Vegetables, fruits, vitamins, protein, grains, and lentils….
Tofu, Seitan, Soymilk, nut butter, and GREEN SMOOTHIES????……
Where do you start? What does it all mean? I am going to give some brief foundational answers to some of these items as well as their uses. Bear in mind that there are so many different ways to utilize the various products and items that I will be defining. The key thing to remember is to have fun with your selections. Being a vegetarian/vegan does not mean that you have no options in your eating and living. It is quite the contrary, I have never had such a variety of foods to choose from as I do today. Maybe it was my one view mindset by being an omnivore that stunted my taste buds from experiencing such tantalizing, and wildly imaginative creations in the form of vegetarian /vegan cuisine. Well, I finally let loose and I won’t go back….I tell you I won’t!! And neither will you! YES WE CAN (I learned that from President Elect, Barack Obama last night) move forward to an amazing life experience! So, today I am going to share with you the definition of some terms that can help you to understand exactly what it is to be a vegetarian/vegan and what it is that we put into our temple (our body).
Fruits and Vegetables
I think fruits and vegetables go without explanation but I do want to mention some things about these very powerful foundations in the vegetarian/vegan diet. This is very important to know, sticking to eating these items at EVERY meal is a central key component to the lifestyle. I know that you may have seen people who state that they no longer eat meat, eggs, or dairy products but load up on junk food as a staple. While yes, you no longer eat meat you are not helping your body to achieve its maximum health benefits. Make sure that you are getting your nutrients appropriately not by just eating loads of dark chocolate (carob) and vegan caramel covered sticky buns. Hey, if that is not a snack already, I take ownership rights! LOL!!!
Okay, Okay….I thought I would tackle this one because there has been so much of a debate on how a vegetarian/vegan gets their protein. I actually was one of them until I did my research. I can not believe that in this age of technology and forward thinking that we are STILL having this conversation, but, I will go ahead and state yet again that there is no need to worry about getting your protein while eating healthy. There are plenty of protein in green leafy vegetables as well as you have the ability to take supplements if you are not eating enough. You would be surprised at what the person eating the standard American diet is lacking in its dietary needs. That is also why there are many dietary supplements available, to make sure that you are getting what you need.
OOOOHHHH, I love smoothies. I mean REALLY love smoothies but when I first started looking at various blogs and forums on being a vegetarian/vegan I started seeing postings about something called “green smoothies”. What was that??? I didn’t understand! I then, after doing some additional reading was privileged to find out that it meant smoothies with green veggies in it. Now be honest, you were a little lost yourself until I told you, right? They are delicious however and I can’t get enough of them. Here is one of my favorites:
My favorite GREEN smoothie
¼ cup of Soy milk
½ cup of Orange juice
3 Mogdool dates
Half an apple
Half of a medium banana
½ to 1 cup of spinach
I also add a few cubes of ice to make it a little colder
Just try this recipe (if you have never tried a green smoothie before and even if you have), and I assure you that you will enjoy it. Just think of all the nourishment that your body will receive from this incredible smoothie. I encourage you to go out and create your own green smoothies. You can add any type of fruits and vegetables to them. Let me know some of your favorite green smoothies. I would like to try some new ones.
Seitan is wheat gluten, also called wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten. It is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as a gummy mass, which is subject to further processing after that. It is an alternative to soy based meat products and is used and can be used as a meat substitute in many dishes. It has a stringy and chewy texture and is very good to work with a variety of seasonings. Seitan Turkey for thanksgiving here I come!!!
Tofu, also known as soybean curd, is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling fresh hot soymilk with a coagulant. Traditionally, the curdling agent used to make tofu is nigari, a compound found in natural ocean water, or calcium sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral. Curds also can be produced by acidic foods like lemon juice or vinegar. The curds then are generally pressed into a solid block. In recipes, tofu acts like a sponge and has the miraculous ability to soak up any flavor that is added to it.
Three main types of tofu are available in American grocery stores. Firm tofu is dense and solid and holds up well in stir fry dishes, soups, or on the grill. anywhere that you want the tofu to maintain its shape. Firm tofu also is higher in protein, fat and calcium than other forms of tofu. Soft tofu is a good choice for recipes that call for blended tofu, or in Oriental soups. Silken tofu is made by a slightly different process that results in a creamy, custard-like product. Silken tofu works well in pureed or blended dishes.
Tofu is rich in high-quality protein. It is also a good source of B-vitamins and iron. Tofu is also an excellent source of calcium. While 50 percent of the calories in tofu come from fat, a 4-ounce serving of tofu contains just 6 grams of fat. It is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Generally, the softer the tofu, the lower the fat content. Tofu is also very low in sodium, making it a perfect food for people on sodium-restricted diets.
This is derived from soybeans and it is a beverage made to replace milk from the vegetarians/vegans diet. it is produced by soaking dry soybeans, and grinding them with water. It comes in a variety of flavors and can be used in many dishes. There are also other “TYPES” of milk as well such as various forms of nut milk.
Legumes are a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils. They are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in protein, folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also have phytochemicals, a group of compounds that may help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition, they're a good source of fiber and we all know that a diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and help lower blood cholesterol levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.
As I gain more knowledge of being a vegetarian/vegan, there are so many other reasons for enjoying this healthy lifestyle . By being vegetarian/vegan you are helping the environment and our planet, showing love and support to animals, others, as well as loving yourself.
As we move forward, I can’t wait to share with you all the information that I have come across, all the amazing recipe’s that I have tried and look forward to trying. I am so excited to share product reviews as well as tips for living OUR best life yet!!
So ask yourself can we do this????
I say “YES WE CAN”!!