A new vegan egg is hatching, this one coming out of France. And, it will absolutely make us sit up and want to make some omelets. The advancement comes from two French entrepreneurs who are incubating a revolutionary vegan alternative to eggs that look and cook so real we won’t ever miss the real thing again. Their product is called Les Merveillœufs, which is a play on the French word, “merveilleux” meaning marvellous and “œufs,” French for eggs. It helps that these two founders are biologists at Paris’ Ecole de Biologie Industrielle. Read more
Spike Mendelsohn, a celebrity chef who’s an alum of the popular series Top Chef, is going vegan for Veganuary and urges everyone to do the same. He’s been promoting vegan diets for over a year, through his vegan fast-food chain, PLNT Burger, which he started in 2019 in Silver Spring, MD. He has now expanded to 7 locations inside Whole Foods Markets and in 2021, he plans to open several stand-alone restaurants. His menu features Beyond Burgers topped with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese , mushroom bacon and guacamole.
He talked about the popular Veganuary campaign, saying “Veganuary is the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to move towards a healthier diet or reduce their carbon footprint to enjoy more amazing plant-based food this year. I’m joining my vegan wife Cody and millions of others around the world this month to show people how delicious, easy and fun a vegan diet can be.”
“Veganuary is here to encourage and support anyone who wants to try vegan,” Veganuary’s US Director Wendy Matthews said. “We are grateful to work with restaurants like PLNT Burger who make our mission significantly easier for the growing number of conscious consumers in the US by offering delicious, satisfying, sustainable options.”
Vegetarians of Washington is proud to sponsor the first-ever Hip Hop is Green Health & Wellness eXpo, happening at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion on Friday March 6th. There will be three sessions; the first two will be for Seattle area school students and families. The general public is welcome to the third session from 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
The event will feature healthy plant-based cooking demos by local and national chefs, food sampling by local restaurants and brands, free health screenings, speakers, Hip Hop performers, a women’s plant-based fitness showcase, and Trap Vinyasa ™ yoga fitness class. Read more
Vegan Eggs are here! Thanks to our friends at Follow Your Heart, we can finally make a dent in the 43.56 billion (yes, that was billion not million) eggs produced in the United States last year. Finally, we can have egg free omelets, quiches and good old stick-to-the-ribs scrambled eggs. They’re called VeganEgg and they’re taking the veg food market by storm.
These cholesterol free and compassionate lovelies are also touted as being sustainable “eggs”. The company reports that replacing just one year’s worth of American’s egg consumption is worth 48 billion driving miles worth of greenhouse gas emissions. Even the production of just one regular egg costs 52 gallons of water, when you factor in the irrigation for feed as well as the direct chicken and egg requirements. On an national level that comes out to 4.6 trillion gallons of water (yes, that was trillion with a t). The company making the VeganEgg is very environmentally minded. All their manufacturing energy needs are powered by state-of-the-art solar energy.
Eggs pack a lot of cholesterol. While the extra cholesterol in eggs only adds a little to the blood levels of the average American whose diet is already overwhelmed with cholesterol from animal products, it really shoots up the cholesterol levels for those following an otherwise healthy diet, and increases the amount of “bad” cholesterol relative to the “good.” Egg production is also really tough on chickens, that are usually packed into cages so tight they can’t turn around, and of course they all end up in the slaughterhouse.
Just as importantly for all those with an appetite, we’re happy to report that eyes roll when people taste ‘em. For all you omelet lovers, we have a delicious Italian Omelet recipe courtesy of Follow You Heart below.
VeganEgg is currently available at 6 locations in Washington state, and online. Please visit http://followyourheart.com/buyveganegg/ for a list of locations. More locations are expected very soon.
1/4 cup Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, shredded (we used Garden Herb)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk or blend VeganEgg™ with ice cold water until smooth. Let sit for 1 minute.
Melt vegan butter in a pre-heated medium-sized skillet set to medium-high heat. Pour mixture into skillet (“egg” should sizzle in pan), and gently pull “egg” mixture toward the center with spatula so that uncooked “eggs” can reach the hot pan surface. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then add “cheese”, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to one side of omelet (the half farthest from you will make folding easier later on).
When omelet starts to dry around the sides, use spatula to gently scrape and loosen omelet edges from skillet. You can carefully peek under with the spatula to see if browning has starrted, and reduce heat if necessary. When surface of omelet looks dry and underneath is golden brown, carefully flip empty side of omelet onto the “cheese”, basil and tomatoes side. This takes practice, but consider yourself an omelet master if you can do it in one go.
For those following a vegan diet, dairy and egg alternatives are always welcome. Producers are experiencing an increased demand as more and more people seek plant-based products to buy, and they are responding by coming up with an ever wider variety of products. According to recent estimates, by 2020 the market for non-dairy products is expected to hit $20 billion. A record number of plant-based products are now available for sale in Washington’s grocery stores and supermarkets, and many more are in the pipeline. Here’s a sneak peak at what some producers are bringing to the marketplace.
While most people know them for their popular non-dairy cheese products, Daiya has been innovating some new products lately. For instance, the brand recently launched a line of especially well-reviewed dairy-free cheezecakes, three flavors of cheezy mac, and now, an array of Greek style yogurts. The non-dairy yogurt comes in four flavors, blueberry, peach, strawberry and black cherry, and each serving offers eight grams of protein. The company also offers a line of cream cheese style spreads, multiple varieties of vegan cheeses (both shredded, sliced and in blocks) and six pizzas (one of which uses the popular meat substitute, Beyond Meat, as a topping). Read more
Genesis Juice is one of over 500 different kinds of food to try
We all love to eat. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the foods we love to eat could love us back by making us healthier? That’s what plant-based (or vegetarian) foods can do. In fact, not only does eating plant-based foods make us healthier, it also protects the environment and saves our animal friends. What’s even better is that they taste so delicious. A wonderful opportunity to find out just how delicious plant-based foods can taste is at Seattle’s Vegfest, the largest vegetarian food festival in the country, coming up on April 1 & 2, at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on Mercer Street.
Don’t eat breakfast before you come to Vegfest. There’s so much good food to sample!
Vegetarian foods, based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, come in all shapes and sizes these days and Vegfest has over 500 different kinds of foods to try. With the plant-based food market growing rapidly, this year’s Vegfest includes many new food products to sample. Some of the ones that caught my eye are chocolate covered quinoa, an almond mousse from Almetta, and a new dairy-free ice cream from NadaMoo. Exciting new food items from Lightlife Foods and Field Roast are also rumored to be debuting at Seattle’s Vegfest for the first time. Try the new egg-free eggs by Follow Your Heart. And for those who like the exotic, why not give Health-Ade Kombucha mushroom beverage a try? And of course, what would Vegfest be without the delicious flavors of Indian Life Foods or the Oriental delights of Sensei Sauce.
Chef Miyoko Schinner will be speaking at 12:55pm on Saturday
Throughout the weekend, cutting-edge chefs and cookbook authors from around the country will be demonstrating just how easy it is to make your own gourmet vegetarian dishes at home, and doctors – specialists such as urologists, internists, and even an OB/GYN – will be talking about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. More doctors than ever before will also be on hand to provide health checks, with free blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose tests, bone scans and ultrasound artery scans, giving people the opportunity to discover just how much a vegetarian diet can help improve their health. A huge selection of cookbooks are available at the Vegfest bookstore, and the kids will enjoy the clown duo, Zero and Somebuddy with their skits on healthy eating.
The food scene in our region is changing fast. Vegfest will feature several vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants with samples of their extra special treats. Many restaurants, looking to cater to more veg-interested customers in the Puget Sound area, are happy to provide coupons for a free meal to people who join Vegetarians of Washington at Vegfest.
This year, Vegfest is on Saturday and Sunday, April 1st and 2nd, at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on Mercer Street. Admission is only $9 and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at the door. See Vegfest for more information.
What do you do after a heart attack? Cardiac rehabilitation is the recommended treatment, and the good news is that following a plant-based diet during rehab leads to a better outcome.
OK, so what is cardiac rehab? Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed with the goal of halting or reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease and improving outcomes. It can be an essential component of care for patients with coronary artery disease. Several studies have shown that participation in CR after a heart attack, getting a stent, or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, significantly reduces the disease, risk of dying, and hospital readmission rates in a cost‐effective manner.
So how does a veg diet help? Studies show that people treated with a plant-based diet showed significantly better improvements in weight management, blood pressure management, cholesterol management and diabetes management than those on a standard American diet. They also reduced their emotional stress and experienced better quality of life. Depression can commonly follow a heart attack. 80% of people who followed a plant-based diet as part of their rehab showed a reduction in their depression.
In this age of tight budgets, it’s important to know that one study showed that for every dollar spent on rehab with a plant-based diet, $5.55 in medical expenses were saved.
October is National Vegetarian Month so we thought this might be a good time to talk about how you, or perhaps a close friend or relative, could actually become a vegetarian (I’m using vegetarian in the broadest sense of the word, including total vegetarian or vegan). What does it take? Of course, it’s different for each person, but there are three ingredients which are common to almost everyone, and those are caring, courage and a little practical knowledge.
Many people tell us, it’s all very well for you, but I just don’t know how to get started. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to explain what we see as the essential ingredients to becoming vegetarian. Let’s start at the beginning.
First of all, you have to care deeply enough about one or more of what we call the legs of the vegetarian table, and those legs are health, animals, global hunger, the environment and whatever spirit practice you may have.
Many people care, and some are even worried, about their health. They learn about the many health benefits of a vegetarian diet: the reduction in the risk or severity of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, several kinds of cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and many more. The list of diseases that a vegetarian diet helps to prevent, or even treat, is long. If people decide that they really want to live a longer and healthier life, once they know the facts about how their diet impacts their health, they are often prepared to change their eating habits to help achieve that goal.
Others care passionately about the animals. When they learn about the reality of the harsh conditions that animals endure on factory farms, how they are regarded as nothing more than objects to be manufactured into food, they decide that they want no part of it. They don’t want their food choices to cause an animal any hardship, and they certainly don’t want them to wind up in a slaughterhouse, and so they decide to go vegetarian as a way of saving the animals.
Some people learn that it’s the world’s growing appetite for meat that is one of the largest driving forces behind most of the food shortages and the record levels of global hunger. This is because farm animals are really food factories in reverse, returning only a small percentage of the nutrients we feed them, to us in the form of meat. They don’t want their meat-centered meals to contribute to the worldwide crisis of starvation and malnutrition that’s occurring in many parts of the world, and so they decide to switch over to a vegetarian diet, thus leaving so much more food potentially available for others.
Others care about sustaining the environment and they learn about the latest studies documenting how raising livestock is either the main, or a leading cause, of almost every major kind of environmental damage. They learn that raising meat causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships in the world put together, and so they decide to follow a greener and more eco-friendly vegetarian diet.
And last, but by no means least, many people find that choosing a vegetarian diet enhances their spiritual life. They gain increased spiritual or religious fulfillment with having a clear and informed approach to making their food choices.
Once you know enough about the impact of a vegetarian diet, and you care enough about one or more of these factors, you then have to find the courage to make the change. It takes courage to leave the safe and familiar ground of the status quo, and to change the habits of a lifetime. It takes courage to decide to eat differently from the people around you. It takes courage to raise the issue with family and friends, and explain why you want to change your diet, and it even takes courage to try new foods, new recipes, and new restaurants. Courage is the ingredient which many people don’t realize they need, but if you can identify the fears that are holding you back, a bit of courage makes a huge difference in changing your diet.
The third ingredient to successfully making the change is a bit of knowledge. You need to learn about the basics of nutrition. You need to learn about the new essential food groups – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and how you can get all the nutrients you need, including protein, from these food groups. You need to learn about different ingredients and products – how to cook with tofu, tempeh or quinoa for example as well as convenience products such as veggie burgers and veg-dogs. You need to find new recipes to make at home, and new restaurants where you can eat out, or at least new menu options at your favorite restaurants, before you’ll feel comfortable to start eating as a vegetarian.
Here at Vegetarians of Washington, we try to help you in all of these areas. We give you the information you need and the encouragement that’ll help you to give vegetarian food a try. We act as helpers and supporters, because we know that people are looking for help and not a hard time when it comes to making changes. Our books give you an introduction to all of the facts about the legs of the vegetarian table, how to shop for healthy vegetarian food, and how to deal with family issues. And our cooking classes give you the basics of cooking some new ingredients, which you may not be familiar with. Our dinners (when there is no pandemic) enable you to taste a wide variety of delicious vegetarian meals, so that you know you won’t feel deprived. Vegfest, our annual vegetarian food festival (now scheduled for May 14 and 15, 2022), gives you the opportunity to taste from hundreds of different kinds of foods, and learn so much more. And finally our newsletter helps remind you of why you decided to go vegetarian, and gives you support and advice as you change your diet and move on with your life.
So if you’re sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether to make some changes to your diet, decide which aspect or combination you care about the most – your health, the animals, the environment, feeding the hungry or spiritual enhancement. Learn more about it. Then pluck up your courage, grasp the opportunities we provide, get the information you need to get started, and jump right in. Remember though that you don’t have to do it all at once. Find a few delicious dishes to replace your old favorites, take it step by step, and before you know it, you’ll realize that you’re pretty much a vegetarian already. We’re here to give you a helping hand at any time.
For those who have already become vegetarian, perhaps long ago, just think back to before you were a vegetarian, and remember how you felt. Why not reach out to someone who expresses an interest and offer to give them a helping hand. Share your favorite recipes, invite them to one of our dinners, let them know that you too were once in their shoes, and that while you’ll respect their need to proceed at their own pace, you’ll be there for them if they have any questions or need any extra help. We think that you’ll find helping others a very gratifying experience.
As more people become vegetarian, it gets easier for all of us. There are more and more healthy vegetarian products available in the stores, more and more restaurants offering tasty vegetarian options, and more family and friends who are open to the idea and willing to support you in your decision. And of course, you’ll be helping to improve your health, save the animals, help the hungry, heal the environment and nourish your spirit. We thank you all for caring, being willing to learn and having the courage to change your diet and to help others to do the same.
There is plenty of misinformation and myths that cause needless confusion about vegetarian diets, as people try to justify their meat-eating habits. For some people it’s only myths that keep them from the health benefits, environmental advantages and the compassion of a vegetarian diet. So, let’s do some myth busting!
Myth 1 – It’s unnatural to follow a plant-based diet.
We evolved as plant-eating beings. Meat eating is comparatively recent in human history. Our bodies have inherited 35 million years of plant-eating primate evolution. We only started eating meat out of desperation when living in colder climates, where there was insufficient plant-based food to get through the winter.
While the way we get our food has changed in recent years, our bodies remain the same. These days, the grocery stores are full of plenty of options and we no longer need to choose between eating meat and starvation. While we can get away with eating small quantities of meat, when we eat large quantities of meat over many years, our health suffers.
Don’t fall for the latest low-carb diet fad, the keto diet. We told you not to fall for it back when the Atkins diet was all the rage, and we’re telling you the same thing now. An excessively low-carbohydrate diet which focuses on consuming more protein (Atkins) or fat (Keto), and cuts out important plant-based foods such as whole grains, beans, fruit and root vegetables, has not been shown to be healthy and could have some very dangerous side effects. On the other hand, a whole food plant-based diet has been shown to be healthy over the whole lifespan, to prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases, and to be very effective at causing weight loss, resulting in just as much weight loss as the keto diet. Why take chances? Read more