Sunday, December 19, 2010

OMG a Vegan’s coming to Dinner!

When my husband at the time came home after a 3-week work vacation, he told me he was going back to eating vegan. (He had been vegan 2 years in collage.)  Instantly I was frozen with the thought “how am I going to cook for us? What are we going to eat?”  For the next few days everything he cooked was amazing but I was still starving! Not because we were not eating enough, but because the word “vegan” created a huge block in my mind.

Let me clear one thing up off the bat:  Just because he was eating vegan didn’t mean he wanted me to eat vegan as well. However, in our home I respect his philosophy. I love cooking and eating together, it’s the greatest moments of our days. So in our home I cook vegan.

So he tells me he is eating vegan and I am freaking out and constantly hungry.
“Well, what are you hungry for?” Gabriel asked.
“Pasta!” I said with excitement.
“We can eat pasta. What else?’ he replied.
“A sandwich.”
“ We can eat a sandwich. What else?”

I thought about this for a minute. Then he replied, “We can eat anything we want. I am choosing not to eat anything that comes from an animal. Most pastas and breads don’t have eggs, milk or butter…”

At that, I got a clear picture of what vegan meant: No Animal Products. That makes sense to me. We had already been eating mostly vegetarian and I am lactose intolerant so I hadn’t been eating dairy. Pretty much I had been eating vegan for a while without even knowing it. Now that it is a conscious decision, we are making the BEST FOOD: vegan chocolate mouse, amazing pastas and sandwiches, chili rellenos, stuffed cabbage, vegan sushi, vegan wraps. All these tasty treats have been shared with friends at potlucks and gatherings (sometimes we don’t even tell them it’s vegan until the end of the night.) They are always amazed with how tasty everything is, in fact most of the time they like it better than the non-vegan dishes.  Plus I have lost 8 pounds not even tying and pigging out on chocolate, mouse, avocados, coconut products, pizza and so much more!

So if you have a vegan coming to dinner don’t freak out. Here are a few tips to guide you to creating healthy and tasty vegan dishes.

If you use: NON-VEGAN
Use this instead: VEGAN
Vegenaise or other eggless mayonnaise
Daiya is tapioca based: it melts and is super yummy
Chicken/ Beef Broth
Buy Veggie Broth or Make your own Veggie Broth: Simmer veggies in water. Add salt pepper and olive oil. Stain the vegetables out and wha la you have veggie broth. (You can also add a dash of soy sauce or Braggs)
Non Dairy Spread: I like “Earth Balance Natural Spread”
Soy, Almond, Oat, or my favorite Coconut Milk
Hot Dogs
Vegan / Meatless Hot Dogs
Chili or Beans in a can
Vegetarian Chili or Vegetarian Beans in a can
Dark Chocolate
Scrambled Eggs
This one you’ll need to practice a few times to get it right: Tofu, turmeric for color, onions, salt and pepper, mushrooms, tomato, cumin, garlic, jalapeno, oil.
Baked goods that request eggs
egg replacer or chia seeds or apple sauce
chia seeds: 3 Tablespoons warm water
+ 1 teaspoon ground chia seed meal
= to 1 egg.

Anything else
Start looking at the labels on the packages. If it has eggs or milk it is not vegan.
* Some popular vegetarian items like Morning Star sausages, garden burgers, or some veggie hot dogs may contain cheese and/or eggs.

Are you tying to lose weight?
Cut out soda and dairy for 2 months and see what happens.

Please send me your feedback: Was this helpful? What is it missing?

Here is some useful info from various sources:

What about the protein? (from  - is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. In reality, we need small amounts of protein. Only one calorie out of every ten we take in needs to come from protein.
The RDA recommends that we take in about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.  This recommendation includes a generous safety factor for most people. When we make a few adjustments to account for some plant proteins being digested somewhat differently from animal proteins and for the amino acid mix in some plant proteins, we arrive at a level of 0.45 grams of protein per pound that we weigh. If we look at what vegans are eating, we find that between 10-12% of calories come from protein. This contrasts with the protein intake of non-vegetarians, which is close to 14-18% of calories.
Remember, though, with protein, more (than the RDA) is not necessarily better. There do not appear to be health advantages to consuming a high protein diet. Diets that are high in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease. 

Quinoa is a great source of protein: (from Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe. It looks and tastes great on its own, or in any dish from soup to salad. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein. 

Quinoa's protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal ... similar to milk! 

Quinoa's protein is  high in lysine, methionine and cystine. This makes it an excellent food to  combine with, and boost the protein value of, other grains (which are low in lysine), or soy (which is low in methionine and cystine). 

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