Let’s talk some more about veganism!
Eating vegan was a challenge for me. In a cruel twist of fate, my experiment in vegan food started the same day that my 97lbs of ethically-sourced local beef was ready at the butchers. Suffice it to say, I had plenty of temptation to go off-track. This made it easier to understand how important planning is when you choose to follow a vegan diet.
Finding vegan recipes was far easier than I thought – there a so many good resources out there (Oh She Glows, Yummly). The big hurdle for me was balancing the time that vegan cooking can take against my desire not to eat processed foods. I found that during my time as a vegan, I ate a significantly greater amount of prepared food. I think this was for a couple of reasons – vegan proteins can take longer to prepare (at least for me, being a newb), and vegan cooking (or any cooking, really) can be intimidating when you’re just learning. For example, making eggs just means cracking eggs into a pan, scrambling for a couple of minutes, seasoning and serving. Making a tofu scramble (which is super delicious) takes a little longer since (at least in the recipes I found) you have to press and drain the tofu first, then prepare it. Prepared food, while speedy, can come with some not-so-great ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oils and added sugars.
I was pretty certain that I’d be able to get enough protein from legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, but had a concern about Omega-3s. Ususally, I take fish oil every day, and eat a lot of fish. With my new vegan diet being somewhat higher in Omega-6 from the use of vegetable oil, I needed to be sure to eat lots of leafy greens, flax and nuts to balance my fats. Since I was only trying this out for a couple of weeks, I didn’t invest in a vegan Omega-3 supplement (like flax or algae), but it might be something that a for-real vegan would want to look into.
Finally since I’m not, at my core, an ethical vegan, I found it quite challenging mentally to swap out my proteins. I really missed eating meat and felt less energetic during my time as a vegan (I’m pretty sure that it was a psychological response rather than a physical one though, since I was careful to keep eating lots of protein). If you choose to be vegan for ethical, health, or social justice reasons – I’m sure you have far more motivation than someone who’s doing it to write a blog post :)
All in all, being a vegan is tough and time-consuming, but can have significant benefits if you want to be more in touch with what you eat and don’t want to contribute to our screwed-up factory farming system. So, if you’re keen to eat vegan, make sure that you have the time to do so. To be well-balanced nutritionally, you’ll need to do a lot more meal-planning and prep, and make things from scratch. Those habits are fantastic for your health and (often) for your relationship with food, but they are an ongoing commitment that you need to be ready for.
I had a couple of favourite vegan meals:
First up, Tofu Scramble, from Minimalist Baker
Ingredients: 8oz firm tofu, EVOO, 1/4 onion, 1/2 red pepper, 2c kale or spinach, coarse salt and pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, turmeric
Pat and dry the tofu, then press and drain it – here’s a handy guide. While the tofu is draining, cut your veggies and warm up the olive oil. Mix the spices with some water, making a sauce that you can eventually pour over the dish. Sauté veggies on medium heat for about 5 minutes, add your leafy green with some salt and pepper and let it steam for a couple of minutes. Unwrap your tofu, crumble it. Move the veggies to one side of the pan, and add the tofu – sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce (mostly to the tofu) and then stir everything together, cook for another 5ish minutes until the tofu has browned. You can add salsa or hot sauce, and serve with anything that isn’t meat or dairy.
Ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, 1c diced onions, 1/2c chopped zucchini and/or carrot, diced red or green pepper, spinach, 1 can beans (black, mixed, chickpeas – whatever), 1 can diced tomato, EVOO, 1c water, coarse salt and pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, other spices to taste
To be honest, I didn’t cook this, Mr. NoFair did. And it was awesome. But it took 3 hours (plus prep) to make. So plan this meal way in advance. Grease your slow cooker with EVOO, and put the sweet potatoes in the bottom. Add all your other ingredients, cook on high for 20 minutes, then switch the slow cooker to the low setting and let it mellow for about 3 hours (or until the sweet potatoes are soft).
And what is Kristy Skelton’s favourite vegan recipe?
“Burritos and tacos! No specific recipe, but I make some mean spicy black beans for the base and can’t live without avocado. “
Are you a vegan? Do you have a favourite recipe to share? Let us know!