Who Needs Meat?

The main challenge when going vegan that most people face is knowing their food options. Whether you choose to go vegan to live a longer and happier life, or because you have an ethical reason to do so, it can be an intimidating lifestyle for a newbie. Knowing how to recreate your favorite foods and learning what the best options are insofar as meat replacements will aid you in keeping with your diet and not straying from the vegan path.

Vegans are like vegetarians in the way that they refrain from eating meat. Vegans take it one step further, however, and refrain from consuming any animal products whatsoever. This includes eggs, other dairy products, and honey. A vegan diet consists of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, legumes and whole grains. For a first-timer, this can be a difficult lifestyle to follow. Most meals include an animal product of some kind. By finding replacements for “bad” ingredients and creating meals that you find delicious, you may discover that you don’t even miss meat, not even for a second.

There are several options available to you when you look to replace the meat part of your meal. The most common replacement is tofu. While it has been labeled as being “bland” or “tasteless,” it is actually designed with the idea that flavor will be added to it, not that it will, or should, add flavor to a dish. Think of tofu as a blank canvas. You have the ability to make it taste like anything you want it to taste like. Tofu is available in different textures, too, so it is incredibly versatile. The firm and extra firm varieties are favorites to use as substitutes for meat in dishes like stir-fry, or you could prepare it to be the main star of the show. The softer forms of tofu are great for adding extra protein to soups or for when you need to add a bit of creaminess to a dish.

Believe it or not, some vegetables can also be swapped out for meat. This is especially important to know if you have an allergy to soy. Eggplant is another popular meat replacement. It has a meaty and rich flavor that can be utilized in recipes such as hearty parmigiana or meatballs. Mushrooms are also a great go-to for their meat-like flavor. Use a mushroom cap for a burger or sauté them up and serve them on a roll for a delicious French Dip, vegan-style.

The most important thing to remember when going vegan is to find a replacement that’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try something new. Once you have a few new recipes under your belt, you’ll forget you ever even ate meat in the past.

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THE BENEFITS OF ALMOND MILK FOR VEGANS

Vegans live lifestyles free of meat and animal products, but that doesn’t mean that they should deny themselves a cup of tea, an ice cream or a bowl of cereal. Almond milk to the rescue! Almond milk is an excellent choice when it comes to looking for a great dairy-free alternative. Besides its delicious and creamy taste, it has a lot of great benefits.

1 IT’S SUPER EASY TO MAKE

All you need is a blender and a strainer and some water. Here is how you do it. First soak about 1 to 1.5 cups of almonds in water. After an hour or so you will find it much easier to peel them. Toss them in a bowl with enough water to cover them by a few inches. Let them soak at room temperature overnight. The next morning when you uncover them you will see how plump they have become. Boil some water and drain the almond water, then transfer them over to your blender. Add about a cup of water that is room-temperature and blend them for a minute. The mixture will come out looking thick. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add two more cups of boiling water, then let them sit for 15 minutes. The last step is to ladle your almond mixture into a fine mesh strainer and extract all of that goodness. So easy and so good!

2 ITS VERSATILE

Almond milk may not taste the exact same as the milk you get from a cow but it sure tastes great…maybe even better! The best part is that you can use it as a dairy substitute in any recipe that calls for milk and it will turn out awesome. You can make ice cream or lattes with it and so much more.

3 IT KEEPS YOUR HEART HEALTHY

Drinking almond milk is good for your heart because there isn’t any cholesterol or saturated fat in it. It is also very low in sodium and high in omega fatty acids while helping to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

4 IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BONES

There is no doubt that cow’s milk has high amount of calcium while almond milk has 30% of the recommended daily amount. It also contains 25% of the recommended amount of Vitamin D. This will reduce the risk of arthritis and other bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

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VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE SPICY CHICKPEA AND CORN BURGERS

INGREDIENTS

You can get a lot of these ingredients from health shops such as www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk

• ⅓ cup millet

• 1½ pounds sweet potatoes 1-2 small deseeded jalapenos

• 1 cup old gluten free oats

• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

• 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained

• ½ small red onion, diced

• 1 -2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

• 2 teaspoons cumin powder

• 1 teaspoon coriander powder

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional, to taste)

• ½ teaspoon salt

• High quality Grapeseed oil for cooking burgers

• Gluten free hamburger buns (optional)

• Your favorite toppings like relish avocado, tomato, lettuce, ketchup or whatever your heart desires.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. BAKE THE POTATOES

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the sweet potatoes into quarters and bake until they start to soften up. It should take about 45 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled down, remove the skin (it should pull off easily) and cut up into smaller pieces. Set aside to cool completely.

2. PREPARE THE MILLET

In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a rolling boil slowly stir in the millet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer while covered until it starts to get tender (about 30 minutes). If there is any liquid left make sure to drain well and let cool. GRIND OATMEAL Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats. They should only be coarsely ground.

3. MIX IT UP In a large bowl combine the cooked sweet potatoes and millet, chickpeas, corn, black beans, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, coriander powder, cayenne powder, paprika, and pink salt. Mix up all the ingredients really well making sure the beans and chickpeas get a good smashing. It might come in handy to just use your hands or a a potato masher

4. Pour the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty. If possible, cover and refrigerate the mixture for best results (the patties will hold together better during cooking if they are chilled first).

5. MAKE THE PATTIES:

6. You can make these patties any size you like. Use your hands to gently roll and flatten the burgers out. Repeat the process for each patty. If you would like to toast your hamburger buns, preheat the oven to 350 degrees now.

7. BARBEQUE OR PANFRY THE BURGERS To pan fry all you need to do is heat 1 tablespoon of any oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook each patty until it turns a nice golden brown color and are heated through. It will take about 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Add more oil when needed.

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The Many Reasons To Go Vegan

There are an abundance of reasons why one might wish to go vegan. After considering all of the compelling arguments in favor of veganism, the question of whether to become a vegan will perhaps be easier to approach. The first and most obvious reason to go vegan is usually for the protection of the animals that otherwise often become the food of human beings.

Consider the fact, first of all, that there are plenty of food options available for humans. Plenty of those options do not necessitate any animal byproduct or component whatsoever. This has not always been the case and there surely is further room for growth but because of the options, it’s not as hard to make what many would see as the right choice for the animals.

The notion of protecting animals may not be the first issue for every person considering veganism but it certainly is a nice afterthought, if nothing else. The ethical consideration for animals is front and center in the debate. There is no disputing that an animal, regardless of its potential as a future food item, will feel pain when harmed or killed. An additional consideration is the fact that in order for humans to enjoy products such as milk and eggs, cows and chicken must become resource-giving slaves to farmers and human bellies.

Maybe you personally have a different ethical viewpoint and can make some exception for killing when it is of a different species from yourself. If that is the case, becoming a vegan might still be an excellent choice for you from a dietary perspective. Aside from organic chicken and cage-free eggs, there are very little animal by-products that are even remotely healthy to eat on a regular basis. Most meat products consumed today are heavily processed and filled with preservatives.

Eating these, regardless of ethics, is not a positive for the chemistry of your body. Consider your own health when considering a vegan alternative lifestyle. What you put into your body can define you in a way.

Eating hamburgers covered in cheese every day will almost definitely have extremely detrimental effects on your body. Moderation may work for some, but if you’re cutting down so much already, why not kick the meat “habit” all together and try a fully ethical way of living that still enriches your health and nourishes your soul.