dish (vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian), but how you feel after you eat it! Don’t get caught up trying to fit in a box – step out of it and just enjoy yourself!

Till next time, stay healthy and ‘Bee Well!’

Melissa

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