All Entries For vegan
If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you've probably been asked countless questions about how you get your protein. The truth is, it's not as hard as you might think to meet your protein needs when you're going meatless. However, some plant sources are higher in this important nutrient than others. Which veg-friendly food packs more protein: 4 ounces of tofu, 1 cup of cooked lentils, or 1 cup of cooked quinoa? Read More ›
Vegetarian Awareness Month is wrapping up, but the meat-free mealtime fun doesn't have to end! In addition to giving away 5 copies of our e-book "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," today I'm sharing tips for anyone who might need to cook for a vegetarian or vegan. With the holidays on the horizon, I hope you find these tips to be of use.
When I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople," I intended it to be for vegans, vegan wannabes, and those who love them. Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. We believe there's room at the table for all of us. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you.
That said, let's segue into tips for feeding the vegan or vegetarian in your life. Read More ›
Happy World Vegetarian Day! In honor of this Meatless Monday and the annual day to kick off a month of plant-based eating, we're sharing some of our favorite veg recipes. They're yummy and filling, perfect for meat eaters and veg'ns alike!
Did you know that about 3% of Americans are vegetarian and about 1% are vegan, meaning they don't eat meat, dairy, eggs or anything else that comes from an animal.
- 2-Bean Sweet Potato Chili
- Baked Falafel
- Bruschetta-Stuffed Mushrooms
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Cheesy Spinach Enchiladas
In college when I began to really study up on nutrition, I was interested in all kinds of diets. Although health was important to me, I was also desperate to lose weight. At the time I was vegan (yes, it's totally possible to be an overweight vegan!) and someone turned me on to the raw diet. While vegan eating is one kind of diet and lifestyle (that eschews all animal products and only eats plant-based foods), the raw diet takes veganism a step further. While there are raw styles of eating that do involve eating raw meat or raw eggs, this blog will specifically talk about the raw vegan diet. Read More ›
Great question. It's more often that we hear the possible health benefits of a vegetarian diet touted than we ever hear people talking about it possibly being unhealthy. But generally speaking, research shows that a well-planned vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy. Plant-based foods are naturally low in fat (and most often feature heart-healthy fats), are free of cholesterol, and are high in fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has reported that vegan and vegetarian diets can significantly reduce one's risk of contracting heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and a number of other debilitating conditions. Read More ›
A new children's book entitled Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action was released last week with mixed reviews over concerns about the books use of graphic images and a potentially unhealthy diet message. Author and illustrator Ruby Roth's previous book That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things provided children in vegetarian homes with a colorfully illustrated explanation to help them understand their family's eating style. (Learn more about the origin of the book here.) Vegan is Love continues the conversation into a deeper context by tackling tougher topics like animal testing and the use of animals as entertainment.
Ruby Roth told ABCNews.com that her book is intended to introduce ideas of compassion and action that help children think, eat, and treat the environment differently. Some of the biggest concerns from critics relate to how children may feel regarding the suggestions to boycott visits to the zoo, circus, or aquarium in addition to avoiding the inclusion of meat or dairy in the diet. Child psychologist Jennifer Hart Steen shared her concern with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show about how children may process the overall message especially if they don't follow a vegan lifestyle. There is also some concern regarding the illustrations especially for younger children.
Here is what the author has to say about her new book.
Read More ›
Contest closed! The winners are:
A cool new company contacted us recently, hoping we'd test their product and offer a giveaway. It's called Healthy Surprise, and right from the outset, I loved this idea.
Healthy Surprise is a subscription-based service that ships a box of healthy, natural, gluten-free and vegan snacks right to your door each month. In lieu of a subscription, you can also give yourself (or a friend) a one-time gift shipment, which is a really thoughtful and fun idea for the healthy eaters in your life. They offer four different packages that vary in size and price, starting at just $33/month (plus shipping) for the smallest package (which includes 16-20 snack servings) and goes all the way up to $333/month (free shipping) for the largest package of 200+ snacks, which might be more fitting for a club or workplace than an individual's home. You don't get to pick and choose what goes into your box, which is part of the fun—hence the "surprise" part, but as a bonus, you'll end up trying foods you never knew you liked and bring the fun back to snacking! Read More ›
A few months ago, I went in for my yearly skin check at my dermatologist. I was seeing a new doctor. He came into the exam room, introduced himself and shook my hand.
He held on to my outstretched hand for a closer look.
"You certainly do like to eat healthy, don't you?" he said.
"Yes, I do," I said, sounding surprised. "How can you tell?" I had had a quick conversation about my work with his nurse and assumed she had mentioned SparkPeople.com to him.
"Your hands, they're rather orange," he said. "Do you eat lots of carrots?"
I shook my head in affirmation.
"I love vegetables--I'm a cookbook writer and food editor…" I trailed off as he continued his exam and looked at the soles of my feet.
He said that he can tell when people eat a healthy diet with plenty of orange vegetables because the soles of their hands and feet turn slightly orange. I eat a rainbow of vegetables daily, not just orange ones, so it seemed odd to me that my feet and hands would be so yellow!
Disclaimer: I am gullible. If I try to fib I turn bright red and stammer, and I am terrible at making up stories for the purpose of fooling people. This was both a strength and a weakness in my old life as a newspaper reporter.
"Really?" I said incredulously. "Are you serious?"
The doc said he was, but he seemed so jovial that I doubted him.
We continued talking, he finished my exam and, after scolding me for going without sunscreen a couple of times in the Equatorial sun last year in Honduras, told me that I'm all clear for two years. I had a pair of iffy moles removed in the past and a scare from another dermatologist, so I get a bit nervous when I go in to get checked. A healthy diet, plenty of water and exercise, he said, is evident in the skin. Mine is healthy, despite its alabaster hue and propensity to burning.
I forgot all about that avuncular physician's mention of my orange skin, until Read More ›
Editor's Note: To coincide with the Great American Meatout on March 20, I'm sharing my success story with a vegan diet. Please note that this story is a personal one and should not be taken as dietary advice or an endorsement from anyone other than myself. I am a writer, not a health professional. We're all an experiment of one. Do what's right for you!
Reprinted in part from "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet."
In 2010, I became a vegan accidentally, unintentionally and without fanfare--all the while claiming that I could never make the leap to veganism. My excuses varied depending on the situation: it would be too costly, I loved cheese too much, I couldn't imagine interrogating every server at every restaurant for the rest of my life. I admit: I was wrong about veganism. Today, I remain happily, healthfully vegan.
It all started with a stressful break-up that left me with an odd feeling: a loss of interest in cooking. As a food editor and cookbook writer, this was very unusual!
For the first time in a very long time, I had to remind myself to eat, and when I did, most foods didn't appeal to me. I spent a couple of weeks relying heavily on healthy snacks to keep me fueled: oatmeal, carrots and hummus, bananas with almond butter, quick spinach and bean salads, etc.
Though emotionally I was a mess, physically I felt great. I was tracking my food on SparkPeople to make sure I was eating enough to sustain me, so I knew I was consuming adequate calories. I had energy, I was running and practicing yoga regularly, and I had a noticeable absence of stomach pain.
You see, I have what many call "a delicate constitution." That's a nice way of saying that my stomach is sensitive. I'm prone to all sorts of unappetizing ailments related to the GI tract. Never feed me raw broccoli. You've been warned. I'm also lactose intolerant.
Though I was eating the same amount of calories as usual, I was losing weight--and SparkPeople confirmed that I was getting enough protein, carbs, fat, etc.
I started examining my food intake more closely. What was different? I was eating really healthy foods, but I was also going out just as much as I had before.
Then I realized Read More ›
Most nights I look forward to cooking dinner. I listen to music on my iPod, perhaps enjoy a small glass of wine, and relax as I chop, sauté and braise. Other nights, when I come home starving, teach a late yoga class, or go for a long run after work, I want my meals to be no-fuss, no-muss, on the table in 20 minutes or less. (I must confess that I have a pretty sweet arrangement with my boyfriend: I cook, he cleans. I'm really good at making messes in the kitchen!) These are my top 10 go-to vegan meals. You can make them as simple or as fancy as you'd like. Use heat-and-eat rice, canned beans, and pre-chopped or frozen vegetables to save time, or gussy up these recipes (techniques, really) on nights when you're feeling creative. Add some fruit and a cup of calcium-fortified non-dairy milk (we vegans need strong bones!), and dinner is served. Read More ›
Happy March, everyone! Are you participating in the 30-Day Meatless Challenge?
In addition to being the month that spring officially begins, March is also the time of Lent and Purim (did you know that Queen Esther might have been vegan?).
Did you know that during in ancient times, fasting during Lent was much stricter--in some places, all animal products were forbidden--and in other countries, predominantly in the East, only vegan foods are consumed during Lent?
March is also National Nutrition Month, and March 20 is Meatout day.
And SparkPeople's first official e-book, "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," published earlier this week. (Thanks to you, the book has been #1 in vegetarian and low-fat diet e-books on Amazon all week, and it also was in the top five of all vegetarian cookbooks--"real" and e-books. WooHoo!)
I can't think of a better time to experiment with meatless meals.
Many of you have had questions regarding the challenge. It's simple. We're using the Vegetarian Team as our home base, and I'm posting a new thread each week. (Click here for this week's thread.) Feel free to post your questions and comments there, and on my weekly blogs, which will run Fridays through the month of March.
I called this the "Meatless Challenge" because it allows for some flexibility in your food choices. Meatless includes vegan and vegetarian meals. You can define meatless however you please; I'm not hear to judge!
So what should we be doing? Read More ›
I'm thrilled to announce that SparkPeople has just published the first in a line of ebooks, "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet."
As many of you know, I am editor of SparkRecipes and dailySpark, and co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook." I love food--writing, editing, researching, and, of course, eating it.
What you might not know about me is that I'm vegan, meaning I don't eat meat, dairy, eggs or anything else that comes from an animal. About 1% of Americans eat this way (for reference, 3% of Americans are vegetarian), but that number is growing. Due to my love of creating tasty, easy plant-based recipes, I was really excited to launch our ebook series with a vegan cookbook and guide.
Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you.
I am passionate about sharing the vegan lifestyle with others, but I (and SparkPeople) will never pressure you or guilt you into giving up meat, cheese, or eggs forever. I'd rather have each of you take one step toward a healthier you than alienate even one reader with a "diet" that seems complicated and stressful.
Why vegan for me?
In 2010, I adopted an all-plant diet accidentally, unintentionally and without fanfare--all the while claiming that I could never be a vegan. (That's a good story--I explain in the ebook.) My excuses varied depending on the situation: it would be too costly, I loved cheese too much, I couldn't imagine interrogating every server at every restaurant for the rest of my life. I admit: I was wrong about veganism. Today, I remain happily, healthfully vegan.
I've discovered that a plant-based diet is neither restrictive nor difficult, neither expensive nor time-consuming, and I'm hoping you'll give it a try--at least for a little while.
My body is the strongest and healthiest it has ever been. A vegan diet allows me to maintain a rigorous six-day-a-week Ashtanga yoga practice while training for half-marathons and teaching yoga. My boyfriend, a competitive cyclist, fuels with a plant-based diet as well. We each became vegan shortly before we met (within a week of each other, it turned out!), and the early days of our relationship were spent cooking up vegan feasts in my tiny apartment kitchen.
The motivators for a vegan diet can be pretty heavy topics, but what they all have in common is compassion and kindness: for others, for yourself, or for the earth and its animals. That's why I believe in the "no-stress, no-guilt" approach to meatless meals.
That's also why, along with other experts and members here at SparkPeople, I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," which is available for $2.99 on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
To celebrate this new e-book and encourage others to embrace more plant-based meals, I'm launching the 30-Day Meatless Challenge, starting March 1.
As I said, this isn't like other books on veganism. We focus solely on the positive aspects of a plant-based diet. Whether you are looking to add a few vegan recipes to your weekly meal plans, experiment with plant-based eating for a few weeks during Lent, or make it a lifelong journey, I hope you'll be inspired to embrace meatless meals at least for a little while from a healthy, whole-foods perspective using the new book.
If you want to eat plants 100% of the time and get healthy while doing it, I'm thrilled--and this is the book and the challenge for you. But remember that if you want to experiment with more meatless meals, learn how to cook for a vegan in your life, or just learn what the heck vegans eat, this book is for you, too.
Click here to buy or preview "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet" on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.