Vegan 101

Are you curious about veganism and how it can benefit your health, the environment and most importantly the animals?

veg·an (/ˈvēgən/)

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

~ The Vegan Society

Why you should go vegan!

For Your Health

The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognise that a vegan diet is suitable for every age and stage of life for humans. The state of the country’s health is in crisis as the rise of major diseases continues to climb due to the increased consumption of animal products. Some research studies have directly linked vegan diets with lower rates of heart disease, type II diabetes and some types of cancer; as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. “Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.”

For the Planet

The environment is in utter chaos with climate change affecting various parts of the country. This is due to the large amounts of water needed for animal agriculture and the greenhouse gases they emit, which in return is contaminating our oceans, air, and land. One of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products. Consumers are much more aware that the majority of their food is being sourced from less-than-optimal environmental conditions that exist within the factory farming industry. Animal agribusiness is trying to keep up, but even if all farms were to fully reform to grass-fed, organic methods, this would not be the solution for the environmental crisis. Higher methane levels (more harmful than CO2) would, in fact, be a greater detriment to the environment. With over 74 billion people on the planet, the demand for animal-based foods would still be too high to continue to keep up at the rate the population is growing.

For the Animals

Preventing harm and exploitation of animals is not the only reason for going vegan, but for many it is the deciding factor for initially going vegan and ultimately staying vegan. The rapid rate and manner in which farmed animals are being bred and killed for the standard diet is raising a moral dilemma for many Americans; and the terrible cruelty and violence in the modern farming industry is coming to light. Choosing to live a vegan lifestyle and eat a plant-based diet is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty.

Resources

Websites

Videos to Watch

Our Favorite Recipes

These are a few of our favorite EASY vegan recipes, we usually always have these ingredients on hand so we are contasntly making these dishes! Keep checking back for more of our favorites.

Breakfast Burrito

SCRAMBLE
8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 red pepper (thinly sliced)
2 cups kale (loosely chopped)
SAUCE
1/2 tsp sea salt (reduce amount for less salty sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Water (to thin)
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)

SAUSAGES

 

Banana Bread

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 medium ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 almond milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F, grease muffin tray or 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, bananas, vegan butter, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in almond milk. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Pour into pans. Bake about 30 minutes for large muffins or 1 hour for loaf pan.

Pesto Pasta

Ingredients…

Vegetable Stir Fry

Ingredients…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup flour
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl mix peanut butter, maple syrup, and flour. Using a rubber spatula, stir and fold until well-mixed and thickened, with no visible flour patches remaining. Pack evenly into the baking pan. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in 20-second increments until melted. Pour chocolate mixture on top of peanut butter filling. Tap the pan a few times to even out and place in the freezer.

Baking/Cooking Substitutes

Egg Substitutes

1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water (let sit for 2 minutes)

Best in: cakes and brownies

1 tbsp chia seed + 3 tbsp water (let sit for 15 minutes)

Best in: pizza dough, waffles, and cookies

Mash 1 small banana = 1/4 cup 

Best in: quick breads, muffins, cookies, and pancakes

Measure out 1/4 cup of applesauce, I reccomend using unsweetened

Best in: brownies, quick breads, and cakes

Mix 1 tbsp of dry powder + 3 tbsp water

Best in: almost anything! 

Buy here:

    Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer

    Follow Your Heart VeganEgg

Milk Substitutes

One of the most popular dairy-free options. It has a light texture and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It can be added into almost anything and is extremely versatile.

Considered to be one of the first non-dairy milk alternatives. It typically has a mild and creamy flavor. It works best as a substitue for cow’s milk in savory dishes.

Coconut milk is another popular alternative. It has a creamy texture and a sweet but subtle coconut flavor. If you do not like coconut then this is probably not for you. 

Oat milk is extremely popular right now. It is naturally sweet and mild in flavor. It is creamy and can be used in cooking and tastes great with cereal or in smoothies.

Cashew milk is rich and creamy and has a sweet and subtle nutty flavor. It is great for thickening smoothies or using it as coffee creamer.

Rice milk is mild in taste and naturally sweet in flavor. It has a slightly watery consistency. It is the least allergenic of the non-dairy milks. 

Macadamia milk has a richer, smoother and creamier flavor than most nondairy milks. It is great in coffee or smoothies. 

Hemp milk has a slightly sweet, nutty taste and a thin, watery texture. It works best as a substitue for lighter milks such as skim milk. 

Butter Substitutes

Earth Balance

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: It’s Vegan

Miyoko’s Creamery

Country Crock Plant Butter

Pure Blends

Earth Balance

Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks

Miyoko’s Creamery Sticks

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and has a texture much closer to butter than other cooking oils. To replace desired amount of butter use about three quarters that amount of coconut oil mixed with a quarter that amount of cold water.

Often you can simply replace butter with your favorite oil. Use three quarters the amount of oil for the specified amount of butter in a recipe. 

Other Dairy Product Substitutes

Shreds, blocks, slices, cheezy mac, cheezecake, coconut yogurt, dressings, cheeze sticks
Shreds, blocks, slices, vegenaise, yogurts, salad dressings, parmesan style, sour cream, cream cheese
Slices, blocks, shreds, and cream cheese

Chao slices (In my opinion, the BEST vegan cheese!)

Ice cream sandwiches, fudge bars, slices, cream cheese, sour cream, ricotta
Yogurt, creamers, shreds, ice cream, and whipped cream

Honey Substitutes

Agave nectar mimics honey closely, it is lightly sweet and goes perfect in teas, on oatmeal and on anything else you would use honey.

Maple syrup gives recipes a little bit of a different flavor than honey does, but it works well in baking, in sauces, and most recipes that call for honey. I love maple syrup and use it as an alterative to sugar when making homemade lemonade!

Brown rice syrup is slightly less sweet than honey, but that can be a good thing sometimes. It is available at most grocery stores and can be used in anything that calls for honey. 

Meat Substitutes

Tofu is a great substitute for meats including pork, chicken, beef, and seafood in recipes. It’s made from soybeans and is high in protein and calcium. Tofu is extremely versatile and absorbs flavors through spices and marinades. You can pan fry it, bake it, air-fry it, etc!

Tempeh is firmer than tofu and has a more grainy texture. IT is made from fermented soybeans and has a little bit of a nutty flavor. We love to use it on sandwiches (vegan reubens) and it is a great substitue for ground beef in chilies.

Seitan has one of the most meat-like textures. It is processed wheat gluten and is a great source of protein. Depending on how you flavor it, it can be similar to chicken, beef, or pork. Seitan has a dense, chewy texture than can hold up to grilling, frying, braising, etc. 

Beans and legumes are inexpensive, healthy, filling, and there are so many to choose from: black peans, pinto peans, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, split peas, peanuts, etc! 

Lentils have been a meat alternative since the beginning of veganism. They are hearty and can replace ground beef easily. 

Jackfruit mimics pulled pork so it can easily be used in vegan pulled “pork” or BBQ jackfruit. It has a slight sweet taste but is fairly bland so season it however you’d like. 

Mushrooms: have a rich, earthy, and meaty flavor. They are healthy and filling and can be used to replace meat in any recipe. 

Eggplant: similar to mushrooms – it has a rich and meaty flavor and is very versatile.

Caluiflower: is a great stand in because it can absorb flavors and crisp up. You’ve got to try cauliflower buffalo “wings!”

Beets: are perfect in savory dishes that usually contain meet. 

Potatoes: you can do almost anything with potatoes – mash them, fry them, boil them, bake them, or roast them. 

Beyond Meat (burgers, breakfast sausage, ground “beef”, sausage – more realistic)

Gardein (beefless crumbles, burgers, chick’n everything, turk’y, breakfast saus’age patties, crabless cakes, fishless filet, etc – too many to name)

Morning star (burgers, breakfast sausage, chik’n, hot dogs, wings, nuggets, corn dogs, etc.)

Field Roast (breakfast sausage, nuggets, hotdogs, bratwurst, italian sausage, deli slices, burgers, celebration roasts, corn dogs, wings)

Tofurky (deli slices, burgers, sausages, hot dogs, ground “meats”, pockets, roasts)