By James Cruz and Jocelyn You
Let’s be real. We know a lot of people are working hard to get their summer bodies ready before summer vacation officially starts. People are trying every diet from Paleo to the Starch Solution to Keto, but what about the simplest diet of being vegan?
What do you think when you hear the word “vegan” or “vegetarian”? Do you think of hippies with necklaces made out of recycled plastic bags? Or do you think of a typical high school student, living day by day? Someone like yourself?
A vegan is a person who does not consume or use animal products. No dairy products, no meat, no leather jackets. Vegans live by the simplest of earth’s resources- plants.
There are both health and ethical reasons as to why one might become vegan.
The health reasons are simple. Without the addition of dairy products, our hormones are more balanced, giving us clearer skin, more consistent moods, and leaner bodies. The calcium that dairy milk provides can be found in twice the amount in almond milk, and other plant-based milks such as hemp, rice, soy, and coconut provide substantial amounts of calcium as well.
Along with the calcium received from plant-based milks, the addition of more fruits, vegetables, and superseeds such as chia, flax, and hemp are packed with fiber, make it easier for our digestive systems to pass waste. This is why vegans are known to be leaner, and many will speak for how light and healthy they feel.
Vegans lacking the necessary nutrients is a myth, seeing that plant-based foods and vitamins can easily give humans the protein, calcium, vitamins, fiber, and calories needed to thrive.
There is often the misconception that vegan diets are boring, but the secret in being a successful vegan is eating an abundance of plant-based food to keep the body satisfied and well-nourished. “Normal” foods can be recreated into a vegan version as there are vegan replacements for everything from meat, eggs, butter, cheese, to even ice cream. The main difference between a vegan diet and a omnivorous one is the lack of cruelty and the increase in plant-based foods.
The ethical reasons are a little harsher to comprehend. Slaughterhouses are animal blood baths that most often overlook or don’t even acknowledge. The truth of slaughterhouses hide behind the grilled chicken on your salad or the filet mignon from the local steakhouse. Animals are shoved into cages with little to no room to move and grow properly, and their lives are produced and ended for money and the benefits for humans to enjoy. Documentaries like Earthlings uncover the truth on slaughterhouses and the mistreatment that animals receive in order for humans to eat meat and wear expensive leather, fur, and skin clothing.
Interested in being vegan? It’s easy with the right mindset. Here are some recipes to help you out.
We all love the typical american style scrambled eggs and pancakes type of breakfast, but what if I told you that a single egg can shorten your lifespan? Yes, eggs are very high in cholesterol and can potentially shorten your lifespan. According to the Harvard’s Physician Study with over 20.000 doctors participating “consuming at least one egg a day had a significantly higher all-cause mortality risk, which essentially suggests that consuming even just one egg a day is significantly associated with a shorter lifespan (Jeff Taraday, `Breaking Muscle`)”. But guess what? Vegan eggs are a thing.
EGGS + BACON:
2 tbsp followyourheart eggs (1 “egg”) mixed in with 1/2 cup of ICE COLD WATER.
Stir vigorously. Pour onto heated pan. Immediately begin to scramble.
Add Himalayan Pink Salt + Black Pepper to taste.
**SIDE NOTE: vegan egg replacement takes longer than regular eggs to cook. will take around 6-8 minutes**
Tempeh Bacon fried lightly with coconut oil on heated pan.
Acai berries are superfoods full on antioxidants, fiber, and good, natural fats! Pitaya is rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamin C, and protein. Ready to lose some weight, boost your immune system, and give your cells some lovin’? Blend up an acai or pitaya bowl to give your body the energy it needs.
1 packet of frozen pitaya or acai (depending on what bowl you want)
2 frozen, chopped up bananas
4-5 fresh strawberries
1/4 cup water/coconut water
Blend, blend, blend until thick, smooth consistency.
1/4 cup granola
2 tbsp superseeds (chia, flax, sesame, hemp)
FRUIT! chopped up bananas, strawberries, passion fruit, mango, ANYTHING.
Drizzle with agave nectar and enjoy!
Get rid of that dairy cheese! Dairy provides extra, unnecessary hormones and fat. Lactose and dairy-free cheese keeps us safe from acne and weight gain but tastes just as good or even better than normal cheese. There is a plant-based version of everything from butter to cheese.
2 pieces of sprouted Ezekiel bread
2 slices Daiya provolone + cheddar style cheese
1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 avocado (optional) to grill inside sandwich
Grill on pan on medium-high until each side is golden brown and crispy.
BUDDHA BOWL BABY:
Vegans are known to eat a high abundance of fruit and veggies. Buddha bowls make getting those extra servings of vegetables in. The bowls consist of a quinoa or rice base and are topped off with literally any vegetable laying around the house! They’re fulfilling and one of the best lunch options for your body.
1 package frozen quinoa
1 yukon gold potato
1 sweet potato
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup garbanzo beans
+ as much lettuce as you please!
Top with Sriracha, Tahini, or black pepper to taste.
Microwave quinoa as instructed. Preheat oven to 450F and bake chopped up sweet and normal potatoes for 25-30 minutes. Microwave frozen peas for 1 minute. Heat up garbanzo beans over stove until warm. Throw the ingredients together in a bowl and top with sauce, and enjoy!
VEGETABLE + TOFU SPRING ROLLS:
Simple, fresh, and easy Vietnamese spring rolls! An easy way to satisfy your hunger and get those veggies and protein in, veggie and tofu spring rolls are the perfect light, summer dinner.
1 packet Vietnamese rice paper
1 carrot, sliced into strips
Lettuce or kale
1 packet tofu, cut and cooked w/ teriyaki sauce
1/2 cucumber, sliced into strips
Dip rice paper into warm water until soft. Lay onto plate and place vegetable strips in the middle. Lay tofu down last, and begin to wrap the roll as you would a burrito. Dip into a pre-made Thai peanut sauce or drizzle lime juice on top!
Miss Taco Tuesday’s? Vegan tacos are the way to go. With endless fillings such as raw spiced walnut “meat” to soy chorizo to tofu and mushrooms, vegan tacos are fresh and flavor-packed- just like a “real” taco would be. 😉
1 packet corn or flour tortillas
1 packet seasoned soy protein “meat”
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 portobello mushroom
1 red onion
1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
Chop vegetables into long slices. Cook on medium heat with vegan butter to sauté. Heat tortilla on a pan. Warm soy protein “meat” separately. Assemble the taco and top with pico de gallo (or any salsa you prefer, of course).
Vegan eating is an opportunity to expand your cooking horizon and become open-minded to plant-based foods! Give it a try for the summer, and if you enjoy it, it could become a lifestyle. Ready, set, save the world.