Tag Archives: vegan

Joaquin Phoenix really cares

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix looks set to break some records as star of the new movie “The Joker”. He has also starred in numerous other movies, including “Her”, “Inherent Vice”, and his highest grossing movie (so far) “Gladiator”.  But in contrast to the character he portrays in his most recent movie, he’s actually a really warm and caring guy, especially for animals. Read more

Leona Lewis has a vegan wedding

Leona Lewis marries

Leona Lewis, a British singer, achieved worldwide fame and success with platinum albums and number 1 singles such as ‘Bleeding Love’ but Leona has said that she would sacrifice it all tomorrow for a global ban on animal testing.

The compassionate singer has been a vegetarian since the age of 12 and, more recently, has transitioned to a vegan lifestyle after learning of the health risks associated with dairy and eggs.

She turned down an £800,000 [$964,564] deal to open the 2008 Harrods sale after discovering that they were the only London department store still selling fur products. In addition to this, she developed her own line of cruelty-free cosmetics with The Body Shop and is an ambassador for Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Essex, England.

The 34-year-old star tied the knot with 30-year-old choreographer Dennis Jauch in Tuscany last month after nine years together. The wedding was held on rock legend Sting’s Italian estate. At the reception, guests were treated to an entirely vegan menu, while the couple’s wedding cake was inspired by a traditional Italian mille-feuille. The multi-tiered cake was the creation of Sicilian dessert stylist and pastry chef Marco Failla, and featured salted dark chocolate cream and Sicilian caramelized almonds. The cake was decorated with berries, fresh flowers and 24k gold leaf.

Leona said the ceremony had a “good energy” around it as they celebrate their special day with 180 of their family and friends.

Vegan Backpacking Recipes

Vegan Backpacking Recipes:

Lentil stew for backpackingLentil Stew (per person – multiply up as needed)

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag, (multiplying for team members as needed)

  • 1/3 cup green lentils (per person)
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • Chili flakes (to taste)

Optional –

  • Pre-chopped fresh carrot, broccoli, cauliflower as desired
  • 1/4 cup dried potato flakes to thicken and add calories as needed
  • 1 pita bread pocket per person

At camp, bring 2-3 cups water (depending on how many servings) to boil.  Add lentil mixture and boil until lentils are soft (20 mins), adding any extra veg after 10 mins.  Pour into bowls or eat from the pot, with pita bread on side.

Cashew Curry recipe

Makes enough for 4 meals – 2 people evening meal and lunch the next day!

Put the following ingredients into a ziplock bag:

  • 1½ cups quinoa (or couscous)
  • 2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • ¼ cup dried onion flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 vegetable low sodium bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Put 1 cup raw cashew halves into a separate ziplock bag.

At camp, bring 3 cups water to the boil in a pot.  Add the quinoa mixture.  Let it simmer until quinoa is cooked.  Boil off any excess water, stirring to prevent burning.  Stir in cashews.  Enjoy!

This can be eaten cold for lunch the next day, so bring a suitable container to store it in.

 

20190808_104954Warming Breakfast recipe

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock bag:

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed, dry toasted)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup dried blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and/or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried soymilk or coconut milk powder
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts or pecans (dry toasted)

At camp, bring 2 cups water to boil.  Add quinoa mixture.  Simmer until quinoa is cooked.  Serve quinoa in a bowl, topped with nuts.  Milk powder can be included with quinoa mixture, or rehydrated separately and poured over the cooked quinoa.

This recipe would also work with oats, but oatmeal might make it a little harder to clean the pot afterwards!

Backpacking while vegan

Amanda and Doug backpacking - low res

I recently spent a weekend backpacking in the Mount Baker area. Backpacking differs from camping in that you have to carry everything you need for several miles, so you need to make sure your food is as lightweight as possible, doesn’t need refrigeration and is still reasonably balanced, nutritious and provides adequate calories for the exertion of hiking. I took some time planning the meals for our 2 night, 3 day trip.

We carried enough water for the first day, but relied on water from streams and lakes, suitably filtered and/or sterilized, for drinking and cooking the rest of the time. Some members of our group used a steri-pen which uses ultraviolet light to sterilize their water. We used a Platypus filtration unit that could finely filter 4 liters of water at a time, so there was no need to sterilize. It was good to have a selection of methods, since we found we had to trek quite a way from our campsite to find a good water source.

The range of commercial vegan foods suitable for backpacking is increasing rapidly.  Did you know that you can now select from 29 different packets of freeze-dried vegan meals at REI.com? Trader Joe’s has a great selection of freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and raspberries, great for adding lightweight nutrition to your morning cereal, and even dried okra, a crunchy and nutritious snack.

However, I prefer to make most of my meals from scratch, even if it takes a little longer to prepare and to cook at the campsite, so I based my meals on what I had in the kitchen. I did order a container of dried soy milk powder which was useful to have with our breakfast cereal and in morning coffee.

To avoid refrigeration, it’s best to take grains you can quickly cook on a campstove. If you’re trying a new combination, I’d recommend that you experiment at home first, so that you get the flavoring mix right.

Grains that are quick and easy to cook:

  • Quinoa,
  • Couscous
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Quickcook rice (eg Uncle Ben’s boil-in-bag, )
  • Oatmeal (great for breakfast, but a bit of a hassle to clean the pot after!)
  • Pita pockets (to eat with a stew)
  • Dried potato flakes (not a grain, but a good source of extra calories to thicken a stew)

Protein sources:

  • Lentils (red lentils cook to a mush, green hold their shape) – 20 mins cook time
  • TVP – textured vegetable protein (meat-like consistency) – soak for 5 mins to rehydrate
  • Cashews, hazelnuts, pecan nuts

Here’s what I chose to take with us:

Breakfasts:

  • Morning 1: Quinoa with cinnamon, hazelnuts and dried blueberries – see recipe.
  • Morning 2: Oats with coconut and raisins, dried blueberries and raspberries, plus soy milk made from powder.
  • Tea or instant coffee

Backpacking lunch - low resLunch (we used leftover curried quinoa for one lunch): 

  • WASA rye crackers
  • Lilly’s shelf-stable hummus.
  • Primal Jerky strips
  • Go Macro bars
  • Dried mango

Mid-afternoon snack: Clif bar

Dinners:

  • Evening 1: Lentil stew with potatoes and carrots – see recipe
  • Evening 2: Curried Quinoa with cashews – see recipe
  • Chocolate and ginger biscotti, made by my friend Jan!
  • Tea

Additional snacks for emergencies:

  • Munkpack Flavored Oatmeal
  • Trail mix
  • Clif bars

The food worked out well. I carried a few additional snacks that fortunately weren’t needed, since it’s always advisable to have some additional food with you, just in case you get delayed and have to spend an extra day out in the wild.

The weather was very mixed, and we were glad to share a tarpaulin erected between trees to cook out of the rain, but all in all, our trip was a big success and we had some fabulous views when the clouds lifted!

 

 

Subway launches vegan option

Subway Beyond Meatball sandwich

Subway has become the latest fast-food chain to jump on the plant-based protein bandwagon by releasing a new meatless meatball sub.  Subway has announced that it will test a sub with plant-based meat, vegan, the Beyond Meatball Marinara, in 685 North American restaurants this September.

“Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavors,” said Len Van Popering, Subway chief brand and innovation officer, in a statement. “With our new plant-based Beyond Meatball Marinara sub, we are giving them the best of both worlds.”

The sandwich will feature marinara sauce and provolone cheese on meatballs. Hold the Provolone and choose 9 grain or Italian bread to keep it vegan. This option will be an alternative to their vegetarian patty, which has long been available, but includes a little egg. There’s no mention of whether or not the Beyond Meat-based sub will carry a premium over its regular counterparts.

Plant-based and vegan fast-food options keep sprouting up. There’s quite the competition between Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger to get their products into as many restaurants as possible.  This latest news about Subway follows the launch of the Impossible Whopper at Burger King and other locations. Look out for more meat-free products coming soon to restaurants near you!

 

Alex Morgan, soccer champ’s, advantage!

Alex Morgan soccer starYou’ve probably heard by now that last week, the Women’s US Soccer team blasted their way to a 4th world championship with a 13-0 win over Thailand.  While skill and a rigorous training schedule, plus a lot of determination, have a lot to do with it, Alex Morgan, co-captain of the team, has another advantage – she’s vegan!

In a recent interview with Time, Morgan revealed that switching to a vegan diet has been key to her success on the field. She first adopted a vegan diet, “because it didn’t feel fair to have a dog I adore, and yet eat meat all the time,” she told Reuters. She soon discovered that eating a plant-based diet improved her energy during practice and games. On World Vegan Day, she announced on Twitter that she’d never felt better after eating vegan for a year.

Morgan joins many other athletes in discovering the vegan advantage.  In sports as wide ranging as football, basketball, tennis and weight lifting, several top sports stars freely acknowledge the advantage that going vegan has given them.  See our article on strength and endurance for more examples.

How to switch to a plant-based diet

Untitled-1When I’m giving cooking classes, people often ask me what steps they should take to eliminate animal products, so here are some tips to help you get started.  You can choose your own pace of change – you can start with just one meal or you can jump right in. I encourage you to be willing to experiment and learn as you go. Enjoy the adventure!

Some initial steps to take to cut back on meat and fish:

  • Acquire a vegan cookbook, or find a website with interesting vegan recipes – vegetariantimes.com is a good place to start.
  • Find some new vegan recipes that sound appealing, and buy the ingredients.
  • Try replacing meat and fish with a plant-based alternative in some of your regular meals.
  • Look for vegan options on the menu at your favorite restaurant and try one next time you go.
  • Try a new restaurant – ethnic restaurants such as Mexican, Thai or Indian usually have plenty of good options to choose from.

Once you have a selection of about 10 delicious vegan meals you enjoy, you can rotate through them on a regular basis for the majority of your meals, adding new meals from time to time to increase the variety.

Plant Based foodsSteps to reduce other animal products in your diet:

  • Find one or more plant-based milks that you like and replace dairy milk with them.
  • Try some of the many plant-based yogurts and cheeses, and find some favorite brands.
  • If you’re a coffee drinker, find a non-dairy creamer that you like.
  • If you like eggs for breakfast, try a tofu scramble instead.
  • Explore the “natural” section of your regular grocery store if it has one, or explore a new grocery store near you that has a good selection of natural foods.
  • Check the ingredients of the packaged foods you commonly buy, and start to seek out vegan alternatives.

Speed of transition – How quickly to make the transition is really up to you.  If you’re ready to make the change right away, you can change your diet in just a few weeks. If you have a health concern you’re hoping to alleviate, remember that while a plant-based diet is helpful for several diseases it could take a few months to see significant results.  If you’re changing out of caring about the animals, you start saving them from the first bite.

On the other hand, if you feel like it’s the right thing to do, but you want to proceed at your own pace and just do the best you can, you could try one new meal or ingredient each week and assess how it goes over a year or so.

Consider other family members – If you have other family members to consider when making meals, you may want to have a family meeting to explain your wishes, and ask for their help in making your transition.  Get them on your team! It will be a lot easier for you if the refrigerator and the pantry are only stocked with healthy vegan foods for you to enjoy. If, however, others sharing your kitchen are not open to change, you’ll need to work out a plan based on who’s doing the shopping, who’s doing the cooking, and how much storage space you have available.  Offering to cook for others is a great way to introduce them to new recipes.

Amanda cooking feature 1.1

Amanda gives a cooking class

Learn to cook – It’s fun, healthier and more affordable than the alternatives. Using frozen precut vegetables and fruit, and jars of sauces for flavoring can save time and effort. If you’re not used to doing the cooking, consider choosing some individual frozen vegan meals you can easily microwave to get you started. 

Whatever path you choose is up to you. Don’t feel pressured by others to go slower or faster than you can handle. Vegetarians of Washington is here to help. You may find some of our books helpful in making the change. Say No to Meat answers many questions about why and how to make the transition. In Pursuit of Great Food – A plant-based shopping guide is handy to plan what to buy and choose the best brands and freshest foods. The Veg-Feasting Cookbook provides lots of recipes for every possible meal. If you’re based in the Seattle area, come to our monthly dining events and classes to get ideas and support for your transition, and don’t miss our annual Vegfest.

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